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Shipping with Dry Ice: Do’s and Don’ts

Say you’ve got some great local fare that you want to send to a friend.  It’s perishable so you know it’s not just something you can just throw in a box – you need dry ice!

Wait a second…can you even ship dry ice? What are the rules about how you should pack it?

Not to fear, dry ice fans! We’ve assembled some quick and easy tips that tell you what you should know about shipping with dry ice:

  • First, for domestic shipping, you can definitely ship with dry ice as long as its next-day or second-day service. We recommend eight to ten pounds of dry ice to keep items frozen for up to 48 hours.
  • Via our friends at FedEx, here’s a good way to ensure you pack your food the right way with dry ice:
How To Ship Dry Ice


  • Always keep something between what you’re packing and the dry ice.  Cardboard, towels or plastic all work well.
  • For maximum effectiveness, sandwich what you’re packing between blocks of dry ice.
  • Do NOT  try to make the package air-tight by wrapping the cooler with tape or plastic. Simple insulation should do the trick.
  • For international shipping, the post office actually does not recommend shipping with dry ice since packages often get caught up in customs for longer than 48 hours. You’re welcome to try but our sources say it’s a gamble.

Got more shipping tips? Feel free to share them in the comments section, below!

Image courtesy of VFS Digital Design on Flickr.

2 Responses

  1. Matt Globe says:

    I am planning to take a Honey-baked ham to the Philippines with me. It’s at least a 24 hour trip. I froze the ham, and I have a thick styrofoam shipping container. It’s big enough for the ham, with space on the sides for the dry ice. I contacted TSA and I looked up FAA regulations on dry ice in aircraft, both checked luggage and carry on. According to FAA regulations, the maximum amount of dry ice in checked luggage is 5 lbs, and in carry-on, 4.4 lbs. However, the airline has a rule against perishable in checked baggage, so I can only carry it on the plane.

  2. The Penguin says:

    Hi Matt, What airline are you flying?

    The reason we ask is that most US-based airlines have the same rules for international and domestic flights when it comes to checking perishable items. Most allow, as you mentioned, perishable items packed with dry ice up to 4 or 5 lbs.

    From the sounds of things, what you are encountering is an airline-specific rule. What we might suggest is to ship with FedEx or UPS where they can handle your perishable item with a little more ease than having to take it on the plane with you.

    Either way – happy holidays and thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us!

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