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Bring your duty-free alcohol home unscathed

Some leftover foreign currency is burning a hole in your pocket at the tail end of a vacation abroad, and the duty-free shop’s siren song is calling to you. But after snatching up armfuls of discounted bottles of booze, the fear sets in. With strict limitations on the amount of liquid you can bring aboard both in the U.S. and abroad, how is your precious cargo going to make it home?

After purchasing alcohol at a duty-free shop, the cashier will either place your goods in a tamper-evident bag or give you a receipt and send the items to your gate. As you’re boarding, a duty-free representative will be standing at the gate ready to hand over your bag in exchange for your receipt.

If you’re flying directly to your final destination in the U.S., then you’re in the clear. The tricky part comes when you connect to another flight within the U.S. After exiting the plane, you will have to trek to baggage claim, grab your luggage, go through customs, and then wade through security again. As you already know, you cannot carry on more than three ounces of liquid, so TSA officials will confiscate your purchase if you attempt to bring it through security.

Never fear—you can make it through security unscathed. Plan ahead, and leave room in a suitcase so you can transfer your alcohol into your checked luggage when you get it from baggage claim. Bring along a plastic bag or WineSkin and wrap your bottle before padding it with clothes. Then recheck your bag after you go through customs inspections, and stroll through security knowing your liquids are safe and sound.

Finally, when you’re home, grab yourself some ice and a glass. Cheers!

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