I’m so glad you guys love reading packing tips, because I sure love writing them! By popular demand, I am talking today about how to pack two weeks worth of toiletries in a carry-on. I was surprised to have so many people request this topic, but clearly, the restrictions on liquids are really challenging! In the interest of full disclosure, I could not tell you the last time that I worried about packing all of my liquids in a quart-sized Ziploc bag. Because I have TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry (Trusted Traveler programs here in the U.S. that you can join), I do not have to separate my liquids out from my bag as long as they are the compliant size of less than 3.4 ounces. Therefore, this topic provided me with an interesting challenge and I was interested to see where I stood in terms of toiletry volume.
Step 1: Identify your essential toiletry items.
There are many products that we use at home that maybe we don’t absolutely need on a trip, especially depending on the nature of the trip. My first step is to think about what I’ll be doing when I arrive. For example, when I went to Nepal, I knew that I would have very few, if any, opportunities to shower, no mirrors, etc. Therefore, it didn’t make sense to bring a ton of bathing products because I wouldn’t have an opportunity to use them and they’d just weigh down my bag. I did need hand sanitizer, multi-purpose soap, etc., so those took precedence.
Step 2: Ditch the travel-size bottles.
In addition to being horrendously expensive, those mini travel bottles of shampoo and conditioner take up a lot of space, and you need more than one for a two week trip. I was introduced last year to reusable travel bottles called GoToobs that you simply fill with your favorite product. The bottles come in 3 sizes – 1.25 ounces, 2 ounces and 3 ounces – and they have a dial on the bottom that you can turn to show what is in the bottle (shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc). These bottles never leak, and because of the way they are constructed, you just squeeze them and you get every last drop of your product out with no waste or shaking the bottle. These have been a game-changer for me, and I bought them in both the 2 and 3 ounce sizes!
Step 3: Consider multi-purpose products that aren’t liquid.
I became a little obsessed with LUSH products last year, and a friend recommended that I try the bar shampoo and conditioner. It’s exactly what it sounds like – shampoo or conditioner formed into a bar of soap. I didn’t find that the conditioner worked well for my hair type, but the shampoo is great, and it also doubles as soap! It doesn’t count as a liquid since it’s a solid, and the container it came with keeps it from leaking into my bag, even if there is leftover water in it. I use it as a backup shampoo in case I run out, and as a multi-purpose soap for washing, laundry, etc! I also bring coconut oil with me on my travels because it can be used as a face wash, makeup remover, and moisturizer and you don’t need a lot of it! Below 78 degrees, it’s a solid, so you won’t count it as a liquid in the airport.It's totally possible to pack two weeks worth of toiletries in your carry-on if you follow these tips from… Click To Tweet
Step 4: Downsize your bottles.
If you’re like me, you probably have some products that are in giant bottles and aren’t easily transferred, even though you don’t necessarily use a lot of them. I have a lot of products like that – tubs of moisturizer, Aquaphor, eye-makeup remover, and coconut oil – and I finally found a great way to transport them. The same people who make the GoToobs also make 0.4-ounce and 2-ounce containers that twist open, called GoTubbs. You can use them for anything – I have eye makeup remover in one, moisturizer in another, and even pills in a third. They take up virtually no space at all and never leak!
Step 5: Remember, they have stores and supplies overseas, too.
At some point, you might just not be able to bring everything you need in a carry-on because of restrictions on the amount of liquids you can bring. For example, if you’re going to a hot and sunny destination, you’re probably going to need a decent amount of sunscreen! Well, the good news is, they almost definitely sell sunscreen where you’re going. The same goes for bug spray (although you can use bug spray wipes and pack those, instead). If it’s critical to you to only bring a carry-on, you may have to make some sacrifices. Remember, too, that most hotels (if you are staying in a hotel) have free shampoo and conditioner for use by their guests, and often other products, too. If you can survive without “your” products for a couple weeks, it might be worth it so that you can pack the things you absolutely can’t live without.
Step 6: Pack efficiently.
This might sound really obvious, but don’t just shove everything into your quart-sized Ziploc bag and hope for the best. Play around with different arrangements until you figure out how to maximize your space. You’d be surprised what you can fit with a little patience!
It’s definitely possible to pack two weeks of toiletries in a carry-on if you are realistic about what you actually need and how much of it you’ll use, prioritize and have the right storage supplies!
LEAVE A COMMENT: What is your biggest packing challenge? Do you tend to pack a ton of toiletries, or a little?