4 Tips for An Efficient Travel Toiletry Pack


For me the personal-care product packing is the hardest part about travel. I’ve learned (sort of . . . relatively speaking) to keep the clothing part light and versatile. It’s always the products that stump and frustrate me. My packing objectives are advancing. I used to focus solely on volume (cramming as much into the one bag as possible). But honestly, that’s a crappy way to travel. You take one thing out and then you’re playing Tetris for 10 minutes trying to get it back in . . . that’s not a vacation! That’s not relaxing!

My obsession is now distilled down into 4 handy-dandy tips anyone can use for getting their travel-sized bathroom in order.

1. The right containers

I used to be devoted to the GoToob. A great product but far too large for most trips. That’s my beef with the bulk of travel containers. I’m typically going away for 2 – 10 nights. I don’t need 2oz of anything. But, finding tiny travel containers isn’t easy. Sephora used to (haven’t been there in a long time, not sure what they do now) give you samples of anything in the best tiny containers. There’s a couple in the pic above (Face moisturizer and Antiseptic Tea Tree). They’re a strong plastic, easy to clean, refill, and lightweight. I saved every single one. I even asked if I could buy some. Stumped by how that would work, a wonderful sales associate gave me a handful in a a variety of tiny sizes.


In early Jan I scored at CVS. I found a pack meant for travel that didn’t hold the standard four bottles but something like 10 tiny containers including a spray bottle.

Before that I found a trial size travel kit by MyChelle. This thing is awesome! I’m especially thrilled with the teensy weensy cap-sized thing filled with eye cream. It means I can bring eye cream! (ok, forget about section 3, this section and section 4 are really just enablers for that).

2. Be Proactive

Pack now, not when you’re rushed. For a couple years I’ve actually been recording what I travel with as well as what I return with. What did I use? How much of it? Which containers were full, which were empty? Go from there. Yeah, I’m obsessed with this.

Making your pack now means you’ll also benefit from having a grab’n’go for a weekend away or using at the gym.

To help remind yourself what’s in each of those tiny containers. Use a label maker to mark them, and take a pic of which products are in which, it’s simple see . . .


Print the pic, stick it in with your pack or in whatever suitcase you tend to use most. If you’re digitally organized, just save it there.


3. Eliminate the “what ifs”

It helps to think about stuff that’s easy to buy anywhere, just incase you get into a jam, you won’t feel so pickled. An example of this might be sunblock. If you aren’t picky about brand, and you’re not sure how much time you’ll be spending in the sun on your trip. Just buy it at your destination. Sometimes I’m chemical obsessed and I don’t want to buy drugstore junk. Then I remind myself it’s just for a week, and the world is full of toxins! Ha! It’s like fighting fire with fire, I guess. Another great thing about sunblock is it’s a product most people at the beach have, and unlike chapstick, it’s not gross to ask to borrow.

Additionally, if you aren’t picky about shampoo, don’t bring it. Use the hotel’s or your Dr. Bronner’s (section 4.)

I used to pack a ton of what ifs! Bandaids (for what?), Mole skin for blisters, sewing kit . . . ok, none of these are liquids. Well, perhaps I’m masking my “what if” thoughts with the use of . . .(next section) Multi Taskers!!! Yay.

4. Multi Taskers

  • Jojoba Oil — Moisturizer (even great on sensitive facial skin and doesn’t cause blemishes). Soothes inflammation from sunburned skin.
  • Tea Tre Oil — I’ve packed the ointment kind. Like the toothpaste, this is also a nice blemish soother. Additionally it soothes startled cells after too much sun exposure and can help heal bug bites and blisters.
  • Toothpaste — Pack the paste kind, not the gel. Dab it on a blemish before bed. It shrinks those zits fast! (I always get a zit when I travel)
  • Dr. Bronner’s Soap — This product has long boasted 18+ uses. The balance to strike here is comfort level.  I love Dr. Bronner’s for sink washing my travel laundry as well as a body wash in the shower.  I’ve also used it to clean the water glasses in the hotel room (if they smell funny). And, if you’re super brave and not travel-zit prone, use it to replace the toothpaste.
  • Too Faced Beauty BalmSPF/Moisturizer and coverup all in one . This stuff is a dream cream, and it goes a long way.

And there you have it. Hope it helps!

Full list of What’s & Whys, liquids in my pack:

  1. John Master’s Sea Mist spray — adds texture, volume, shine and manageability  Smells nice, yet very subtle
  2. Shikai Color Reflect Shampoo & Conditioner — my hair doesn’t seem to tire of this one easily, making it a reliable choice for travel
  3. Dr. Bronner’s pure-castille soap — for cleaning clothes, dishes, hair and your skin
  4. Jojoba oil — Make up remover, cleansing properties, healing, moisturizing, smells wonderful!
  5. Tea Trea ointment — for an antiseptic, great sunburn relief
  6. Kiss My Face toothpaste — Clean teeth, zap zits!
  7. Aveda Hydrating Masque — Air travel, sun exposure and drinking all deplete moisture. This hydrating mask is the best! Your look will bounce back in 10 minutes.
  8. Cleansers and moisturizers — Pricey (but fun) Travel/Trial pack from MyChelle. My skin looked great! Really nice stuff.
  9. Room. Yup, space for more stuff in my 1 quart, see through, zip-close bag. No tetris, and I can still add a lip gloss, mascara and maybe a small sunblock if I choose.

5 thoughts on “4 Tips for An Efficient Travel Toiletry Pack

  1. Re: haircare stuff. Whenever I read reviews I always want to know what the reviewer’s hair is like. I forgot to add that bit above . . . My hair is super fine, thin and straight. It’s a medium brown color with highlights and lowlights. I look for travel products that get it looking as lively as possible, without having to depend on a hairdryer. Thus the henna shampoo which illuminates the colors adding more visual depth and moisturizes for movement and life!


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