If you travel places known for outstanding food and wine, you’ve most likely been left figuring out a way to take some of your new favorites.  Most often this doesn’t present a problem – unless your new favorite is wine, olive oil, specialty vinegar, or other liquid items.  In the post 9-11 world, these delicious liquid treats require careful planning if you’re to get them home with you.

Carry on restrictions will make it nearly impossible for you to carry on these liquid items, as most will be larger than the permitted 3 ounces allowed as carry-ons.  That mean, you’ll need to prepare your items for safe transport in your checked luggage.

Generally speaking, liquids under 24% alcohol are not considered hazardous material, and as such are not subject to a limitation or restriction in your checked luggage.  Even if you are bringing back spirits over 24% in alcohol content, you can bring up to five bottles in your checked luggage provided its packaged in a sealable bottle.  Liquids over 70% in alcohol content, like that 150 proof rum from the islands, cannot be sent in your checked bags at all.  You should note that these limitations are airline regulations.  If you are bringing items into the U.S. from another country, customs restrictions still apply.

If you haven’t yet brought wine home for your travels, here are some cheap wine travel destinations in Europe to get you started. I’ve tried some of these at a San Francisco wine bar, and they are much more wallet-friendly than my beloved Italian reds.

I’ve had good luck bringing back liquid items in my checked bags.  If possible, I have the item wrapped for shipping as it gives it a little extra protection.  When that isn’t possible, I put the bottle inside a plastic bag (from a supermarket purchase, the dry cleaning bag at your hotel, or anything else that you can find), wrapping it up as carefully as possible.  I then wrap this larger bag with soft clothing; t-shirt, pajamas, and sweatshirts are ideal.  Once it’s sort of swaddled in clothes, I position it in my luggage, packing other items around it in such a way that it won’t move about.

It’s always worked for me.

If, however, you’re not willing to take the chance of breakage or spills, here are a few products on the market that will make packing liquids a bit easier:

How do you bring home that special bottle of wine?