Updated at: 11-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Have you ever wondered if packing a can of your favorite soda or beer in your luggage could lead to a fizzy explosion?

This blog post is going to dive into the science behind why this happens, and more importantly, how you can avoid such sticky situations.

Don’t miss out on these handy travel tips that will keep your cans intact and your clothes clean!

Can Cans Explode in Luggage?

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Factors that may cause cans to explode in luggage

Air travel can be quite unpredictable, especially when it comes to packing items like canned beverages. Here are some factors that could lead to cans exploding in luggage:

  1. Changes in air pressure: A significant change in air pressure during ascending and descending of the plane can cause soda cans to rupture.
  2. Temperature fluctuations: Although the cargo holds of planes are typically temperature-controlled, extreme changes could affect the pressure inside soda cans.
  3. Poor packaging: Cans that aren’t securely packed can get jostled around, leading to potential ruptures.
  4. Pre-existing damage: A tiny dent or puncture may seem insignificant but under the right conditions could lead to a messy explosion.
  5. Altitude shifts: The higher an airplane flies, the lower the external pressure becomes which can put undue stress on fizzy drinks packed in luggage.

Air pressure changes during flights

Air pressure changes during flights can have an impact on carbonated beverages packed in luggage. As an airplane ascends or descends, the air pressure fluctuates both inside and outside the cabin.

This change in pressure can cause the cans to expand or contract, potentially leading to ruptures or explosions. Similarly, when a plane experiences turbulence, it can further aggravate this issue.

By using secure packaging and releasing the pressure from the cans before packing them, you can minimize the risk of explosions during your flight.

Temperature fluctuations

Temperature fluctuations can have an impact on carbonated beverages packed in luggage. When exposed to extreme temperatures, such as those in the cargo hold of an airplane, the pressure inside soda cans can increase.

This increased pressure raises the risk of cans rupturing or even exploding. While the cargo hold is typically temperature controlled to some extent, it’s important to take precautions when packing carbonated drinks to prevent any unpleasant surprises upon arrival at your destination.

Using secure packaging and avoiding storing damaged cans can help minimize the likelihood of explosions during travel.

Precautions for Packing Cans in Luggage

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Use secure packaging

Here are some tips on how to securely pack your carbonated beverages:

  1. Wrap each can individually: Wrap each can in bubble wrap or other protective material to prevent any damage during transit.
  2. Separate cans with padding: Place a layer of padding, such as clothing or towels, between each can to provide extra cushioning and prevent them from hitting against each other.
  3. Use sturdy containers: Opt for a durable container that can withstand the rigors of travel. A hard-sided cooler or a plastic bin with a secure lid can help protect the cans from external pressure and potential impacts.
  4. Seal the container tightly: Ensure that the container is tightly sealed to prevent any air from entering or escaping. This will help maintain the internal pressure and reduce the risk of explosions.
  5. Mark the package as fragile: Clearly label your package as “fragile” to alert baggage handlers and ensure they handle it with care.

Release pressure from cans before packing

Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Open the can: To release the built-up pressure, open each can by gently pulling back on the tab or using a can opener if needed.
  2. Let it sit: Allow some time for the excess gas to escape from the opened cans. This can be done by leaving them open for a few minutes before packing.
  3. Use resealable containers: If you want to bring partially consumed canned beverages with you, transfer them into resealable containers that can withstand pressure changes without leaking.
  4. Pack carefully: Once the cans have been depressurized, pack them securely in your luggage, making sure they are placed in an upright position to prevent any spillage.
  5. Protect against impact: Wrap each can individually in bubble wrap or use padded dividers to create a protective barrier between them and other items in your suitcase.
  6. Secure packing material: Use tape or secure wrapping to keep everything in place and avoid any movement during transit.

Tips for Traveling with Cans

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Carry cans in your carry-on bag

When traveling with cans, it is advisable to carry them in your carry-on bag. This ensures that you have better control and protection over your carbonated beverages.

By keeping your fizzy cans close to you during the flight, you can minimize the chances of any unwanted accidents or ruptures. Also, be sure to follow airline regulations regarding the quantity and packaging of liquids in your carry-on baggage for a hassle-free journey.

Follow airline regulations

Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Adhere to weight restrictions: Be mindful of the weight limitations set by the airline for your checked baggage. Excess weight could lead to fees or even refusal of transportation.
  2. Declare hazardous materials: If you’re carrying alcoholic beverages containing high alcohol content, it’s essential to declare them as hazardous materials at check-in. Failure to do so may result in confiscation or penalties.
  3. Follow TSA guidelines: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific rules regarding liquids and gels, including carbonated drinks. Make sure your overall liquid volume adheres to their guidelines and that all containers are properly sealed.
  4. Know local regulations: Different countries may have specific restrictions on bringing alcohol or carbonated drinks across their borders. Research and familiarize yourself with local laws and customs before traveling.
  5. Plan ahead for duty-free purchases: If you plan on purchasing alcohol or carbonated drinks from duty-free stores at the airport.