Travelling with Protein Powder: Can you take it on a plane?

Travel is a wonderful thing. It broadens the mind, opens you up to new experiences and allows you to learn about different cultures and see new horizons. For many of us, holidays are a time to relax and indulge, but what if you’re travelling for longer periods of time and want to keep up your routine? 

Let’s say that you’re travelling for work, or embarking on a longer sojourn and want to know for definite that you can have your favourite plant-based protein powder with you. This is especially relevant if you’re plant-based, have allergies to specific ingredients or products, or just want to make sure that you won’t be left wanting whilst you’re away. 

Sure, if you’re driving to the other end of the country you can just pop your powder in the boot of your car, or in your backpack on the train, but if you’re flying there might be restrictions on what you can take on a flight, depending on where you’re going and where you’re flying from. This, then, requires you to ask: 

Can I take protein powder on a plane? 

In short, yes you can, although you should always check before you travel. Allowances and restrictions are subject to change depending on many external factors, and some airlines will have a policy which states that you need to enquire at least 72 hours prior to departure if you’re not sure whether you can take an item on board with you. 

When it comes to protein powder or nutritional shake powders, you can certainly put them in your checked in luggage - as long as it’s not commercial quantities! I’m sure you’re not planning on setting up your own protein store on holiday, but it’s always good to know!  

Some airlines or travel companies recommend that if you are bringing an amount of protein powder over a specific volume that it’s best to have it in your checked in luggage to prevent further inspections or any difficulties passing through airport security. If, for example, the powder cannot be easily identified by airport staff, you might not be allowed to take it with you. 

Aside from extra checks and security measures, there may also be legal restrictions on how much protein powder you can take in your hand luggage if you are flying from the UK to certain countries. If you’re going to America, for example, you cannot pack more than 350g of powdered substances in your hand luggage, and it must be checked in instead. However, there are no weight restrictions on protein powder when travelling within the EU.

Guidance in the United Kingdom suggests that, as food items, especially in powdered form, can make it harder to x-ray the content of your carry-on luggage, you will avoid any potential delays through the airport if you put your protein powders in check-in baggage. 

What about if I make it up first? 

This is less advisable, as the restrictions on the amount of liquids you can take through airport security is limiting, and could lead to you having to leave your shake behind. If you are preparing to take a protein or meal replacement shake on the plane, then you need to be aware of the specific restrictions on taking liquids through airport security. In the UK, liquids can only be carried through airport security under a very stringent set of measures, and may only be in containers of 100ml or less. If you need to, you can take your powder through security and mix it with water bought in the airport after you’ve been through all the measures or you can just forgo your shake when you’re travelling! 

It’s best, where possible, to take your protein powder with you in its sealed, original packaging, which would mean taking a new bag with you every time you fly. However, you can also take protein packed in a resealable bag (similar to how you would take liquids). Whilst some protein powder comes in cumbersome plastic tubs, those amongst you who travel frequently may want to consider a protein powder which comes in a pouch instead - which will save you a whole heap of space in your luggage! 

Essentially, then, you can indeed take protein powder on planes. It’s better to check it in so that you avoid any unnecessary stress in the airport - and let’s face it, airports are quite often incredibly stressful places to be without adding in anything extra! Finally, it’s always good to remember that these restrictions are in place to keep our travel safe - so make sure you stick to the guidance given!