Toiletry Travel Tips Roundup

In honor of my fabulous traveling companions, and all the people who told me that it is so hard to condense toiletries, I give you the Toiletry Travel Tips Roundup. Here are my favorite and most effective tips for making the most of your liquids bag.

  • I take three bags–my liquids bag, non-liquids bag, and makeup bag. It is easier to shove three small bags in various spots in my suitcase than one huge one.
  • Don’t put anything in your liquids bag that doesn’t have to go there. For example, deoderant, contact solution, glasses, makeup, etc.
  • Use those contact lens cases! You can get them for super cheap from drug stores, and store small amounts of liquids in them. I keep my face wash, moisturizer, hair glaze, and curly hair cream in there.
  • Dip q-tips in make-up remover. This way you don’t have to take along a full bottle.
  • Get small bottles from Aveda or Amazon and fill them with your favorite shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. I use lotion from the hotel.

Readers, what are your favorite toiletry packing tips?


  1. I use make-up removing cloths, so I take a few, ball them up to retain their moisture, and seal them in a Ziploc bag (push the air out). Much easier than taking along the whole case for a two or three-day trip.

  2. I love the contact lens cases idea! I would not have thought of that.
    I also use make-up removing towelettes. They are very convenient. I also like the Go Toob travel bottles that I fill with my shampoo and conditioner.

  3. I keep a black Sharpie handy when I am squeezing all those liquids into tiny bottles as I am preparing for the trip. If I don’t clearly mark them with what’s inside, I always forget, on the next trip, what I’ve put in there. Hair conditioner can look and smell strangely similar to body lotion and vice versa. Unmarked, soon you’ll find you have a collection of small bottles with indistinguishable goop inside, and you’ll have to start all over again and buy new bottles.

  4. Take an extra zip-lock, just in case something opens and creates a mess in one.

    I save and refill sample sizes from make-up “gift with purchases”.

    When you come home, before you throw your toiletry bag(s) into the closet, refill all those little bottles.

    Agreed: mark everything with a sharpie.

    I also keep an index card in my toiletry bag with a complete list of everything I take. When I’m packing, I go through the list to make sure i haven’t forgotten anything.

  5. Just wanted to second and third Elle’s comment about extra zip-loc bags. I try to always take 2-3 extra of each size in both my suitcase AND my laptop bag – you just never know when they will come in handy.

    Also I buy assorted small zip-type bags at the craft store and these hold all sort of smallish things that can either travel on their own or get put into larger zip-locs with similar items – for example, pairs of earrings, cotton balls, q-tips. And in the laptop bag, these little guys hold ear buds, phone cords, business cards, etc.

  6. I have also switched to the make-up removing clothes when I travel, I have used both the dry ones and pre-moistened ones.
    I never put mascara in my baggie, and as I use up the product in my little containers I’ll throw them into my non-liquids bag to free up baggie space.
    One thing I’ve found with the sample sizes is that some of them have a top where you press on one end and the other end opens up (eg Aveda shampoo). These can have a tendency to open up in the baggie, so I try to find sample bottles with screw tops or flip tops.

  7. I do the same thing with the multiple bags – one for “dry” and one for “wet”. Love the extra ziploc bag idea for things especially jewelry. Both of my travel bags stay packed all the time, so just a brief inventory and a refill the night before a trip and I’m ready to go. I have used the contact lens case trick for years… works beautifully. I also try to get as many samples as I can when shopping – perfume, makeup remover, face lotion etc. especially for 1-2 day trips – they are perfect!

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