You are going on vacation and worried about the quality of the tea offerings at your destination? Want to know if you can fly with your tea stash? I see this question come up quite a lot but the truth is, it depends a lot on where you are flying too and from. But in general, it is ok as long as your tea is in original packaging so they can see what ingredients are in it.
Most teas are fine as long as it is only for personal consumption and you declare it. Saying you have nothing when it could look suspicious will get your bags checked. I have found that most screening officers will just laugh and say they have their fave tea or coffee too. Obviously rules will change a lot by location. Most airports or airlines have a website to check which items you can travel with and tea is often combined with coffee for searching.
Can You Fly To or From Canada With Tea in Your Luggage or Carry On?
The Canadian version of the TSA says tea is allowed in both checked and carry on luggage. But carry-on luggage is limited to 3.4oz (around 6-7 DAVIDsTEA bags of tea). You can check the most up to date information before travelling here. You will have no issues within Canada but check your destination country for import rules.
Can You Fly To or From the US With Tea in Your Luggage or Carry On?
The rules for the US and Canada are similar. The TSA states that tea is allowed in both checked luggage and carry on bags. The same limits of 3.4oz apply for carry on but they do recommend you keep your tea in an easy to separate bag when going through x-ray screening as they may ask you to remove it. Get the latest information on travelling with tea from the TSA here. Obviously, import rules will vary by destination.
Can You Fly To or From Europe With Tea in Your Luggage or Carry On?
This is where flying gets a little more complicated. Tea is allowed on carry-on and luggage but some ingredients are not allowed to be imported. Major ones are dairy, fruit and citrus leaves. This is actually true of most countries but Europe tends to be a little fussier about it. So if you have a tea that catches their attention, it could be confiscated. I have personally never had an issue travelling with tea in its original bags even with these ingredients. Check out the rules for the country you are visiting for full information.
Can You Fly To or From Australia With Tea in Your Luggage or Carry On?
Australia has some stricter rules than most about flying with tea. They have to be commercially packaged and sealed. It must also tea contain only ingredients of plant origin. You should check the ingredients of your teas carefully when choosing which ones to travel with. Thankfully, Australia has a good selection of teas to buy if you can’t take your own.
Tips For Travelling/Flying with Tea
While tea is allowed in your luggage and carry on for many countries, these simple tips will make travelling with tea a lot simpler
- Keep tea in original packaging showing ingredient lists
- Where possible, travel with sealed packages of tea
- Tea bags tend to be easier to declare than loose leaf
- Choose teas that have less problematic ingredients when flying
- Declare your tea if going through customs in another country (flying within a country should be less of an issue)
- Keep your tea in an easy to remove ziploc so they can inspect it easily
- Check with the country you are flying to for full information on import rules for tea
- Drug dogs know the difference between tea and drugs (and they don’t like if you pet them while they are sniffing your plain green tea)
- The worst that happens is you get your tea confiscated and apologize for not knowing the rules. They will often even offer to let you mail it home if you are still in your home country and it is a legitimate tea.