Shipping within the continental U.S., we have not had any problems with shipping our starter bottles. We recommend express shipping to Hawaii because the “slow boat” takes over a week, and that it too long for the algae to sit in a sealed bottle in the dark. For international orders involving live cultures, please contact us for more information.
If the bottle is kept with a loosened cap or cotton balls in the mouth so it can breathe, indoors in a bright location out of direct sunlight, it can live for weeks or even months. It can easily survive for a few days in a box or suitcase, especially if it does not experience temperature extremes (less than 50F, more than 90F). I have often flown with a bottle in my checked baggage. It will do especially well if you stir it up as often as you can (once a day is fine), or you can bubble it with an aquarium pump and a little tubing (included with the kit!).
We recommend using only half the bottle to start your first tank, so you can try again if you need to. Once you get your culture going, it’s good practice to put aside a bottle once a month or so, as a reserve in case anything goes wrong with your main culture