Yoga Mat on a Plane (Helpful tips and what airlines say)


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Yoga Mat on a Plane (Helpful tips and what airlines say)

Are you planning your next yoga holiday or planning to travel with your yoga mat but don’t know if you can bring it on the plane with you? The two options are to either bring your mat on the plane as carry-on luggage or check it in. There are several things to consider and so for this article, I did a lot of research so as to make this as helpful as possible to all yogis wanting to bring their yoga mat on a plane.

Here’s a quick preview of the best plane travel yoga mats and yoga mat bags:

And so in this article I’m going to cover:

  • Commonly asked questions about yoga mats on planes
  • Airline recommendations about yoga mats as carry-on or as checked-in luggage
  • The best yoga travel mats for you to use on your next journey

Can you bring yoga mat as carry on?

As a general rule, most airlines don’t allow yoga mats on the plane as carry on luggage, as yoga mats are larger than what airlines allow in the cabin. And so most will ask you to check your mat in. An option is to buy a travel yoga mat that can you can fold and place in your backpack.

Most international flights offer rather generous checked-in luggage allowance, and so in that case, it really does make sense to pack your yoga mat in your suitcase and check it in.

If on the other hand, you are flying with a budget airline, such as EasyJet or Ryanair, you will most likely not be allowed to bring your mat on the plane as carry-on luggage so you will have to check it in.

Later in the article, you will see that I contacted Ryanair and EasyJet specifically and they both mentioned that a yoga mat cannot be brought on to a plane and will have to be checked in.

Can I take yoga mat as hand luggage?

Yoga mats tend to be considered too large for hand luggage, and as such, are not generally allowed as carry-on luggage. You will most likely be asked to check it in. However, there are some airlines that allow yoga mats as carry-on luggage, and so consider contacting your airline to be sure.

Later in the article, you will see that I contacted several companies asking whether a yoga mat can be considered as hand luggage. For example, Air Canada quickly replied mentioning that yoga mats can be brought onto the plane as hand luggage.

SO check the airlines I contacted and if your airline in not mentioned, then consider sending hm an email and asking.

How do you pack a yoga mat in luggage?

As a general rule, if you want to pack a yoga mat aim to roll it up and then place it in your suitcase. Generally, yoga mat manufacturers recommend you roll your mat for storage, and so that is how you can save space in your luggage. Some yoga mats can be folded, especially the thin travel mats.

I have the Manduka pro mat which I have had for almost 10 years. I always add it to my checked-in luggage as I find it too heavy to carry around with me. There are however two downsides to adding it to checked-in luggage:

  1. It is quite heavy (3.4kg) and that means I have to pack less in my suitcase.
  2. It can take up a lot of space in the suitcase.

And so when I do travel with my super thick and heavy Manduka Pro, I roll it up and place it in my suitcase diagonally. I sometimes place it first in its yoga mat bag.

I do the same when I am traveling with a lighter mat, such as the Manduka eko.

However, when I am traveling with a travel mat, I fold it into a square and place it wither in my checked-in luggage or in my backpack, depending on how light I want my carry-on bag to be. And of course, depending on if I am allowed to have a checked-in bag!

How do you fold a thick yoga mat?

As a general rule, yoga mats are rolled up for storage. However, if you want to fold it and place it in your suitcase, then fold it in half and then had again so as to fit in your suitcase. Another method is to fold it in half, place your clothes on top, then fold the other half, like a sandwich.

Aim to only do this when really in need, as you don’t want to risk damaging your yoga mat.

How do you travel with a yoga mat?

As a general rule, consider checking in your yoga mat as luggage. In order to do this, roll your mat up and place it in your suitcase. Alternatively, buy a yoga mat bag and place your mat in that. Some airlines may allow the mat as carry-on luggage so ask your airline to be sure.

ANd so it really does ddepend on the airline you are flying with and how heave your yoga mat is!

Here are your general options:

  1. The airline allows yoga mat on the plane as carry on luggage so you’re good to go
  2. The airline doesn’t allow yoga mat on the plane as carry on luggage so you have to check it in
  3. Regardless of the airline rules, if you have a travel mat, you can simply fold it and place it in your backpack

Can you fold a yoga mat?

As a general rule, try to avoid folding your yoga mat. This will help to preserve its shape and not create any fold marks. However, there are yoga mats that are specifically designed to be folded. These travel yoga mats are so thin and light that they can be folded and placed in your backpack.

Airline recommendations for traveling with a yoga mat

I contacted each and every one of the airlines listed below, and I also contacted the TSA. And so if you are flying with any of these airlines, then know that I have done the research for you and so pack accordingly!

AIRLINEYOGA MAT AS CARRY ON?
Air Canadayes
Deltayes
EasyJetno
Ryanairno
American Airlinesyes

TSA yoga mat

Air Canada yoga mat carry on

Air Canada allows you to bring your yoga mat as carry-on luggage. They allow a standard bag of 55 x 40 inches in the cabin and so as a rolled-up yoga mat is an average 26 x 6.5 inches, this means that on Air Canada you will have no problem traveling with your yoga mat as carry-on luggage.

Easyjet yoga mat

EasyJet doesn’t allow you to bring your yoga mat as carry-on luggage. They allow a standard bag of 21 x 15 inches in the cabin and only if you have purchased an Upfront or Extra Legroom seat. A rolled-up yoga mat is an average 26 x 6.5 inches, this means that you will have to check your yoga mat in.

Ryanair yoga mat

Ryanair doesn’t allow you to bring your yoga mat as carry-on luggage. They allow a standard bag of 21 x 15 inches in the cabin. A rolled-up yoga mat is an average 26 x 6.5 inches, this means that you will have to check your yoga mat in when traveling with Ryanair.

American Airlines yoga mat

American Airlines allows you to bring your yoga mat as carry-on luggage. They allow a standard bag of 55 x 40 inches in the cabin and so as a rolled-up yoga mat is an average 26 x 6.5 inches, this means that on American Airlines you will have no problem traveling with your yoga mat as carry-on luggage.

Delta yoga mat

Delta doesn’t seem to allow you to bring your yoga mat as carry-on luggage. They allow a standard bag of 22 x 15 inches in the cabin. A rolled-up yoga mat is an average 26 x 6.5 inches, this means that you will have to check your yoga mat in when traveling with Delta.

Best yoga travel mats for planes

Another popular option is to invest in a travel mat. These can be very thin and light and so they can be folded into a square and even fit into a laptop bag!

One advantage of getting a travel mat is that you can put it into your carry-on bag and thus avoid having to buy a yoga mat bag.

However, one thing I will point out is that travel mats are, for good reason, very thin. This means that if you are practicing on a hard floor, it may make your practice a bit uncomfortable. See if you can practice on a carpet, or on top of a towel.

Manduka travel mat

You’ll notice that the Manduka Travel mat ticks many of the boxes regarding yoga mats for traveling on a plane. And the reason for this is that not only is it a very thin yoga mat but it also foldable, meaning simply fold it up and place it in your backpack. In this way, you will have no problem bringing your yoga mat on the plane.

This mat has excellent grip, and so any traveing yogis will definitely want to check this yoga mat out.

Features to love about the Manduka PRO Travel Yoga Mat

  • 2.5mm thick
  • Excellent grip
  • It comes in 5 colors
  • Eco-friendly yoga mat
  • Foldable

One other point to note about the Manduka travel mat is that because it is so thin, you may want to place it on top of a softer surface for when you practice. This could be an old yoga mat, or even a carpet.

Gaiam travel yoga mat

The truth is that the cost of traveling and practicing yoga can add up. This may involve the cost of your airline, any accommodation, and of course the cost of traveling. And so if you are looking for a budget travel mat, then this yoga mat may be a good option for you. This yoga mat is lightweight, and also it is rather inexpensive! Plus, it’s labeled as Amazon’s Choice with over 2,400 ratings!

Features to love about the Gaiam Travel Mat:

  • Lightweight meaning it is easy to carry on the plane
  • Comes in 5 colorful patterns
  • Lightweight
  • Amazon’s Choice

Best yoga mat bags for planes

For the airlines that allow yoga mats to be carry-on luggage, it is worth investing in a yoga mat bag.

Some have additional pockets and this can come in handy when traveling as you can place your travel documents there.

Some tips for finding a suitable yoga mat bag for travel:

  • Try to find a bag that is waterproof.
  • Make sure there are cushioned straps as this will be more comfortable for your shoulders.
  • See if you can get bags with ventilation as this will ensure your mat gets some air and is ventilated even when stored.

ELENTURE Yoga Mat Bag

If you are a yoga practitioner that is interested in traveling with a yoga mat on a plane, and you’re looking for a mat that seems to tick all the boxes, you’re going to want to check this mat out. It is made of 100% High Quality Canvas and Fabric and comes in a wide variety of beautiful designs.

Features to love about the Elenture Yoga mat bag:

  • Easy to wipe clean
  • Comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns

Manduka Go Light Mat Bag

Having a good quality yoga mat bag that is also waterproof can really make a big difference. And so Manduka Go Light bag is a perfect option for anyone interested in doing some traveling, and especially if you want to bring your yoga mat on the plane with you as carry-on luggage. It also comes with internal pockets and will be able to fit your Manduka Pro.

Features to love about the Manduka Go Light Mat Bag:

  • It is waterproof
  • Adjustable straps
  • Internal pockets for valuables
  • Easy to clean
  • Amazon’s Choice

ELENTURE Tote Yoga Mat Carrier

You’ll notice that the ELENTURE tote is the only one on this ist that not only comes as a tote bag, but also has a variety of beautiful patterns. And so if you are looking for a yoga mat bag to travel with on the plane that also looks really good, then this may be your best option.

Features to love about the ELENTURE tote:

  • Comes in beautiful designs and colors
  • Fits any standard yoga mat
  • Made of High-Quality Fabric
  • Internal pockets for your things
  • Amazon’s Choice

One other point to note about the Gaiam Premium Extra Thick Yoga mat is that it may release quite a strong odor when you first unwrap it. This is very common with yoga mats and the smell will slowly fade away. To the odor to leave, try unrolling it and airing it out for a few days before practicing on it.

What do I recommend?

Well instead of saying what I recommend I will say what I do when I travel on a plane with a yoga mat.

When I travel on international flights, I place my mat (Manduka pro mat) in a simple fabric yoga mat bag and place that in my luggage which is to be checked in. You are generally allowed more weight in checked-in luggage on international flights, so it makes sense to add your mat there.

When I travel on domestic flights (or within Europe), I use my travel mat (Manduka eko® Superlite) and fold it into a square and place it in my laptop backpack.

Alexia Koletsou

Alexia Koletsou is a Level 1 Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher with a Ph.D. in Science Communication. She received her blessing to teach Ashtanga Yoga in 2019, from the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India, where she has had the honor of practicing with R. Sharath Jois multiple times over the years. She is the owner of her own Shala in Greece and now shares her knowledge on yogamyoldfriend.com and her YouTube channel Alexia K Yoga.

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