Packing Strategy 3: Adventures in Toiletries

Updated June 22, 2020.

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 bottle three or four ounces? Does my mousse count as a liquid? (Yes it does.) 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.

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Packing Strategy 3: Adventures in Toiletries

1. Solidify

The liquid restrictions go way back to 2006, and they’re not changing those rules in the travelers’ favor any time soon. You’re allowed as many liquids as will fit in a clear, quart-size bag, but no liquids container may be more than 3.4 ounces.

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

  • Soap
  • Lotion
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Bug repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • 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 solid natural soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and more!

Solid Lotion Bar; Photo Credit: Truly-Life
Solid Soap and Shampoo; Photo Credit: Truly-Life
Essential Info: Your Ultimate Guide to Solid Toiletries

2. Simplify

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!

3. 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. And guess what… solid deodorant doesn’t have to go in your liquids bag! Take a look at your “travel size” items, then look at the full-size you typically use and compare them. You can decide if it’s worth the price difference to get those travel-size items. Sometimes you really do need the smaller package, but most of the time, there’s room for full-size if it’s a solid anyway. Check out my favorite deodorant:

4. 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. They really do sell most toiletries all over the world. Just take a look!

Bonus Tip

Just so you know, that regular-sized can of dry shampoo is a liquid! And it’s more than three ounces. 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. It’s a foam, not a liquid. Wrong! It is a liquid inside there. If you’re not sure whether something counts as a liquid, just snap a picture and Tweet or Facebook your question and picture to @AskTSA!

Finally, overall there’s no way around it. Sometimes you have to bring liquids with you. This TSA-approved case makes it easy!

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

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8 responses to “Packing Strategy 3: Adventures in Toiletries”

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  5. Yes!!! I always feel so worried that I’ll unpack my suitcase at the destination and discover wet clothes!!

    1. Right?! And then what do you do? Lotion and conditioner do not rinse out well! 😳

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