Whether it be by plane, train, automobile, or a pair of sneakers, sometimes you just need to get away from the stresses of everyday life and relax. Whether that be while nestled in warm sands, trekking through unknown terrains, or ordering inordinate amounts of food service, you not only need your time to relax, you deserve it! So naturally, it can put a real damper on your vacation experience when you're going through foreign customs—minding your own business as usual—and the customs agent politely lets you know that e-cigarettes are banned in your country of destination by slipping your vape into their pocket without a word.
It's okay, though, it's not just you—all these different rules and regulations on e-cigarettes are confusing for everyone involved, which is why we've cleverly devised a series centered around vaping abroad and surviving the experience!
In the first part of our series on Vaping Around The World, we'll be breaking down popular methods of travel such as planes, trains, and more in order to explain how you should best prepare for your journey in order to arrive on the other side safe and with vape in hand!
In 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) amended their Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air to include provisions explicitly detailing exactly how e-cigarettes should be handled. They've made it perfectly clear what is and isn't allowed on planes around the world—pretty convenient for us!
The rules themselves may be a little restrictive, but they've only been put in place to ensure the complete and total safety of all aircraft and their passengers. As long as you follow these simple and easy steps, you'll be ready to fly!
Keep all vaping devices & batteries with you
Make sure to keep all of your batteries and powered devices in your carry-on luggage and never in your checked luggage. Due to the possibility of a device auto-firing while no one is in the cargo hold to stop it, the ICAO has made this finer point perfectly clear.
Loose batteries should be removed from devices & placed in a protective battery case
It's an exceedingly good idea to remove your cells from your device before storing it away if only to ensure that the worst can't possibly occur.
And to guarantee that your cells won't run amok while unwatched, you'll need to cover up those poles! By simply placing a piece of tape over each end of the cell, by keeping the cells sealed up tight in a battery case, by keeping your batteries individually sealed in plastic bags or paper towels, or any other method you can think of, you'll eliminate the leading reason for battery failure.
Devices with a built-in battery need to be powered off completely
Sometimes, built-in batteries can be super convenient. Other times, however, such as when you need to remove the battery, it can be less than forgiving. If your device has some sort of master switch, now's the time to use it—otherwise, it may be best to keep it close at hand just in case it should somehow turn on, even if the atomizer isn't attached.
Whilst in your carry-on luggage, e-liquids follow the same rule as all other liquids:
the 3-1-1 rule
Keep extra devices and components in separate compartments of your luggage
It's not exactly surprising that customs agents aren't perfectly familiar with each and every vaping product, especially in countries where vaping is either relatively new or banned altogether. So, if you absolutely must bring your vape through a country's customs and have relative doubts about whether your vape will meet you on the other side of the inspection, it's a good idea to keep your vaping setup separated with each component (tank, mod, batteries, etc.) placed in different sections of your luggage. That way, you're doubly protected: chances are, customs agents won't recognize each component by itself, and even if they do, should they decide to take your tank, at least you still have your mod stored elsewhere.
Never vape on a plane!
While it can be tempting to stealth vape under your shirt while in the cabin or bathroom, it's never worth it! The hefty fine associated with being caught vaping on a plane can reach up to $5000 in the U.S., and can potentially mean jail time elsewhere, so it's best to simply wait until you reach the airport to sneak a vape.
Separate your atomizer from your device before boarding the plane
Besides, there's no reason for you to even be using your mod on a plane, right? Separating your atomizer from the power source before you begin boarding your flight is an excellent precaution against multiple unfortunate situations such as firing your mod, accidentally or otherwise.
Leave weapon-designed devices at home!
Ah, the wonders of human ingenuity and free will. Just as we have the unfettered ability to make dangerous weapons, we also take great apparent joy in making APVs that look like them, too. Not passing judgment, just...
...ok, you got me. I judge. But so will the TSA agent as she pulls your grenade-shaped mod from your carry-on, so why even give them a reason when your backup setup will do just fine?
Don’t charge your vape on the plane
While it may seem like a good idea to quickly charge your e-cig while you're catching a few zzz's on your next flight, it can be hard to say just how many volts or amps are put out by that USB port in your armrest. While most (if not all) modern APVs will automatically regulate a range of unexpected voltages, the leading cause of e-cig explosions was (at one point) improper charging methods, so it's better to be safe than sorry when flying at 50,000ft, especially when the ICAO explicitly disallows it.
Don't put batteries in your checked luggage!
I know we've already covered this earlier, but just making sure I have everyone's attention. Note, you most likely won't get any strife if you put just your mod in your checked luggage without the batteries.
All chargers, tanks, extra juice, all other non-powered components are A-OK in your checked luggage
Extra juice in your checked luggage can be in containers larger than 100mL which aren't necessarily required to be contained in Ziploc bags, but because the cargo hold of a plane isn’t pressurized, you’ll definitely want to protect your surrounding belongings from leaking juice.
Protect from pressure change
It's important to keep in mind that unlike the passenger cabin, the cargo holds of planes don't stabilize the air pressure inside, leading to many a leaking tank and bottle. There's plenty of easy steps you can take to not only ensure that any juice damage is carefully quarantined, but also prevent any leaking altogether:
Empty tanks before packing
Tighten juice caps well
Keep juice bottles/refill pods individually bagged
Wrap tanks in paper towel and place in empty pill bottles
Bring backup backups
You'll be kicking yourself all over the locale if you manage to lose not one, but two separate vapes while on vacation—not just because you hate to get a new one, but also because you have no idea when you'll even be able to get another, and end up thinking those stinkies(cigs) don't sound quite as stinky as they once did...
Don't even give temptation a foot in the door—it's better to safeguard against the worst than regret getting your nicotine from one of the most damaging avenues available.
Airport Vaping Restrictions
No national blanket restrictions, but it's a good idea to call your specific airport ahead of time to make sure—chances are, they'll have a helpful customer assistance desk that gets these sort of questions all the time and will be happy to provide answers to your inquiries.
As a general rule, however (save for the countries where vaping is banned altogether), you're allowed to vape wherever cigarette smoking is allowed, so don't be afraid to pack your pockets full of pamphlets (or your brain full of even more vaping knowledge) explaining the joys of vaping, just in case you get any inquisitive onlookers.
As is the case with most things in life, there are a few exceptions to these generalizations of permissions. For example, Flybe, a lesser known airline, disallows e-juice (specifically “Refills (bottles of nicotine)”) from boarding the plane at all. The last thing you need to start your trip is your juice being confiscated, so it's a smart idea to doublecheck the vaping rules of your airline of choice.
Generally speaking, cruises will view vaping as synonymous with smoking, which means it is allowed, but only in certain designated locations on the ship. More importantly, there's certain places where vaping definitely isn't allowed, so make sure to steer clear of these spots. As a steadfast rule, there's no vaping allowed in dining areas. Most cruise lines won't allow vaping in cabins, but a select few do:
Same Rules As Smoking (Use Same Designated Area):
Can Vape In Cabin:
Smoking (and therefore vaping) are not permitted on buses according to Federal law. Most bus services will stop periodically ( Greyhounds stop every two hours) in order to allow smoking passengers to do their dastardly deed, so for vapers traveling nationally on the cheap, they may be confined to vaping with the smokers. Or, if you're feeling extra bold, you can always check to see if your stealth vaping skills are up to the task.
Hey, that's really up to you and your fellow passengers. Of course, the usual rules to vaping on the road apply (e.g. don't drip and drive, keep clouds out of the driver's view, and other such easy-peasy guidances), but if your passenger is willing to be your dripper dripper for the drive, more power to you.
And if you're rolling with your vaping buddies, vape away—just keep the windows open to avoid clouds from drifting into the driver's line of sight.
If you're riding with other passengers who are less than vape-friendly, however, it may be a good idea to wait until you're out of the car before pushing your vapor—or at least ask your fellow riders if they mind if you vape.
Do keep in mind as well that if you'll be using a rental car to scoot around town, you should check with the rental agency to ensure that any restrictions on smoking in the car don't also apply to vaping—you could save yourself a hefty fee when you return your transport.
Generally, trains will follow any indoor vaping restrictions/laws already enforced in the state you're currently in. That's legally speaking, of course. For more relevant regulations (i.e. whether your chosen train company allows vaping at all), it's best to either check the company's website or call their customer helpline.
While nothing puts hair on your chest quite like being 5000 miles away from your front door with no money, no map, and no idea what language the locals are even speaking, the key to a successful backpacking trek is all in the preparations! And while you know you'll miss your favorite cloudchasing setup, it's important to pick the best vape setup for your journey.
I find setups that are lightweight, low maintenance, and light on juice use are the easiest travel companions, especially when the nearest vape shop is guarded by a daunting language barrier.
In addition, there's no use in running out of expensive heads or juice in a country where they don't even sell replacements or refills, so it's a good idea to double check the vaping restrictions in your country of choice.