In a quick informal survey of family and friends, people were clearly the most stressed by packing one item. Not clothes, as you might think, or shoes. It was toiletries! My friends and family find the idea of compressing their skin care/hair care/shower regimen into a couple of tiny bags more daunting than any other thing! I mean, I get it. A normal bottle of shampoo is around 8-10 oz. And you still need conditioner, face cleanser, moisturizer, a razor, toothpaste, not to mention all of your makeup. So yeah, I see how it would be stressful. To take the fear out of your liquids bag, here are my Top Five Packing Tips for Toiletries.
- Use refillable bottles. Most people who are traveling a week or less have no need of full size toiletries. In fact, I haven’t had to refill my 3 oz. bottles in a couple of months, and I’ve traveled 7 or 8 times. You can get refillable bottles anywhere, including The Container Store, Amazon, or my personal favorite, Aveda Fillables at Nordstrom (pictured).
- Use multiple small bags. Since you have all of your liquids in 3 oz or smaller bottles, there is really no need to travel with one of those giant hanging toiletry bags. All they do is steal your valuable suitcase space. I recommend traveling with 2-3 bags: your 1-quart, clear liquids bag; a small toiletry case for non-liquids; and your small makeup bag, if needed. (If you really need something that hangs, try this small hanging toiletry bag.)
- For sensitive skin, bring your own stuff. I know firsthand how tempting the toiletry aisle at Target can be. OMG! I squeal. They make tiny little bottles of everything! But as much fun as those little bottles are, it is not worth it to me to experiment on a trip. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you can end up with some major irritation from new products. Not the kind of experience you want to have on a business trip, or any trip really. If you do get something new, definitely test it before you go.
- Only put required items in the liquids bag. A lot of people don’t know that there are a number of things that I consider liquids that don’t have to go in the 1 quart bag: contact solution, deodorant, mascara, and lip gloss to name a few. Getting non-required items out of there frees up lots of room for your shampoo, conditioner, lotions, etc. Also, clean out your liquids bag routinely—one time I realized I was traveling with THREE bottles of lotion.
- Use contact cases. My very favorite toiletry traveling tip: for tiny amounts of liquids, use contact cases. I have two that I travel with: one for the shower (face wash) and one for the counter (hair smoothing gel). Saves so much room!
Bonus tip: Wipes don’t have to be in the liquids bag. So if there are face cleansing or other types of wipes you like, bring them in your suitcase and save that room in your liquids bag!
Readers, what are your top tricks for packing toiletries?
(Also, if you haven’t yet–please fill out my short reader survey!)
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