Some of the best souvenirs from your travels are the most difficult to bring home. It could be Champagne from France, icewine from Canada or 100 year-old balsamic vinegar from Italy. But what if a bottle smashes in your bag?
My friend Stephanie had a bottle of red wine from Australia in her backpack that exploded, ruining everything inside. Don’t let the same thing happen to you! Here are a few ways to avoid that problem, specifically with gear for traveling with wine (among other liquids) and protecting glass bottles.
Protecting Your Bottles
There are a few ways and products you can use to protect your bottles. While there are dozens of products of this type on the market, here are a few of the most popular. Keep in mind that due to liquids restrictions, all of these options require you to check a bag.
This reusable product inflates to surround your items, including bottles and other breakable items. Simply insert the item inside the bag and blow up the tube like you would an air mattress. It can be reused and folds flat when you don’t need it. The product protects items up to four inches in diameter, created specifically for 750 milliliter bottles.
- Cost: $28 USD
- Risk factor: Low
- Pro: can fit lots of things, not just bottles
- Con: takes up lots of space in bag
>> Check out the VinniBag on Amazon. Please note, we are an Amazon affiliate, so if you make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I first tried this product when I brought back a bottle of wine from San Francisco. It creates a plastic sleeve around the bottle, both cushioning and protecting the rest of your bag from leakage with a zippered section. Even if the bottle does break, it won’t ruin your belongings. The rollup comes in a number of colors and styles for bringing back multiple bottles. It even has a lifetime warranty!
- Cost: $19.99 USD
- Risk: Medium
- Pros: plastic zipper protects even if bottle breaks
- Cons: not overly padded
>> Check out the Bottlewise Rollup on Amazon.
The Wine Diaper is a resealable, cushioned bag that protects your wine bottle from breaking in your luggage. If the bottle does break, the padding can absorb up to 750ml of liquid, which means your clothes won’t get wet or stained. Since it’s resealable, you can use the pouch more than once.
- Cost: $19.99 USD for a set of 3
- Risk: Low
- Pros: fits other bottles like vinegar or liquor, well-padded
- Cons: outside material is a little thin
>> Check out the Wine Diaper on Amazon.
You can also surround your bottle with items of clothing in your bag if you don’t want to buy something extra. Bringing a few pieces of bubble wrap might also be worthwhile!
- Cost: $0
- Risk: High
- Pros: it doesn’t take up more room than what you already have, won’t cost you anything
- Cons: there’s a chance it will break (and the liquid may not be contained well)
Protecting Your Liquids
You can also eliminate the dangerous part, the bottle, by putting it in a safer container. You won’t have the label or bottle for keeping, but you’ll still have the liquid without risk of breakage. For wine, this tactic would involve pretty much immediate consumption, but things like olive oil could be transferred into different bottles once home.
This reusable bottle collapses and can hold a full bottle of wine. It’s reminiscent of the Vapur water bottles, but made for wine. The Wine2Go was originally created for picnics and taking to the beach, but can also be used for travel. While we wouldn’t use these for carrying liquids in our checked luggage, they can prove useful for camping and road trips, or for taking wine on day outings when carrying a bottle is both bulky and cumbersome. They also make varieties used as flasks, both with screw off tops.
- Cost: $15.99 USD
- Risk: Medium
- Pros: Unlikely to break or leak, low cost
- Cons: Doesn’t let you keep the bottle, not made for storing long-term so must use immediately at home or destination
>> Check out the Wine2Go on Amazon.
This sturdy metal Thermos can hold any liquid and keep it hot or cold for hours. It makes for easy drinking on the go. And while not designed solely for transporting liquids while traveling, the stainless steel bottle has a screw cap ribbed with silicone to keep the flavor of what’s inside.
- Price: $27.95
- Risk: Low
- Pros: can be used multiple ways, climate control
- Cons: won’t protect breakable items, don’t keep the bottle, made for short-term storage
>> Check out the Vinnebago on Amazon.
Buying at the Airport
One final way to avoid this problem altogether is to buy souvenirs like olive oils and bottles of alcohol exclusively at duty free. This way, you can carry it on the plane with you and not worry about it being in your luggage. It’s usually cheaper as well. The only downside is that you are limited in the brands you can choose from; you might not have a sentimental attachment to the ones available.
Do you have any great ways for transporting and protecting liquids when you travel?
Christyn Johnson says
We bought what we affectionately nicknamed “wine diapers” for $4 each at the container store (and online at their website) It is a padded bag that seals at the top. The insides are lined for padding, but also in the event of a break, they are designed to absorb the full amount of liquid from the bottle. We successfully transported 4 bottle back in our checked luggage from Italy in May – highly recommended- pack flat and very cost effective.
We’ve used the wine diapers too! I’ve successfully brought back wine from Italy and whisky from Scotland. No breakage and doesn’t take up much space.