Travelling With Toiletries: A Quick Guide To Packing Smart

When it comes to creature comforts, I would list toiletries as essential companions wherever I go. It’s not just women travellers who love their pampering – there are men I know who won’t go anywhere without packing their favourite colognes or shaving cream.

While I usually leave the shampoo, conditioner and body soap at home, when it comes to everything else I put on my face and body there are things I can’t or maybe won’t (if I admit it to myself) leave behind. Sadly we haven’t yet advanced to a stage where instead of liquids, everything can be reduced to capsules or powders so there’s that tricky thing called airport baggage restrictions. Staying moisturised and smelling good can be a stress-free affair so long as you keep a few things in mind.

1. Bag’ em and make it just one bag

You might want to bring your entire range of skincare onboard your flight, but resign yourself to packing it neatly in your checked luggage or paring it down to essentials. Airlines are pretty strict about you keeping all your liquids in just one litre (one quart in the US) bag. No packing one bag for your skincare, another bag for your shampoos, it is just one bag for all your liquids. Another note – make sure each bottle is clearly marked 100ml or less. If for instance you bring on a half-full 200ml bottle, you will still not be allowed to bring it onboard as it will be hard for baggage inspectors to properly verify the volume of the contents. Stick to the small bottles.

2. Bring your own transparent bag

While those ziplock bags are cheap and handy, they won’t be as durable as proper see-through bags. Cabin pressure might cause leaking, perhaps a stray pen causes a puncture or the combined weight of your toiletries make the bag fall apart. Invest in a sturdier holdall, preferably one with a zipper and no openings for liquids to spill out.

3. Consider substituting liquids

If you like smelling good, swap out your spray and liquid deodorants for powder or stick form deodorant instead. Less hassle and mess.

Consider powder foundation instead of liquid and smaller, more compact creams rather than bigger, sloshier liquids. The good news is that aerosols at least are usually all right in small quantities so don’t worry about your hair spray, it’s fine.

4. Airport travel kits are your best friends

Lost your luggage? Need to feel human in a hurry after a 24-hour-flight? Fortunately most airports, especially the duty-free shopping sections have plenty of little travel kits that are handily packed into travel-ready transparent bags. While these will be your little life-savers at bigger airports, if you’re travelling to smaller, more out of the way places, your shopping options might be limited so long as you remember…

5. Don’t leave home without wet wipes

If all else fails – your toiletries get mislaid, taken away or spill to point they have to get binned, wet wipes are super useful. They can remove makeup, help you freshen up after long flights, and clean up unfortunate messes. Consider buying the small tissue-packet sized ones as they’re easier to carry and you can stuff quite a few in your carry-on luggage without hurting your baggage limit. But if all else fails and you need to buy replacement toiletries upon arrival, console yourself by considering them little souvenirs of your journey. It’s all about how you look at things, so make a point to enjoy your trip anyway!

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An East Malaysian native who now calls Petaling Jaya home, when not writing Erna is eating, harassing her dog and cat or Tweeting. Mostly eating.