How to Bring Your Yoga Mat as a Carry On (Travel Tips)

Planning to bring a yoga mat as a carry-on for your airline travel? Check out these guidelines, plus the best travel yoga mats and tips to care for them.

A woman traveling with her yoga mat as a carry on.

If there’s a great place to do some yoga, it’s anywhere you want. Whether you plan on going someplace else for a yoga retreat or just bringing your yoga mat to a work trip for some stress-relief stretch, one thing you would want to make sure of is if you can bring your yoga mat as a carry-on. 

Carry-on Yoga Mat: T.S.A. Approved

Nobody, not even most airlines, wants to limit you on how or where you do your yoga session. Hence, you are allowed to carry your yoga mat, whether using a travel yoga mat bag or a yoga mat shoulder strap. 

The Transportation Security Administration (T.S.A.) allows you to bring your yoga mat as carry-on luggage or check-in. However, you must still follow the rules and guidelines, depending on the airline of your choice.

You can’t just carry a yoga mat of any size, especially ones with bigger sizes, depending on the airplane company you’re flying in. 

General Airline Guidelines on Yoga Mats

Most planes have no policy against you bringing your yoga mat. However, keep in mind that different airlines may have various measures of the yoga mat they will allow you to carry.

Carry-on Luggage

Hand-carrying your yoga mat on a plane is no problem. But official airline guidance suggests that you keep your yoga mats not larger than the carry-on dimensions or that they can fit in the overhead bin. A mat that is no more than 22 inches in dimension when rolled is accepted in most U.S.-based airlines. 

However, most average yoga mats range between 24 to 27 inches, making them too large for a carry-on. If this is your case and you have a thin and flexible yoga mat, you can try folding it instead so it can fit in your carry-on bag. 

Check-in Luggage

A woman rolling up her blue yoga mat for traveling.

If you prefer not to hand-carry your yoga mat into the plane or if your rolled-up mat does not meet the restrictions, you can pack it into the luggage bag that you will check in upon boarding. 

You can look for a bag large enough to fit your rolled-up or folded mat and put it across the bag or in any way your mat fits. Aside from your mat dimensions, some airlines are also strict when it comes to your luggage weight. 

Sure, your mat may not be very heavy, but it is still one thing to note so you can avoid paying the extra baggage weight fee. 

Choosing Your Travel Yoga Mat

I’m not saying your regular yoga mat is not as good as your travel yoga mat. It only means that one is more suited for travel than the other in terms of thickness and weight. You can easily fold or roll your travel mat, so it takes up little space and less weight, making it convenient for you to carry or pack. 

However, if you have knee issues or prefer doing many floor exercises, thinner travel mats become a disadvantage to your protection and comfort. Like how your foam mats are lighter than rubber mats, they don’t offer as much grip. 

But as your mat thickness increases, so does the size of your rolled mat and its weight. Sorting your priorities will help you choose the right mat. If you have extra weight and space on your bag or carry, a thicker mat may not be much of a problem. 

Best Travel Yoga Mats

Gaiam Yoga Mat

Gaiam Yoga Mat Folding Travel Fitness & Exercise Mat | Foldable Yoga Mat for All Types of Yoga, Pilates & Floor Workouts, Be Free, 2mm

The foldable yoga mat from Gaiam is from non-toxic P.V.C. that is 2 mm in thickness. You can easily fold this cute mat into a 10 x 12-inch square, fitting it into your bag or carry on. The mat features a texture sticky enough to provide you with a stable footing when doing your poses or floor exercises. 

Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat

eKO Superlite Yoga and Pilates Travel Mat

Manduka eKo Superlite travel yoga mat offers portability and convenience without compromising your support and stability. You can easily roll the mat with its 1.5 thickness to fit into the dimension most airlines want. The mat is made of sustainable, biodegradable materials with 100% natural tree rubber without toxic foaming agents, azo dyes, and harmful plasticizers. 

Toplus Travel Yoga Mat

TOPLUS Travel Yoga Mat, 1/16 Inch Thin Foldable Travel Mat, High-Grade Natural Suede Anti Slip Hot Yoga Mat for Travel, Yoga and Pilates, Coming with Exquisite Carrying Bag

The Toplus yoga mat is perfect for your travels as it comes in a lightweight and convenient carrying bag. You can easily fold the 1/16 inch thick mat to fit in the bag and carry it anywhere without so much hassle as it only weighs 2.5 lbs. The mat is absorbent, non-slip, and perfect for your hot yoga experience from natural suede and eco-friendly materials.

Travel Yoga Mat Care

Just as much as you, your mats need tender loving care. And it’s not a challenging task to do. Mixture water and vinegar with a ratio of 3:1 in a spray bottle should do the trick for you. 

But don’t just spray it and leave it. You need to air out and dry it to avoid unpleasant odors and stickiness and ensure its longevity, so the edges do not start curling or wear. Make sure to leave it in a place where no direct sunlight can hit it. 

Some Tips When Traveling with a Yoga Mat

Traveling with a yoga mat is not the most stressful thing in the world. I think it’s not even stressful at all. Here are ways you can make sure your mat and your yoga experience stay good as you go. 

Breathe

Inhale, exhale—these are two essential things to do when doing yoga. However, it is not only you who needs to breathe. Make sure to roll out or unfold your travel yoga mat whenever possible, and don’t just keep it in the bag. 

Extra

Travel yoga mats are made thin enough to fit in a bag. So, if you have sensitive knees and palms, bring extra padding for your mat, or you can use your hotel towel or blanket underneath to add a cushion. 

Cleaner

Just like in any physical sport, you sweat a lot when practicing yoga. But it is the relaxing kind. However, your sweat carries germs and dirt, so make sure to bring your mat cleaner in portable travel sizes. 

Have a Safe Yoga Trip

A close look at a woman exercising yoga at a rocky seaside cliff.

Whether you plan on going on a hiking yoga trip or a work trip and have yoga on the side to destress, make sure to constantly review your airline’s rules and guidelines on carry-on and check-in luggage. And don’t stress too much about it. Meditate and enjoy. That’s what yoga is about anyway.

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