I love going on vacation, but I don’t love packing and unpacking. Packing for a family can be stressful. Between the airline baggage fees and the complexities of traveling with strollers and kids, you won’t want to bring anything more than what you absolutely need.
But, you also want to make sure that you don’t forget anything, especially if you are traveling to a remote area or another country where it may be difficult to find replacements. Packing toiletries can be especially annoying because of the TSA liquid restrictions. Are you planning a vacation? Here are our toiletries packing list and tips.
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Toiletries Packing List and Tips
What Can You Bring On Board a Flight?
TSA rules can always change, so be sure that you check the latest before packing. You’ll definitely want to know the rules before you go. As of now, you are allowed to bring 3.4-ounce containers of liquids, gels, creams, pastes, and sprays, in a one-quart-sized bag through the security checkpoint (in your carry-on bag).
If you have more of these items (or larger containers), you can put them in your checked bag. Even if you are checking bags, you’ll probably want to have at least some liquids/pastes/creams/etc in your carry-on for use during your travels or immediately upon arrival. You may want sunscreen (if you don’t have immediate access to your bags), hand sanitizer, toothpaste, and moisturizer, for instance.
How to Transport Your Toiletries
I separate and pack my toiletries in a few different ways. Most of them go in a hanging toiletries bag that I always keep packed. I find it easier to have a complete set of things ready to go, that way, I don’t have to pack my toiletries every time I go away.
This, however, is something put in my checked bag if I am flying to my destination. If I’m not checking bags, I don’t bring this because there are too many liquids and it does not comply with the TSA policy.
As I’m packing for my trip, I go through the toiletries bag. I make sure I have everything that I need, check expiration dates, and see how much product is left in each container. If I need to purchase anything new, I make sure that I plan a shopping trip before I go. Because the hanging toiletries bag is pretty big, I also use it to hold my makeup, deodorant, comb, and anything else that fits.
Once I arrive at my destination, it’s easy to just hang this toiletry bag up on a towel hook in the hotel’s bathroom. That way, I don’t have to pack or unpack each individual item. It makes things easier when it’s time for me to leave, and it keeps the sink area of the hotel neater. When I’m ready to go, I just close it up and tuck it back in my checked baggage.
I also have a quart-sized travel bag that I use for my carry-on. In that bag, I carry the toiletries that I want to have with me. I also bring hand sanitizer, a small container of hand moisturizer, and a travel-sized container of sunscreen. This is especially important when I’m going right to a warm destination. That way, I can put sunscreen on right away without packing my bag.
If I’m not checking bags, then I have to be creative with that small bag. In that case, I make sure that my makeup products (like my foundation) aren’t liquid, so they don’t need to go in the bag. I’ll also bring makeup wipes rather than a liquid face wash. In cases when I’m only packing a carry-on but want more toiletries, I’ll try to stop at a store at my destination to purchase what I need.
While they are expensive, I really love Cadence capsules, which are refillable. I keep some packed at all times. These are, in my opinion, the best for frequent travelers. While they are expensive, they are made to last. They do comply with TSA rules for liquids, as long as you pack them in a quart-sized clear bag.
Depending on my destination and length of stay, I also bring along some full-sized products if I’m checking a bag. For instance, for a beach vacation, I always bring loads of sunscreen. Because these products can possibly leak in your suitcase, it’s a good idea to pack them in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag, or another suitable container that can contain any potential leak.
It’s always convenient to have extra bags anyway because they can be used to pack wet clothes if you visit the pool or beach right before returning home. I also like the zippered pouches from Aloha, which are reusable. I typically pack all of my sunscreens in them.
I don’t generally recommend purchasing a pre-filled toiletries kit, because you’ll want to have the products you enjoy using at home. Those kits may have other brands in them – ones you don’t love or aren’t familiar with. There are some kits with empty containers that could be a good option.
Toiletries packing list
Wondering what travel toiletries to pack in your suitcase? Here’s a toiletries packing list that is a good place to start. Keep in mind that you may need some other things.
- Travel toothpaste
- Contact solution
- Contact case
- Face wash (I like these wipes which are easy to pack)
- Travel sunscreen (Pack larger ones in your checked bag)
- Dental floss
- Conditioner (most hotels will have shampoo/conditioner, but I bring my own conditioner if I’m not 100% sure)
- Shower cap
- Hair products
- First aid products, like hydrocortisone or antibiotic gel
- Makeup remover
What’s on your toiletries packing list?
More Packing Tips Resources: Looking for more packing tips and recommendations? Here are all of our posts including packing lists, product recommendations, and ideas for specific trips.