11 Expert Tips For Traveling With Sex Toys

by Emma McGowan

Traveling with sex toys can be… tricky. For one thing, in some countries sex toys are straight up illegal, which means bringing your favorite vibrator could result in a fine at best, detainment at worst. But even when you’re traveling within the United States or other places where a dildo won’t get you jail time, figuring out the best way to travel with your sex toys can be a serious hassle. Should they go in your checked luggage or your carry-on? What if the TSA agent pulls them out at the security line? What if it goes off in your bag and someone thinks it’s a bomb and they ground the plane, only to find out it’s your massive, vibrating dildo?

Plane travel in particular is enough of a hassle these days without having to stress about the TSA confiscating your expensive sex toys because they can’t tell the difference between a vibrator and a bomb, right? Luckily, there are steps you can take to make sure that never happens. Sex educator Crista Anne often has to travel with sex toys for her work and she’s come up with an elegant solution: Just leave a note for the TSA with her checked luggage.

Greetings, TSA! Yep, those are dildos! Unused, used for teaching Adult Sex Ed. Here is my card in case you have any questions. Thank you for the job you do and I hope this makes your day more amazing or entertaining! Christa Anne

Carlyle Jansen, sex therapist and co-founder of the female-friendly Toronto sex shop Good For Her, and Claire Cavanah, co-founder of the female-friendly sex shop Babeland and the co-author of Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex, are also well-versed in the art of flying with a bag full of dildos and vibrators. Here are their top 11 tips for traveling with sex toys.

1. Take Out The Batteries

Jansen, Cavanah, and Crista Anne all agree: Make sure to take out any batteries before you fly, for a couple of reasons. First, you don’t want it to go off in your luggage and result in, a) dead batteries when you land, b) TSA agents tackling you because they think you have a bomb, or c) your plane grounding because agents think your checked bag is about to blow up the plane.

"There are simple ways to keep your vibrator from going off inadvertently," Cavanah tells Bustle. "Remove batteries and keep them separate for battery-operated toys."

But don’t forget to pack them as well! Christa Anne carries her batteries in either little silk bags or big, one gallon plastic bags, depending on their size.

2. Get Toys With Locks

You can also avoid the whole battery situation altogether if you just get a toy with a lock on it. Jansen says that most higher end rechargeable sex toys should come with a lock on them that will ensure they don’t go off in your bag.

"Many rechargeable vibes have travel locks," Cavanah says. "Check to see if yours does. If you’re not sure how to lock a rechargeable vibe, then let the battery run down before your trip just to be safe."

3. Get Toys With USB Plugs

This tip is especially for those of you who are traveling abroad: Remember that plugs are different around the world and sometimes even voltage can differ. That means that a plug-in toy or a toy with a charger might need a plug adapter at least and a current converter at most. Kind of a pain in the butt, right? (And not in a fun way.) However, if your toy is USB-chargeable, you can just plug it into your laptop and not have to worry about any of that.

Jansen also says that some toys — like the extremely popular Hitachi Magic Wand — can only be used in North America, so definitely do some research if you’re planning on bringing your favorite rechargeable or plug-in toy to a new country.

4. Pack Your Toys In Checked Luggage

Jansen and Cavanah both say that packed luggage is your best bet for packing your sex toys. Just watch for cords, as they tend to be a more fragile part of the toy.

"If you want to load up your luggage with multiple toys and gear like cuffs or strap-ons, then check your bag," Cavanah says. "It will still get screened, but if it’s opened, you won’t be in a public place. Leave it all in a clear plastic bag on top of your clothes so they don’t have to take your entire suitcase apart to see what’s in it and to protect your toys from being handled."

And if you’re feeling particularly saucy, follow Crista Anne’s example and leave the TSA a little note! She tells Bustle that the most recent time she flew, the TSA actually reorganized her dildos more nicely than she’d done herself!

5. Stick To Small Toys — Or Ones That Aren’t Obvious

Jansen recommends bringing toys that are small in size or, barring that, not super obviously sex toys. “You might want something that gets you under the radar,” Jansen says. “I remember traveling once and I had a Rabbit Habit, which is one of those ones from Sex in the City that twirls and the rabbit ears vibrate. I had it in my carry-on luggage and, of course, they put it through the X-ray machine. They couldn’t figure out what it was, so they opened it. I didn’t really have a problem with it but the woman who was looking through my stuff was mortified.”

These days, however, a lot of toys don’t look like genitals at all. For people with vaginas, Jansen recommends the Form 2 by JimmyJane and for people with penises she recommends the PULSE by Hot Octopuss.

Form 2 by JimmyJane, $100, Amazon ; PULSE by Hot Octopuss, $109, Hot Octopuss

6. Quiet Toys Are Better

You never quite know how thin the walls are going to be when you’re traveling, so Jansen recommends bringing quieter toys. However, this recommendation comes with the caveat that you can’t actually hear much between most walls. “People are way too paranoid about that,” Jansen says.

But maybe leave the Hitachi at home?

7. Use App-Connected Toys If You’re Separated From Your Partner

This is more of a “sex while traveling” than “traveling with sex toys” recommendation. There are quite a few toys out there today that can be worn on the body and controlled via an app on your partner’s phone. Cavanah recommends giving one of these a try if you’re searching for an interesting way to stay sexually connected when you’re physically separated from your partner.

"If you’re going to be away from your partner but still want to play together, take along one of our app-controlled vibes like the We-Vibe 4 Plus or the OhMiBod blueMotion Cuddle," Cavanah says. "Your partner can take control of your pleasure from anywhere in the world as long as you have Wi-Fi."

We-Vibe 4 Plus, $90, Amazon; OhMiBod blueMotion, $129, OhMiBod

One pro-tip, though? Don’t wear one of these as you’re going through security, especially if the airport has one of those full body scanners. That’s a sure way to make things hella awkward, real quick.

8. Give Kegel Exercise Balls A Try

If your trip includes a lot of walking, consider packing some kegel exercise balls for a vaginal workout while you’re getting your tourist on. While any ben wa or kegel exercise balls can help build up your pelvic wall, Jansen recommends vibrating kegel balls for some extra sensation.

Vibrating Kegel Balls, $150, Shop In Private

9. Pack An Erotic Massage Oil Candle

You’re probably not looking to pack any more liquids than you have to, so Jansen recommends the Secret Lovers Mini Edible Massage Candle instead of standard massage oil. It’s tiny, packs easily, and is multipurpose. Not only does it provide a nice, romantic light and lovely subtle smell for your hotel room, but it also burns down into massage oil that can be used on your lover or yourself. Oh, and it’s also edible, if you’re into that.

10. Bring Your Favorite Brand Of Condoms

Especially if you’re traveling overseas, be sure to pack plenty of your favorite condoms. Size and quality vary greatly from country to country and you don’t want to get stuck without protection. Jansen also recommends that single people who plan on having sex with people with penises bring a variety pack that includes different sizes and brands, because you just never know.

11. Don’t Forget The Lube And Sex Toy Cleaner

And finally, there are two liquids that you do absolutely need to pack: lube and sex toy cleaner. Jansen recommends 250 mL of the Pjur Silicone Lubricant, because “a little goes a long way” and you can pack it in your carry-on.

Pjur Silicone Lubricant, $46, Amazon

As for sex toy cleaner, she suggests getting a travel-sized bottle from the pharmacy and filling it up with your favorite cleaner. One thing she learned the hard way is that a lot of hotel soaps have moisturizer in them these days — and moisturizer usually means oil. And oil means ruined silicone sex toys. So learn from Jansen's expensive mistake and always bring your own. Cavanah recommends the Babeland Bare Necessities kit, which includes a 2-ounce lube, a 1-ounce toy cleaner, and three condoms, all of which can go right in you carry-on.

Babeland Bare Necessities Kit, $12, Babeland

Images: Crista Anne; Giphy; Fotolia;