Business Travel 101: Toiletries (Revisited)

Business Travel 101 is a series from a couple of years ago about making that first business trip as easy and successful as possible. I’ve re-tooled the series, and now it’s more comprehensive than ever! It covers everything a new business traveler needs to know for that initial trip, including essential tips for packing, security, safety, etiquette, and comfort.

Toiletries can be a tricky part of traveling, especially for women. You need all the things you use every day that make you feel beautiful and confident, but they have to fit in an itty-bitty space. The 3 oz. rule has made this even more difficult. Carrying-on is the best way to save time (and money) while traveling, and you don’t want to have to check your suitcase just because of your toiletries. So how do you get all of your makeup, shower things, hair products, and face stuff into your bag?

The first step is to separate out all of your liquids from your non-liquids. I typically have three bags:

  1. Makeup bag
  2. Non liquids bag
  3. Liquids bag (1 quart clear plastic bag)

This works really well because it allows these small bags to fit wherever there is room. Here is a specific list of what I put into each bag.


  • Toothbrush
  • Contacts case
  • Glasses
  • Razor
  • Comb
  • Bobby pins and rubber bands
  • Contact solution
  • Deodorant
  • Face wipes

Liquids–travel sizes (3 oz or less) of all

  • Face wash
  • Body wash
  • Toothpaste
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hydrating mist
  • Tinted moisturizer
  • Hair smoother

A few additional tips:

  • If you are going on a trip for a few days, don’t pack your whole bottle of eye makeup remover. Instead, dip one end of several q-tips into the liquid and then put them in a Ziplock bag.
  • Bring your own products but put them in refillable bottles.
  • Put small amounts of liquids into clean contact lens cases. Try moisturizer, facial cleanser, and hair products. This will save you a ton of room.
  • Bring a few extra Ziplock bags. Just in case.
  • I’ll be honest—I don’t usually take my liquids bag out at security anymore. I still keep my liquids separated though in case I get busted.

Readers, what are your favorite products to travel with?

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  1. Great tips! I always travel with make-up remover towelettes – Neutrogena makes them in travel-size packs of 7 (I’ve gotten mine at Ulta) that get me through the duration of most trips. I also always have a light (inoffensive) perfume, and recently I’ve started throwing Moroccan oil into my liquids bag – that stuff does amazing things for hair!

  2. Two items I have found to be invaluable:

    (1) A small mister bottle. I pack it empty so that it doesn’t have to go in the Ziploc bag. I mostly use it as a quick iron. Fill it with a little bottled water (sometimes tap water can leave spots), perhaps a dash of perfume, mist the clothing, and smooth wrinkles out by hand.

    (2) Those tiny Ziploc bags that hold buttons and come attached to your new shirts. These are fabulous for holding a handful of vitamins, a couple of Q-Tips or cotton balls, hair bands and/or clips, or any other little item that needs a container.

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