Staying fit while on vacation: The supplements you can bring and what to leave at home

You don't have to leave all your fitness routines behind when you travel. Instead, make adjustments to match your temporary surroundings. Work out in your hotel's fitness center, jog in a city park or pop into a spinning session at a nearby cycling studio. Whichever activities you choose, the one thing you won't have to adjust is having your favorite protein powder to support your energy needs. TSA regulations do not prohibit bringing protein powder along on your flight, and these tips make it easier to pack and use the supplement on your trip.

Packing protein powder

Buying the large, economical size of protein powder is likely standard operating procedure if using it is part of your fitness routine, but such a big container is bulky and awkward to pack. Leave it at home! Instead, pick one of these convenient, space-saving packing methods:

  • Plastic bags: Measure out the amount you'll need during the trip into a resealable plastic bag. Write “Protein Powder” on the bag with a marker pen, so it's easily identifiable should your luggage be selected for physical inspection by TSA officers. Pack the bag and your measuring scoop in the luggage you'll be checking at the airport, or it can go in your carry-on if the space is sufficient

    along with your toiletries and other essentials.

    Slip the protein powder bag inside a second heavy-weight freezer bag to prevent the contents from getting all over your clothes in case there's spillage or if the initial bag gets a hole in it.
    Individual packets: Many protein powder suppliers offer the product in pre-measured individual serving-size packets. It's a little more expensive to buy this way, but the convenience may well be worth the price. Slip a few packets in the pocket of your carry-on and put the rest in your checked baggage.

    Tip: If you plan to consume a protein drink while you travel, roll a small piece of paper into a cone to use as a funnel for adding the powder to bottled water or juice, which you'll have to buy after you pass through the TSA security checkpoint.

Other supplements and vitamins

Vitamins and powdered supplements such as pre- and post-workout drink mixes are allowed in your carry-on luggage. So are liquid vitamins, pain relief cream and any gels, pastes or aerosols, but they have to be packed in compliance with the TSA liquids rule. Also known as the “3-1-1” rule, you're limited to a maximum volume of 3.4 ounces for each, and the items must be packed in a single 1-quart plastic bag along with your shampoo, toothpaste and other liquid-type cosmetics and toiletries. Unless you'll be using these items while you're in transit, it's easiest to place them in checked luggage.

Your fitness and travel balance

Some travel activities can be as strenuous as a good workout. A big day of walking and sightseeing in San Francisco may call for a protein powder shake, just as if you were in training or heading to the gym. Or you could spend a sedentary day of business meetings in Manhattan, which you'll want to follow up with a run, a swim in the hotel pool or a rigorous session in the fitness center. Whichever way the day flows, you'll be ready when you've packed the supplements that support maintaining a healthy lifestyle, even if you're far away from home.