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30 Dec 2018
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Vacation Tips

You can’t take everything with you from Mexico to the United States.

That’s a hard lesson to learn while standing in line only to be told you can’t bring the bottle of vanilla extract you bought for your mother’s holiday baking.

Transporting liquids is where most travelers get tripped up

Before buying a bottle of tequila at the airport, remember the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) 3-1-1 limit. You can bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 millimeters) or less per item.

In travel, as with life, the best defense is a good offense. We compiled information on the most common items U.S. travelers like to bring home with them as gifts or souvenirs. You can also check the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) website for a list of prohibited and restricted items so you can know before you go.


There are no federal limits on how much alcohol you can carry in your suitcase for personal use. One case is considered a good rule of thumb. But you will be taxed if you bring more than a one-liter bottle of alcohol from Mexico.
Usually, you can bring alcohol you purchase in duty-free with you on the plane. If you have a connecting domestic flight, however, you will need to pass through TSA and be subject again to carry-on restrictions. This means anything more than 3.4 ounces will have to go in your checked baggage. Try to purchase duty-free alcohol at the last airport before your final destination. Also, each state has its own rules on how much alcohol you can bring in for personal use.

Duty-Free Delights

Browsing in the duty-free shop can be a fun way to pass the time while waiting for your departing flight. However, not everything you buy at duty-free is automatically free upon your return to the U.S.

You have an $800 personal duty-free limit. This includes limited amounts of products containing alcohol, tobacco, and perfume, valued at more than $5 and all gifts you receive while traveling in Mexico.


You can bring back most prepared/baked food, including condiments, vinegar, oils, packaged spices, honey, coffee, tea, and certain cheeses.

Restrictions exist on fresh produce, meat, and animal products, and plants and cut flowers, because some foreign insects, plant and animal diseases, and invasive plants can be harmful to U.S agriculture. You’ll be asked to declare these items, and they may be subject to inspection when you return to the States.

Ceramic Tableware

Mexico is known for its stunning pottery and ceramic tableware. While there are no restrictions on ceramic tableware, CBP recommends you just use it for tableware or have it tested for lead release when you get home because some pieces can contain “dangerous levels of lead” in the glaze.

Souvenirs are a great way to savor memories of a memorable vacation. Ask Paulina, our concierge, if you have any questions about what you can safely bring back from the Riviera Maya