One of my biggest travel tips is to have a well packed toiletry bag. When I used to be a sales rep and traveled every other week, I perfected my bag. It allowed me to be able to just grab it, toss it in my suitcase, and never had to question what was in it. If you don’t travel that much, that may not be smart since things do expire. But, you can definitely reference this list and make sure you’re properly stocked and prepared for anything and everything while traveling.
A toiletry bag should not just be stocked with the everyday items that you need to get ready in the morning and nighttime routine. But it should also be a great resource for any sort of emergency that may come about while traveling. You can use today’s post as a great packing list guide when filling up your toiletry bag with all of the things.
What To Keep In Your Toiletry Bag
There are definitely categories for a toiletry bag that you want to be sure to check off. And also other types of bags to include like your makeup bag. But let’s start with the essentials to pack so you can at least get yourself put together when traveling.
The Essential Toiletries List
I like to do my morning and nighttime routine the day before a trip and ensure all the things I’m using are IN THIS BAG. This is a great tip if you don’t stock your bag perpetually like I do and only pack it when you travel. It’s an extra step to ensure you don’t forget a thing.
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Body wash
- Razor/Shaving Cream (I use baby oil since it also hydrates reducing my need for more moisturizer)
I like to do my morning and nighttime routine and make sure those products are IN my toiletry bag. I like these small containers to store my skincare routine in too for preserving valuable space. Plus they don’t leak!
- Face Wash
- Any serums, toners or anti-aging products you use
- Body Moisturizer
- Chapstick or Vaseline
- Q-tips and cotton balls
- Any drugs you’ll need daily
Non-Essentials But Still ESSENTIAL
These may not be things you use all the time, but these are things I still like to always have in my toiletry bag. They’ve proven to be worth the space (and honestly don’t take up THAT much space). I’ve been so thankful I’ve had these items even if they don’t get used every single trip. It’s those times you say “damn I wish I had XYZ” that you learn to just pack it just in case. Basically, everything you see below was from a bad experience where I made a note to include it in my bag the second I get home. Same with the medicine….
- SPF – my daily moisturizer has SPF but I always keep a small regular sunscreen in my bag
- Bandaids – Thank me later! Blisters are inevitable on trips it seems like
- Rollerball Perfume – I always pack rollerball perfumes. It’s a fun way to try new scents without spending a ton of money.
- Nail Polish Remover Wipes – Great if you paint your own nails. I’ve had to take polish off half way through a trip because it looked so awful. I also always travel with a mini nail polish since I love to paint my own nails. This is not an essential though, ha!
- Nail File and Nail Clippers – my biggest pet peeve is a nail that needs to be filed!
- Mosquito Repellant Wipes
- More Medicine! – More on what I pack below.
Favorite Medicine To Have On Hand
Medicine is one of those things you hope you never have to use on a trip. But it’s that moment you realize oh shit, I’m going to be ill, that you’ll be happy you packed it. Here’s what I always have in case of an emergency. And I have used almost every single one either myself or a friend while traveling. This is especially helpful when traveling abroad as visiting a pharmacy can be very difficult.
PS I keep my most used items (like Pepto, Advil, Claritin) in this container in my personal bag or purse at all times. It’s the perfect pill container!
- Anti-histamine – I bring both the pill and the cream since I blow up from bites
- Dramamine/Sea Bands
- Tylenol Cold
- Advil or Tylenol (your preferred pain reliever)
- Alka Seltzer (my go-to hangover cure)
- Gatorade Packets/Pedialyte Packets – more great hangover cures and also just ideal for how dehydrated you can easily get while traveling. Makes it easy to turn your bottled water into something more powerful!
- Sleeping Pills – great for long haul flights or fighting jet lag
- Antibiotic – This isn’t ideal, but this is for a MAJOR emergency. It could mean the difference between getting terribly sick and ruining your entire vacation, to instead, being able to keep the illness at bay until you get home to see a real doctor. I’m not here to encourage self-diagnosis but I’ve personally witnessed friends come down with terrible colds, used their old anti-biotic, and were able to enjoy their vacation without being stuck in bed the entire time.
Your makeup bag is a no brainer. I won’t go into detail on the makeup I pack as it’s always dependent on the season and what I’m up to. However, I typically keep it to the essentials. No need to go crazy with a million things. I do, however, have to share a couple of tips in the makeup department as these 2 items live in my toiletry bag!
- Makeup Remover Wipes
- Makeup Remover – I still like a little liquid makeup remover with a Q-tip or cotton ball to get off eye makeup after a shower
TIP: No need to waste your money and packaging on travel makeup wipes. Just pull out a few from your favorite brand (I use these) and place them in a Ziploc bag (or I love Stasher bags to reuse). It reduces waste and is so much more affordable. Plus you can pack more with less bulk!
How To Pack A Toiletry Bag
Packing a toiletry bag seems like a science to me. I’ve mastered it. I can get SO very much into mine and I am rarely finding myself on a trip saying “oh I need XYZ or I totally forget this one thing”. It took time for sure, but my toiletry bag is now packed perfectly. I did the hard work people, just copy today’s list!
For most international travel, you’ll also want to be well prepared for the quart size bag rule if you’re doing carry on luggage. While going through security, you will need to have all your liquids and gels in a quart size bag. No more, no less. I always plan this ahead of time and keep it ready to go.
TIP: Take the lids off of your toiletries when you need to go through security with your quart-size plastic bag. It’ll save tons of space and allow you to get more product in there. Leave the lids on until you’re heading through security so nothing spills, but preplan that bag!
Start With A Great Toiletry Bag
There are a few toiletry bags I love to use. My Barrington Gifts bag is the one I use the most. It’s very big, but in a pinch, it can also fit my makeup if I’m being minimal with it. I also really like this Vera Bradley one that I have used in the past and it’s a bit more affordable. I also use this bag for my makeup. You can also check out this post on my favorite travel bags!
Choose The Best Containers That Are TSA Approved & Sensible
I like to put my everyday skincare items in these nice little tubs from The Container Store. It’s the ideal size and allows you to save quite a bit of space. No one needs their full size moisturizer for 4 days even if it’s under 3.4 oz. Put a few pumps in the tub, and toss it in! I do this with serums, night creams and the like.
TSA Approved Containers
I like these 1 oz TSA approved containers as they’re great for face wash and moisturizers. For larger TSA approved containers for shampoo and conditioners, I also like these travel containers that fit the 3.4 oz regulation.
For more travel tips, check out this page!
Photos by Hannah Lozano