Travel Gadgets – Endless Drinks

Everyone knows you can’t take more than 3 ounces of liquids through airport security.

At least I thought everyone knew.

Before I get to explaining this travel gadget, a true story from one of my recent travels:

After American Airlines broke a bottle of rum that was packed inside my suitcase, I took the rum-soaked bag directly to the airline baggage office inside the airport.

The employees there ever-so-helpfully told me they only dealt with lost bags and that damage was handled by a completely different department. Thanks guys. World-class customer service at its best.

One of the women in the office asked me why I didn’t just carry it on with me if I was worried about the bottle getting broken.

I reminded her of the prohibition on carrying more than 3oz. of liquids on board an airplane.

Her: “What?! My aunt was able to bring two bottles of wine onto a plane once, just recently.”

Another AA employee in the lost luggage office: “She probably bought them at the duty-free shop.”

Her: “What difference would that make?”

Other employee: “If you buy at the duty-free shop, they bring it through security for you and you pick it up as you board the plane.”

Come on! You work for the world’s largest airline! You work INSIDE an airport! How do you not know this stuff?!

At any rate, this article is about a useful travel gadget that was inspired by the 3oz. rule that makes air travel ever so much safer.

Carry an EMPTY water bottle through security with you.

Refilling water bottles. Image courtesy of Intel Corp.

Refilling water bottles. Image courtesy of Intel Corp.

Almost all airports have water fountains inside security. Once through, you can fill up your water bottle from the fountain and have all the water you want without paying $4.00 per bottle for it.

There are a few features you should look for in a good water bottle for traveling. None of them are mandatory but they will all make your life easier if you can find them:

Rubbermaid water bottle.

Image courtesy of Rubbermaid Corp.

  • A wide mouth, for easier refilling.
  • Clear or translucent, so airport security can more easily see that it’s empty.
  • Some kind of a ring, strap, carabiner or other hook on top to make it easier to carry or attach to your luggage.
  • Made from BPA-free, impact and break-resistant plastic. In general, I’m not a big fan of plastics for foodstuffs but glass is breakable and metal will subject you to increased scrutiny. In this case, plastic is your best all around choice.
  • Some relatively unique design or pattern to more easily distinguish it as yours.
  • If you’re sensitive to taste or worried about water quality, camping stores even sell high-tech water bottles with built in filters to purify the water right in the bottle.
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