Toiletries Packing List

a bag and other items on a blue surfaceIn my goal to make someone’s first business trip easier, I am creating packing lists, with specific items and photos, of my typical items for a four-day trip. A couple of weeks ago I talked about clothes, and next in my series of packing photos: toiletries!

Toiletries create a very tricky packing situation for the new business traveler. On the one hand, you want to take all of the items you use at home. On the other hand, you want to have room in your suitcase for, like, clothes and stuff. My very first trip toiletries filled literally half of my suitcase. I got one of these hanging toiletry things (which some people swear by, but I personally hate) and filled it to the brim. As you can imagine, I didn’t use half of the stuff I brought, and my suitcase was incredibly heavy. But now (after years of constant travel) I can pack toiletries for two weeks in three little bags.

A few tips:

  • Use multiple bags instead of one big bag. This way you can squeeze them in smaller spaces instead of taking up a ton of room. I have had the same toiletry bag for like 15 years (crazy right? I just think it’s so cute and it’s still perfect for my needs.). I use a Ziploc for my liquids bag, but some people prefer reusable ones like this one.
  • Bring your own products, just put them in reusable containers (I use Aveda bottles, although from what I can find they are only available in the UK or stores). Don’t buy travel sized items for anything except maybe toothpaste and contact solution. Or if your skin and hair can tolerate complimentary toiletries from a hotel then use those. Strangely, almost all of my toiletries are from hotels right now. This is normally not the case!
  • Contact lens cases are great, inexpensive reusable containers for liquids you only need small amounts of. I label the bottom of the one that has face wash in it (S for shower).

My toiletry packing list (everything is listed clockwise):a group of small bottles and a small bag

Liquids bag:

  • Lotion (L’Occitane)
  • Hair cream (Frederic Fekkai)
  • Shampoo and conditioner (Aveda)
  • Pumice stone (it doesn’t have to go in there, obviously)
  • Body wash (Aveda)
  • Face wash (Eminence)
  • Eye cream (Eminence)
  • Moisturizer (Aveda tinted moisturizer)
  • Mouthwash (Peter Thomas Roth)

Non-liquids bag:a group of personal care items

  • Razor (Intuition)
  • Deodorant
  • Glasses
  • Contact solution (Bio Pure)
  • Toothpaste (Crest)
  • Contact case
  • Cotton balls, q-tips
  • Rubber band and bobby pins for hair

Makeup:a group of makeup items on a blue surface

On certain trips, like the conference I’m going to soon, I will also bring an extra eyeshadow palette (Tarte) and my brush set (similar to this one from Too Faced).

I usually pack all of my bags (along with my curling iron) in my suitcase’s larger inside pocket, but if need be I spread them out.


a bag with a tool in it

See? It is totally possible to bring every toiletry you need without it taking up all of your room.

Be sure to check out my page with products I recommend for travel!

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  1. @Katy thanks! Those look very compact, and are super affordable.

    @Terri I usually don’t pack a puff because I don’t like the idea of packing it while it’s still wet. I usually just use a washcloth.

  2. We can’t buy a travel roll-on unscented deoderant here so I bought the stinky one, prised the ball out & re-filled it with my fave.

  3. One mistake people make is bringing the full 3oz of a liquid even when they only need 1oz. It only takes a few 3 oz bottles to fill up the liquids bag. Better to decant things ahead of time into smaller containers. Don’t forget old eye drop bottles for liquids. They usually come in the 1oz and 1/2 oz sizes. They hold a little more than a contact lens case.

  4. Another good tip is keeping any trial sizes you may get from places Sephora. They make awesome trip essentials. I have enough single trial size of one skin cream to last me a 4 week trip!. Since I carry only even for long trips it helps keep the containers to a minimum & I throw them away once used.

  5. Toothpaste, deodorant and contact solution are considered liquids and must go in the quart bag. But if you put the pumice in the non-liquids bag then you’ll probably have room

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