I wasn’t a big drinker in college, but I lived in the athlete’s dorm and was invited to a lot of football parties. I noticed something at these parties; there were a lot of “beer snobs” out there on campus! Someone would buy a keg and go to the trouble of chilling it down and they’d even buy cups. People would show up, tap themselves a free cold beer and have the balls to mutter, “What is this, light beer?” I would always stare them down and say, “It’s cold and free to you; perhaps you’d like to go to the liquor store and buy your own?”
Nineteen year olds can’t buy their own beer and they certainly haven’t yet developed a proper “beer palette.” I’m over 40 now and I brew my own beer and I know a thing or two about grain, malt, barley, hops, good water, etc. I’m also old enough and in possession of enough discretionary income to buy my own beer, thank you very much. There is one place, however, where a person is given very limited choices of what they can drink and they’re prohibited from bringing their own, and that’s a commercial airplane.
Good hydration for a traveler is paramount. The more I think about the fact that the TSA can take any liquid they want away from me, the more it bothers me. Humble water isn’t even safe. Of course the vendors inside the airport have responded by raising the price of bottled water and other refreshing beverages once you get past the security wall. If you want to bring juice, good water, carbonated beverages, etc, you’re options are running out fast.
I still pack some of those small packets of Crystal-Lite or Kool-aid powder that are designed specifically for 20oz bottles of water. They pack well, they don’t expire, and it’s easy to fill my bottle with water from a fountain and make it taste better with a little strawberry or lemonade mix. That’s all well and good but I’m ready to take the fight to the next level. Observe; here’s my latest weapon against the idiots who screen at the security line. It’s a very lightweight aluminum bottle and it has a thin flexible gasket under the cap. Not only is it completely opaque, it’s totally leak-proof, indestructible, and it will even allow you to transport carbonated beverages (yes, even beer)!
I’ve noticed that this new bottle lets me take the in-flight beverage concept to a whole new level. I can ask a bartender to fill it with diet coke before I leave a restaurant. They never charge me and it will stay nice and bubbly until I decide to open it on the plane. I’ve also noticed that every single time I pass it through security, whether it’s empty or I’ve left something in it, the TSA fools NEVER look at it. They remain completely clueless unless they can actually see some liquid jostling around inside of a vessel. The X-Ray machine can’t see through it either, and I’m convinced that I could probably pack liquids that were actually dangerous and nobody would be the wiser.
You can get these little bottles almost anywhere. Camping and outdoor supply stores sell the high quality ones that are silicon lined and carry a lifetime guarantee. SIGG is the brand you’re looking for. Here’s a 32oz model from REI.
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.