We soda aficionados don’t always want to leave our SodaStream behind when we have to visit family for a holiday or take a long business trip, right? If you’re like me then I can’t just leave my soda makers behind wherever I travel for an extended period of time.
So, since travel is a part of life, learning how to efficiently travel with a soda maker is a good idea for anyone who enjoys regular carbonated beverages and is looking to keep their costs down. Or for those can’t go without their own favorite flavor!
Some other tips are concerned with storing the other parts of your soda maker. Plastic bottles and carbonating cylinders should all be stored in places of certain temperatures and humidity levels to make sure that they don’t obtain damage as you travel.
We’ve also got some tips concerning the transportation of soda maker flavored syrups, so you don’t experience a nasty surprise when you put a few drops into your next carbonated beverage.
In addition, we’d recommend using certain models of SodaStream if you plan to travel due to their ease-of-use and their lack of electric power. Some devices are simply easier to travel with than others, and ones that always need a power outlet will be better served as stationary beverage makers rather than travel companions.
Take Your Soda Maker Apart
Taking your soda maker or your soda supplies on a plane is perfectly possible provided you prepare beforehand. You won’t be able to keep your entire soda maker together and simply stuff it into a suitcase before boarding a plane, of course. There are a number of minor safety concerns you should be aware of if you want to fly with a SodaStream.
First of all, you’ll always need to take your soda maker apart before packaging it into a suitcase or another type of luggage. Some SodaStream machines are easier in this regard. For instance, the SodaStream Fizzi, which doesn’t require electricity to operate, only requires you to detach the carbonating cylinder and the carbonated water bottle before it’s ready for transportation.
Without either of these two components inserted into the correct sockets, there’s no chance of the machine operating and accidentally spraying CO2 gas into your luggage.
This rule for taking everything apart stands for every SodaStream machine that you take onto a plane, by the way. Even if you have a powered soda maker, like the SodaStream Power, you’ll still need to detach the carbonated water bottle and the carbonating cylinder from the main machine before you can safely store it.
Carbonated Cylinder Transportation
It’s important to take the carbonating cylinder out because it needs to be sealed for the journey. Each carbonating cylinder is already rated for several atmospheres’ worth of pressure difference, so it’s not a matter of the cylinder potentially exploding as your aircraft climbs in altitude.
Instead, a leaky carbonating bottle that isn’t properly inserted into a soda maker machine might accidentally spray the last dregs of CO2 gas into an airplane compartment, causing a disturbance. Keeping the cylinder out of the machine is just guaranteeing that no CO2 gas will escape from the canister for the duration of the flight.
However, it’s more important to take your cylinders separately since you’ll have to demonstrate to the TSA that your cylinders are empty of all compressed gas to travel with them at all. They do not allow any compressed gas of any kind to be taken aboard an aircraft in baggage or carry-on capacities. The above rule is to protect the aircraft if a small amount of gas accidentally remains inside a cylinder. As a result of this limitation, many custom soda lovers will want to refill their canisters once they’ve arrived at their destination.In addition, it’s normally illegal to ship filled CO2 gas canisters unless you’re an authorized retailer like SodaStream. In most cases, it’ll be easier for you to purchase new CO2 cylinders once you’ve arrived at your destination than it will be to take the cylinders that you already have.
Still, calling the airport ahead of time and requesting a specific check of your baggage is the best way to convince the FAA that your CO2 carbonating cylinders aren’t a threat and should be allowed to fly with you.
For the carbonated water bottles and the main soda maker machine, traveling should involve wrapping both components in some kind of soft cushioning to prevent damage during transport. The bottles are fairly durable and can be stored with any other plastic things you’re taking.
Be sure that the carbonated water bottles are empty of all fluid, as airport security doesn’t usually let you bring bottles of outside liquid into the airport terminal.
The same goes for syrups, as well. You likely won’t be able to take any syrups with you onboard the aircraft, although you can likely store your SodaStream syrups in any checked baggage provided that you let airport security know ahead of time.
Storing the Soda Maker
Any soda maker should be wrapped to prevent the machine from sustaining damage from other pieces of cargo. Bubble wrap or even crunched-up paper both work very well. You don’t need to cushion the soda maker as much as you would a glass object, of course. But every bit of cushioning helps.
Other than that, be sure to take the size of your soda maker into account when packing all of your luggage. These machines can be quite hefty and take up plenty of room in any suitcase. However, they aren’t the most durable machines and can easily be cracked or crushed if something heavier falls on top of them or if they are subjected to extreme pressure or weight from surrounding objects.
We’d recommend placing your SodaStream materials in their own compartment or bag to make sure that nothing gets broken during your travels.
Store Materials in Cool, Dry Places
You should always take the temperature and ambient humidity of your travel environment into account. Specifically, your soda maker CO2 cylinders must be stored in a cool and dry environment whenever you travel, regardless of what kind of vehicle you take.
Basically, CO2 gas expands as the ambient heat of its environment rises. The expanding gas places more pressure on the pressurized canister. While all soda maker CO2 cylinders are designed to withstand several degrees of extreme pressure, it’s never a good thing for your compressed gas to try to escape before you intend to use it.
At best, this will result in less CO2 gas being saved for your enjoyment when you arrive at your destination. At worst, it may result in a crack in the CO2 gas canister or other structural damage . Structural damage might cause CO2 gas leaks before making it into your water bottle or cause a mess when you try to make soda next time.
By the same token, keeping your CO2 cylinders in a dry environment helps the canister maintain its overall structural integrity.
Because of both of these limitations, you should always store your CO2 gas canisters in a sealed container or suitcase in a place that is not exposed to direct sunlight.
The traditional trunk of a car is a bad example of a place to store your soda maker materials, for instance. Car trunks are often extremely hot as they are exposed to direct sunlight and don’t receive the same ventilation that the rest of the car does.
It’s a better idea to store your CO2 gas canisters in the car cabin with you. You can put the other pieces of the soda maker in the trunk if you wish, although you should also consider the toll that extreme heat might take on your plastic carbonated water bottles. SodaStream plastic bottles are designed to last for a long time but remember that they aren’t rated for use in a dishwasher.This is because they don’t hold up well under extreme heat. Storing them in a hot and wet environment will result in the plastic warping and weakening over time.
You’ll have to get new soda maker bottles sooner than if you store them in a cool, dry place with the carbonating cylinders.
Overall, it’s best to keep everything together.
We would recommend keeping a small suitcase or bag for your soda maker materials. Place everything into that one bag so you don’t lose smaller pieces or an errant bottle and keep it in the main car cabin or with your person if you travel by train. Not only does this make your soda maker harder for others to steal, but it also ensures that the materials won’t be subjected to too much environmental stress.
Buy New Cylinders and Syrups When You Arrive
Because of the shipping difficulties inherent in transporting carbonation cylinders, it’s often a much smarter idea to buy new cylinders once you arrive at your destination. These cylinders can either be picked up from a local store that sells the correct bottles, or you can order new ones from the SodaStream website.
You won’t have to worry about shipping fees or negotiating the bottles through security. Even if you did manage to travel with the bottles, you likely had to empty them either at border checkpoints or at airport security. So you’d have to refill them anyway. The same goes for any flavored syrups . While syrups are not as heavily regulated as compressed gas cylinders, some borders or airport security agents will let you take flavored syrups with you. If you’re going to be traveling for a long time, you might also pay attention to the expiration date of your favorite soda syrup bottles.
Some of them may be very close to expiration anyway, and it might be worthwhile to pick up some fresh bottles once you’ve arrived at your destination rather than lugging around syrups that are about to go bad.
Also, check out my other post if you want more insight into whether you can use expired syrups.
Store Syrups Like Gas
In addition, storing your syrups in a cool and dry place is absolutely a necessity since the syrup formulas can become undone if the bottles are subjected to extreme heat.
A car trunk is a great place for your syrups to go bad. When you taste your next carbonated beverage made with a few drops of an overheated syrup, you might find that it doesn’t taste quite right. For the best travel results, store your flavored syrups the same way you’d store your plastic bottles and carbonated cylinders.
Store Glass Bottles Carefully
If you’ve jumped from the standard plastic carbonated water bottles to glass carafes or bottles, you’ve already discovered their inherent advantage: they can be thrown in the dishwasher for easy cleaning! But their glass material also makes them a little more susceptible to structural damage when you move them.Glass is a lot easier to break than plastic. You’ll want to always travel with your glass soda carafes wrapped in bubble wrap or cushioning paper to ensure that they don’t crack or shatter when they come into contact with other bottles or items. You’ll have to pay a lot closer attention to where you store these bottles as you travel than with plastic bottles.
However, glass bottles do have an advantage over the plastic ones in that they don’t require you to store them in a cool or dry environment. You can put these in the back of the trunk worry-free, as the heat of a standard car trunk isn’t enough to make their structure warp in any significant way.
Look Up Refilling Centers
Before you move or travel anywhere with your soda maker, do a quick Google search and investigate your options for refilling centers. Lots of stores offer discounts for refilling your compressed CO2 gas if you bring in your old cylinders.
This is a great way to save money and still get as many carbonated beverages as you desire.
However, there are plenty of places both in the United States and beyond that don’t have regular supermarkets or stores that provide this service. This will severely limit your ability to refresh your CO2 cylinders, as you’ll have to order them online from the main SodaStream website. You can still send in your old CO2 canisters for the same or a better discount, but this takes a lot longer than if you merely turned in your old bottles to a physical store location.
Have a Shippable Address
In relation to the above tip, you’ll want to make sure that wherever you’re traveling, you have a reachable shipping address that can accept larger packages. If you can’t go to a store and refill your cylinders with new CO2 gas, you’ll need to get fresh cylinders shipped straight to your location if you want to continue enjoying carbonated beverages.SodaStream machines only use proprietary carbonation cylinders.
Certain remote locations may have shipping addresses but don’t get trucks for packages due to the environment or distance. These places require the owner of the property to reach a shipping center in a nearby town, which eats up more of your time.
If you can’t live without constant carbonated beverages, you’ll definitely only want to travel to places where a local UPS truck can reach you easily.
Use a Non-Electric SodaStream
If you plan to take your soda maker on a camping trip or simply to a place where you won’t be guaranteed access to an electrical outlet, it’s usually a better idea to bring an unpowered soda maker. These soda machines don’t rely on electrical power to provide you with tasty carbonated beverages. Instead, they operate by simply opening the pressurized valve of an attached carbonating cylinder and forcing that CO2 gas into a waiting water bottle.
The original SodaStream model, the Fizzi, is a great choice for this reason. All you need is a supply of compressed CO2 gas and some filtered water and you’re good to go. These machines are a lot more convenient to use in a variety of places than the power to soda maker models.
If you need some tips on how to get the best from your Fizzi then check out this post.
Unpowered soda makers are also easier to move or travel with because you don’t have to take their electrical cord into account.Unpowered soda makers are usually lighter, too . Overall, powered soda makers are more stationary machines solely due to their need for an outlet and because they usually have more advanced features, resulting in a heavier weight.