Packing · Uncategorized

Packing Strategy 3: Adventures in Toiletries

This week’s Packing Strategy post is all about… Toiletries!

There is nothing else in your carry-on or checked luggage that brings with it more rules and anxiety than your toiletries. How do I make sure they don’t spill? Is this three or four ounces? Why can Europeans have 100 mL (3.38 oz), but Americans can only have three ounces (88.72 mL)? Does my mousse count as a liquid? And what about dry shampoo? And I can only have a sandwich bag’s worth of liquids? What’s up with that?

Well, don’t be baffled! Here are some tips and suggestions that might help you get the toiletries thing under control!

1. Solidify

The best way to eradicate the liquids problem is to use solid toiletries! That means solid bars of all kinds of things. They even make solid tablets of toothpaste these days! You won’t have to worry about liquids spilling if they’re not liquids to begin with. My friend Mellenie, creator of Truly-Life, makes natural soaps, lotions, and even bars that can be both body soap and shampoo! Check out her website:


Lotion Bar

Shampoo and Body Soap

2. Simplify

Forgot your toothbrush? They probably have an extra in your hotel lobby. Forgot your shampoo, soap, razor, lotion, and toothpaste? Most hotels and hostels have those, too. If you’re really serious about packing lighter and simplifying your toiletries, you can just leave them at home! Check out the fine print on your hotel, hostel, or Air BnB website to see what they provide. You can also e-mail or call them if you want specifics. Some places even provide laundry facilities and detergent!

3. Coconut Oil

I’ve sung the praises of coconut oil before, but it’s good enough to discuss again. It is solid at room temperature, but it can melt into a liquid at around 80 degrees. So I always follow the three-ounce rule with this one, but that’s enough to get me through at least two weeks of travel, because you don’t have to use very much at a time. I use it for lotion, facial moisturizer, shaving lotion, hair masque (for what the beach, ocean water, and pool water do to my hair!), and even deodorant in a pinch!

4. “Travel Size” may not be the bargain you think it is! 

And speaking of deodorant, regular sized deodorant is usually less than three ounces, so don’t waste your money on “travel-size” when you can use what you already have in your own bathroom. I also make my own facial cleansing pads and take them with me, so I don’t buy the facial wipes or liquid cleansers, then have to worry about how I’ll transport the liquid in my carry-on. Take a look at your travel size items, then look at what you typically use and compare them. Is it worthwhile to get those travel-size items?

5. If All Else Fails

Keep in mind that if all else fails or you want to do away with packing toiletries altogether, you can buy what you need wherever you go! It may be a little different, the words on the packaging may be in a different language, but it’ll get the job done. Don’t be afraid to try something new or ask for help if you need it.

6. Last Tip

Just so you know… that regular-sized can of dry shampoo is a liquid! And it’s more than three ounces. I’ve yet to see a travel-size dry shampoo container, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Just be aware that many hair products do count as liquids, like mousse, gel, creams, waxes, etc. I once got pulled aside in the Vienna airport for my travel-size can of mousse because I didn’t think to pull it out when going through the security screener.

Got more tips on toiletries? Comment below, then check back next week for Packing Strategy 4: Accessorize, Prioritize.

Packing Strategy 1: Roll with It!

Packing Strategy 2: Tetris Packing and an Element of Fun

Packing Strategy 4: Accessorize, Prioritize

Packing Strategy 5: Luggage Minimization

Packing Strategy 6: The Journey Home

5 thoughts on “Packing Strategy 3: Adventures in Toiletries

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