Updated: Jan 31, 2020
A week ago I embarked on my trip to Albania from North Carolina to visit my family for the Christmas holiday. In the meantime, I decided that I wanted to spend a few weeks internationally in order to get inspiration for my future art pieces. However, with this decision, came the question of what art supplies to take with me, how much space in the suitcase would they require, and whether the acrylic paints I have would pass the necessary security scans before they make it all the way to Europe. I have never checked my acrylic paints in a plane before, so this part of the trip made me a little bit nervous, since I did not know what to expect from airport security when trying to transport paints in a 10-hour long flight.
At first I went through all my Golden Acrylic paints, glazing liquids, my brushes, as well as my sketch books and other miscellaneous artist supplies (sponges, scissors, pens and pencils, tracing paper, graphite paper etc.) and decided which supplies I was going to pack in my medium sized suitcase.
Throughout my research online on how to pack your artist paints for air travel, I was warned multiple times that acrylic or oil paints can actually leak even if you seal them neatly in a ziploc bag. Nevertheless, I packed them in a plastic container that I sealed all around with tape and prayed that they would not leak while up in the air.
When I placed the sealed containers in the suitcase, I made sure I added plenty of air pouches on top of the containers and inside the suitcase zippers as well, so that my sealed containers do not bounce a lot during the flight.
I thought that printing the Golden Colors Inc travel statement (which can be found on their website) would give me some piece of mind in case my paints were scrutinized by the airport security. The latest version of the statement that Golden currently has in their website was from 2016, but I deemed it was valid enough as a documentation for this trip. I tucked Golden's statement in the front pouch of my suitcase, in case airport security asked for it.
When I arrived at the airport and was ready to check-in my suitcase that was full of artist supplies I was very nervous, even though the airline's website (I traveled with Turkish airlines) mentioned that artist paints are allowed in the checked bags. After a long 20-hour trip that included long layovers in Toronto, Canada and Istanbul, Turkey I finally landed in the Tirana International Airport in Albania and impatiently waited for my suitcase to arrive in the conveyor belt. After a long wait, the suitcase still did not show up. I was very anxious, thinking that my art supplies were confiscated or did not pass through the security checkpoint. The airport's "Lost & Found" office reassured me that my suitcase would show up in the next day or two and that it probably got held up in Istanbul or Toronto.
A day later, during Christmas Eve, there was no sign of my suitcase arriving anytime soon. I called the Tirana airport's "Lost & Found" office again in the afternoon and they told me that it was actually delayed in Toronto and would arrive in the evening.
That evening I was finally elated to hear from the hotel staff that the suitcase arrived intact and safe. My first time packing and checking-in artist supplies for a long international trip was a bit nerve-wracking, but successful after all!