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Packing Strategy 3: Adventures in Toiletries


There is nothing in my carry-on that gives me more anxiety than the 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.

Packing Strategy 3: Adventures in Toiletries


The best way to eradicate the liquids problem is to use solid toiletries! Solid options include, but are not limited to:

  • Bar soap
  • Lotion bars
  • Toothpaste tablets
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Coconut Oil (solid at room temperature and can be used for lotion, moisturizer, conditioner, makeup remover, and more!)

Solid toiletries ensure you will get through security with ease, and you won’t have to worry your 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 used as both body soap and shampoo!

Solid Lotion Bar; Photo Credit: Truly-Life
Solid Soap and Shampoo; Photo Credit: Truly-Life

Forgot your toothbrush? They probably have an extra at your hotel front desk. Forgot your shampoo, soap, razor, lotion, or toothpaste? Most hotels will 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 accommodation’s 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! You will probably have to bring your own deodorant, though!

Re-evaluate Travel Size

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. Take a look at your travel size items, then look at what you typically use and compare them. You can decide if it’s worth the price different to get those travel-size items.

Full-size deodorant, 2.5 ounces: it’s a sure thing!
Forget about Forgetting

Keep in mind that if all else fails and you forget your 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.

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.

Not-so-dry shampoo! 5 ounces makes this a no-go.

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. It’s a foam, right? But it’s also a liquid. If you’re not sure, just snap a picture and Tweet or Facebook your question and picture to @AskTSA!

Were these tips helpful? Comment below to tell me, then check out my Packing page for more!

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