Most people would agree that packing a toiletry bag can be one of the biggest headaches when it comes to travel. Toiletries and bathroom essentials are one of those things that you need while traveling but they can be burdensome when you’re trying to pack light and get through security efficiently. I know that the security checkpoint can be a stressful time for many people and the fear of having your liquids confiscated while trying to pack enough product for an extended vacation isn’t easy. If you can master a couple of my tricks below you’ll not only fly through security with everything you need but also ensure that nothing explodes along the way.

1. Get a Toiletry Bag

Start with the right toiletries bag. There are all sorts of toiletry bags out there, you’ll want to find one that has lots of compartments and comes with mesh so that you can easily see what you have.  I’m a big fan of toiletry bags that come with a hanging system like this so that you can hang your bag on a towel rack keeping your bathroom counters clutter-free.  Please keep in mind that any of the liquids you plan on carrying on the plane have to be properly bagged in a quart-sized bag according to the TSA regulations. If you don’t want to worry about running into any security hassles what you need is this TSA approved clear toiletry bag! It fits all TSA standards – under quart size and see-through design. You can pack 8 to 10 (3 oz) bottles of toiletries inside.. Plus, this transparent toiletry bag is sturdy and durable.

2. Refill and Reuse your bottles

I’m a huge fan of refilling and reusing bottles for travel. There’s no need to purchase those travel-specific shampoos and lotions when you can get yourself reusable leak-proof silicone bottles. I know those travel-specific toiletry sections at the drug store can be appealing but it’s really best to use the shampoo you have at home to fill those bottles.   Another good toiletry hack is to use medicine bottles for your lotions or shampoos, they’re leak-proof and I use them all the time.  Let’s not stop at reusing bottles you could even fill an old contact lens case with dabs of makeup or eye cream.

3. Travel-size electric toothbrush

If you’re anything like us you’ve become accustomed to your electric toothbrush.  And every time we travel without one it just doesn’t feel right.   This electric toothbrush is really compact at only 6 inches and stores easily in its own case.  Runs off a single battery so no charging base is needed.

4. Tooth Floss

Speaking of those pearly whites keep them healthy and flossed while traveling by using something like this. This floss card is very convenient and comes in packaging as thin as a credit card (so pack as many as you’d like)!

5. Mouthwash

While we’re on the topic of caring for your teeth if you’re a habitual user of mouthwash get some of these Listerine chewable mouthwash tablets! Using these makes for one less liquid to pack in your toiletry bag. 

6. Choose multi-purpose products

Finding multi-purpose products while you’re traveling is the best space-saving trick around. Think of using a multi-use product like this highlighter by Nars that adds a pop of color for both your lips and your cheeks. You can consider using argan oil as a skin moisturizer and hair conditioner. If you can find a good quality all in one shampoo and conditioner to eliminate the need for bringing a conditioner you can save a ton of space in your toiletry bag. If you do need to bring conditioner it can easily double as a shaving cream too. I’m a huge fan of bringing along coconut oil while I’m traveling. Coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer, makeup remover, and can help with various skin conditions such as eczema. Additionally, if you’re really pinched for space a mini bottle of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap can be used as a body wash, face wash, shampoo, bath soak, deodorant, and even as toothpaste in a pinch.

7. Leave the Liquids at home

Sometimes no matter how much you prepare your toiletry bag for travel you’ll still run into security issues if you overpack too many liquids. To avoid the dreaded quart-sized bag issue try and leave unnecessary liquids at home.  There are lots of products you can buy that come in bars. This bar shampoo is a perfect example of a product you can use as a shampoo and body soap eliminating the need for bringing both. You can also get these toothpaste tabs that will allow you to leave toothpaste containers at home. If you do decide to bring these tabs I recommend putting them into a small-sized plastic bag so you aren’t taking up space in your bag with the container. My absolute favorite packing hack and a good way to save money when you’re traveling is to purchase sunscreen in the stick form.  It’s kind of like a stick of deodorant and actually works quite well.  We all know that paying for sunblock in a resort area can be expensive and if you bring a bottle you’ll have to check a bag due to liquid restrictions.  This Neutrogena sunscreen stick is ideal for those who want to lessen the liquids they’re carrying during travel. It’s portable but still as effective as lotion or spray types of sunscreen!

8. Collect product samples

I’m a huge fan of collecting product samples for travel. If I get a sample freebie from Sephora or a small package of moisturizer from the beauty counter I make sure to slip them into my toiletry bag to use while I’m away.  By reducing the volume of products while traveling you’ll be sure to glide through security with ease. 

9. Deodorant Wipes

Putting a couple of these deodorant wipes in your purse is a great way to freshen up mid-day or they can even be used as an alternative to traditional deodorant sticks (they’re lighter too). Throw in a few of these deodorant wipe packets in your toiletry bag and you’re good to go.

10. Travel Size Facial Cleaning Wipes

If you’re getting close to exceeding your TSA liquid limits and don’t have space for your liquid facial cleaner pack something like these facial wipes into your bag. These travel size facial wipes allow you to remove makeup at the end of the day, and they’re even great for a midday refresher.

11. Dry Shampoo

When you’re traveling nobody wants to spend time washing, and drying their hair when they could be seeing the sights. To save yourself time and keep your hair looking fresh and clean consider bringing a dry shampoo in your toiletry bag.

12. Pack in Advance

Don’t wait till last minute to pack that toiletry bag. With so many things to remember, it can be easy to forget a much-needed product. The only way you’re going to have a perfectly-packed toiletry bag is to give yourself time to get organized. Spend time packing your kit, and choosing the right products. Or even better I recommend creating yourself a list that you leave in the bathroom drawer that has everything you need written down to help you easily and effectively pack your toiletry bag in a moments notice.

How To pack Your toiletry bag for travel

Now it’s time to start packing that bag! Of course, you can just dump everything in one pouch… If you don’t mind the clutter and disorganized mess. But if you want to be a pro at packing your toiletry bag do yourself a favor and follow the steps below!
  1. Be aware that The TSA Liquids Rule applies to all carry on bags only. Your liquids should be packed in containers under 3.4 ounces and must fit in a 1-quart size clear bag. If you want to know more about the TSA Liquids Rule check out this link to the TSA website
  2. Use 2 toiletry bags – Pack all your liquids in a TSA approved clear toiletry bag. This bag can easily go in your carry on or even your personal bag! Be sure to pack all non-liquids in a separate toiletry bag that can remain in your bag during security. Doing this makes it super easy to grab the liquids bag during TSA security!