Gone with the Grins

Travel Toiletries

If you can’t get by with just a hairbrush and a bar of soap, you probably find yourself with lots of creams, lotions, and gadgets that have no place to go in your suitcase.

Here’s a rundown of our Top 10 Favorite Travel Toiletries that help us save space and still carry everything we need.

Small containers perfect for holding make up removers and other creams while travelling.

1. Little Jars

These miniature, round containers come in several sizes and can hold a variety of decanted lotions and medications. We’re partial to the clear plastic Nalgene Leakproof Jars. (They really work!) Acrylic jars with screw-on lids like this pink 20ml bead jar are also very durable and handy for thicker creams and gels. (If you have lots of products that look alike, labeling is a must.)

Rick Steves makes an excellent travel toiletries bag. 2. Compact Toiletry Bags

The Rick Steves Classic Toiletries Kit for men and Large Travelin Toiletries Kit for women tick all the boxes for lightweight travel. They’re relatively small, compact, and made of water resistant nylon. The women’s bag, shown in yellow, has enough pockets and zippered areas to hold a large number of pared down toiletries.

If you don’t care so much about space, this one from Bago gets great reviews on Amazon.com.

Little self sealing bags come in all sizes.3. Self-sealing Plastic Bags

Little resealable zipper poly bags are indispensable for parsing out medications, cotton balls, Q-tips, safety pins, hair bands, you name it! They come in a range of sizes and can be found on-line or at craft stores that sell products for jewelry-making.

KENRA makes the perfect travel size hairspray.4. Travel-size Hair Spray

The Kenra 1.5 oz travel-size hair spray comes in a medium and firm hold. It’s a high quality hairspray that will hold your style without weighing down your hair. One can contains just the right amount for a week or two, and it’s small enough to get through security as a carry-on.

Pillcases make small, lightweight jewelry holders for traveling.5. Pill Case… for jewelry

If you don’t need much more than a change of earrings and a few necklaces, pack them in a small pill container instead of a bulky, fabric jewelry organizer. For a larger collection, a seven-day minder makes it easy to see everything at a glance, and it fits right in your toiletry bag. Plus, it might just deter someone with sticky fingers. After all, who’s going to think a pill container contains anything other than… well, pills?

Norelco make a great electric travel razor that runs on AA batteries.6. Travel Electric Razor

A travel razor like this Philips Norelco PQ208 is a good investment for men wanting something small and compact in their Dopp kit. It also uses AA batteries, which are found everywhere, unlike electricity.

Various travel size samples7. Samples & Travel Sizes

If you use prescription creams and lotions, ask your doctor or dermatologist for samples. Hoard the little tubes of toothpaste and floss your family gets from the dentist. Take advantage of the complementary lotion and mouthwash from hotels. All of these usually contain enough product for a week, and you can fit far more of them into a quart-sized baggie if you’re not checking luggage.

If you don’t have time to collect your products, companies like Handy Solutions make pre-filled TSA-compliant travel kits for both women

…and men.


8. Hairdryer

Leave it at home. Most places you go will have one.

But if you must, get one like this Conair Hairdryer that has a folding handle.



9. Shampoo/Conditioner

Same as above… most places will have shampoo. Conditioner is a little more hit or miss. If you want it, take it. But be sure it’s in a small container, and only as much as you need for the duration of your trip.

Try decanting into a GoToob by HumanGear, who makes great, squeezable, leak-proof bottles.

Folding travel scissors are very handy to have on the road.10. Folding Scissors

Tiny fold-up scissors like these made by Dritz are so handy to have on vacation. They probably wouldn’t make great nail clippers, but they work for just about everything else… cutting gauze or bandages, trimming hair or hangnails, you name it. The blades are, thankfully, small enough to carry on an airplane.


To see more must-have travel toiletries and gadgets to make packing easier, visit our Travel Store or take a look at our Pinterest page.

Ethics statement: The items on this page are toiletries that we actually own, use and recommend except when otherwise noted.