It is easy to overpack toiletries when travelling. One thing I have heard from friends is: “My make-up bag is as big as your carry-on!” Or “My wife’s make up bag is as big as your carry-on – can you teach her to pack?”
The photo below shows the great toiletry bags that my husband and I share when we travel. The two bags zip together (if desired) — one holds liquids that you need to separate for your airport security adventures and the other holds non-liquids. The photo shows some of the items that may go into these bags, depending on the trip.
The usual list is:
– Vitamins. I count them out and put them in a ziploc. For humid climates, add a little packet of dessicant that you have saved from the vitamin bottle.
– A small bottle of ibuprofen (yes, it says Excedrin, but it is really generic ibuprofen).
– A twisty clothes line (from Rick Steves).
– A rubber jar opener thing that can be used in sinks without a plug in order to do your hand laundry.
– Nailfile. Add nail clippers for longer trips.
– Deodorant. We pack a travel-sized, neutral-scented one that we share.
– Dental floss.
– Hand sanitizer.
– Tiny bottle of cleanser.
– Tiny bottle of face lotion.
– A few Bandaids.
– Some Q-tips.
– Razors (his and hers!).
– A tiny aerosol of shaving cream.
– Hotel-size shampoo and conditioner (only if you are going somewhere where this might not be provided).
– Bottle opener. This is not technically a toiletry, but it sure is handy when you really really need a cold beer in your hotel room.
– Eye liner pencil.
– A tiny container of mineral make-up powder.
– A tiny make up brush.
– Pony tail holders and hair clips.
– Small container of hair oil or leave-in conditioner.
– A small ziploc of assorted feminine protection items, in case you need these at a time when you are not close to a store.
– A small bottle of bug repellent (depending on where you are going). I like those bug-repellent wipes, too, but they seem kind of wasteful. If you are out of room in your liquid bag, though, go for them!
– Cologne, if there is room left in the liquid bag.
– A washcloth in a ziploc (so you can pack it up when it is wet). I need one to wash my face and many places outside the US don’t provide them.
Yes, all of this WILL fit into the two bags pictured, except the washcloth, feminine protection items, and hair clips. The key is tiny containers. Our longest trip so far has been a month. The only item we needed to up-size was toothpaste. The rest of the stuff lasted just fine. And it is not the end of the world if you run out of deodorant or dental floss and have to buy some. You’d have to buy it if you ran out of it at home anyway.
Travel light, travel often. And fellow females (is that an oxymoron?), no one will notice or care if you are not wearing your usual make-up, if you haven’t used your regular shampoo and scented body wash or if your hair is in a headband or ponytail instead of an elaborate blow-dryer-curling-iron-flat-iron coiffure. Your happy, smiling person will carry the show when you are travelling light and having fun.