Liquid products don’t always have to travel in your checked bag. However, if you want to take some of them in your carry-on, you will have to follow the “3-1-1 rule”. Let me tell you more about it and give you some other tips when it comes to packing your toiletries.
The links present in this article are not affiliate, they are only here to illustrate my thoughts.
I believe packing toiletries can be split into two topics: the ones you are going to keep in your carry-on bag, and the ones you put in your checked luggage. Main difference? The container size for your liquids. Let’s first focus on your carry-on.
Toiletries in your carry-on:
TSA 3-1-1 rule
You are allowed to travel with liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in containers of 3.4oz (100ml) or less per item. There is no restriction on the number of liquid items you can take as long as they all fits in a single quart-sized clear bag. One quart-size bag is allowed per passenger. So, next time you pack your toiletries, remember this simple 3-1-1 rule : 3 ounces – 1 quarter-size clear bag – 1 bag per person
The Right Containers
Pump bottle, screw top case, atomizer, snap cap bottle… 30, 50, 80 mL… There are so many different types and size of toiletries containers out there that you’ll definitely find the right container for you.
The cheapest option is probably to buy one of these kits coming with empty containers and a clear bag, so you just have to fill the bottles with your favorite products. My favorites are foldable bottles as they barely take up any space in your bag once they are empty. The problem is that I had quite a hard time finding a store that sells them—ended up finding some at Flying Tiger and Søstrene Grene, which I’m talking about in my previous article.
You can also buy the products directly in travel size but not all products are available, and it usually turns out to be more expensive.
Packing hack: use contacts cases to carry small amounts of cream, lotion, foundation etc. It’s secure and contains quite a lot actually.
Keep it handy
You have to remove all liquids from your bags before entering security so keep your toiletry bag at an easy to access place so you won’t have to go through all your stuff to find it. I usually keep mine in my handbag.
Swap liquids for solids
Not every liquid product can be substitute by a solid one, but body wash, shampoo and conditioner can be easily replaced by solid bars. Lush is probably the most famous store out there for that type of products—I haven’t tried their products yet as I used to make my own soap and I haven’t been brave enough to try dry shampoo yet, but I will try some solid products later this fall when I go to Cuba, I’ll make sure to write a review then.
Deodorant is another item that can be swiped easily to a solid stick. Lotions and perfumes can also be found in bars too.
Remember to pack light !
You really don’t need to pack your entire medicine cabinet. I know it’s easy to say “but what if I need it?” but I assure you, you are going to be okay. Unless you are going to a very remote area, you’ll most likely be able to find the one thing you forgot in a convenience store nearby. When I headed to Croatia last month, my backpack was full so I couldn’t bring shampoo but I was able to buy some right when I got there.
If you still need more…
Even with a few toiletries in your carry-on, you might still need to bring full-size items on a trip. Just remember to put them in your checked bag. Be careful while packing as finding that your shampoo ruined your clothes is never a good surprise.
Packing hack: just unscrew the lid, put some plastic wrap over the opening then screw the lid back on ! Secure the lid with tape and you are good to go. Pump bottles are a little bit more annoying, but if you have a hair-tie, you can wrapped it around the pipe and it should be secure. Keep all liquids in a Ziploc in case the bottle breaks during your travels.
I created a packing list that is quite expensive I believe, I did leave some empty spaces for you to add extra items if needed ! Download it here.
What is the one beauty item you cannot travel without ? Any recommendation when it comes to solid toiletries ?
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