If you’re reading this, chances are that you haven’t got the slightest idea when it comes to packing toiletries. You might have come across literally hundreds of different websites with hundreds of different tips, tricks, and printable checklists.
Even though you can find everything and anything on the internet nowadays, the trouble is that it’s usually everywhere. Compiling all those bits and pieces of information will, without a doubt, lead to confusion, forgetfulness and utter chaos. Especially if you’re as much of a scatterbrain as I am.
The problem with printable lists is that you’re never, ever going to print them out. And the problem with most advice on packing is that it’s scarce and worn-out.
That’s why I made it my duty and obligation to provide my fellow travelers with the ultimate guide to packing toiletries. It’s the best ever, most comprehensive, general-purpose packing list you’ll ever get your hands on.
Modesty has never been a strength of mine, I must admit, but writing packing guides certainly is. You’ll see why in a minute.
Before we begin, I’d just like to highlight a few things about this toiletry packing masterpiece:
- You can use it as a packing guide for all kinds of trips – beach holidays, weekend getaways, business trips, winter breaks, ski trips – you name it.
- The products and their quantities listed should last you a good ten days. Customize the amount of products according to the duration of your trip.
- You should be able to fit all of your toiletries in a standard 22x24x9 inch carry-on.
- You’ll find a few pro tips scattered around that can help you tweak the list a bit to fit a more specific
Chapter one: Prep Work
Not that many good things have happened in this world without a certain amount of prep work involved, and the same can also be said about packing. Especially packing toiletries.
The prep work begins as soon as you book your trip. Make sure you’ve got everything analyzed to the last detail – what kind of weather are your expecting, how humid is there, how long are you staying, will you be changing flights and other modes of transportation, etc.
Why does all of this matter for packing toiletries, you might wonder? It matters because the way you’ll travel will determine how much and what kind of products to bring with you. A five-day business trip filled with conferences, panels, and formal dinners requires more heavy artillery than a month of backpacking through Europe.
Make sure you know where you’re going and what you’ll be doing to ensure you don’t forget anything vital, like mascara. Or, you know, a bar of soap.
Once you’ve gotten the content of your trip all settled, it’s time for – you’ve guessed it – more prep work. This time, it’s in the form of packing supplies.
This is one of those times not to be cheap and invest in a set of travel sized clear bottles. Get the 3.4oz (or 100ml) ones so you can pack them in your carry-on, and as much of them as you can. You’ll be filling them with every product you use, so it’s good to have a couple of them on the side just in case.
You should also get a pair of cases for contacts, even if you don’t wear them. They’re perfect for small amounts of products such as vaseline, coconut oil, face serums, and anti-wrinkle creams.
If you’re a frequent traveler, and your trips feature at least one formal occasion or a party, it’s good to have some hair styling tools on hand. Even the most run-down motel comes with a hairdryer, but those are pretty weak and won’t do your hair any favors. That’s where a foldable hair styler comes in. It takes up less space than a travel-sized hairdryer and can be used both for curling and straightening. It basically looks like a styling brush, except that it heats up and can rotate.
The final step in the prep work for toiletry packing is gathering your toiletry, makeup and zip lock bags.
Chapter two: Makeup
If you’re one of those girls that can go for days without using any makeup, I suggest you skip this and continue to the next chapter, because we’re going to get pretty deep into this.
Whether you’re big on makeup or not, I suggest you pack these few essential pieces you can always look your best.
Pro tip: Put all of your makeup in a small purse you can carry around with you. It’s really useful to have an emergency makeup fixing kit when you’re always on the go. You can do a few touch-ups during the day so you won’t have to wash your smudged mascara off in tiny café bathrooms like I did.
- Eyebrow pencil or fixing gel
- A small, two-way powder brush
- Dual eyeshadow with applicator
Pro tip: Get your favorite perfume in small tester bottles so you can carry it in your makeup bag.
Chapter three: Hair
Taking care of your hair while on the road is not an easy task, because you’ll almost certainly experience increased greasiness, dandruff, and frizziness, among other things.
There’s also one of the less fun things about travel – smog. It gets in your hair in seconds and leaves you feeling dirty and downright disgusting even if you’re fresh out the shower.
But don’t let this scare you – there’s a solution to all of these problems. Make sure you’ve got everything from this list packed, and both you and your hair are set for everything the world might throw at you for about ten days.
Hair care essentials
- Moisturizing spray or oil for treating split ends
- Foldable hair styler with a heat mat
- Hair ties
- Bobby pins
- A small hair doughnut
- Hair perfume
- A foldable detangling brush
Pro tip: Get a bottle of hair perfume and keep it in your makeup bag along with a detangling brush and hair ties. That way, your hair will always be looking neat and smelling great.
Chapter four: Face
If you’re convinced that your perfect skin and glowing complexion will make it through a week-long city break, I’m afraid you’re deadly mistaken.
Your skin loves a good, old routine and can only flourish if the care it receives is consistent. That is not the case with traveling. The change in air quality, the time you spend outdoors, the chemicals in the water, the public transportation – those are all the things that your skin has to deal with while you’re vacationing.
That’s why it’s crucial you take good care of it, and a tiny bar of hotel soap just isn’t going to do the trick. Make sure you have all of these items in your toiletry bag to keep a glowing complexion on all of your holiday photos.
- Makeup remover or cleansing wipes
- Face wash
- Micellar water or a cleansing tonic
- Moisturizing night cream
- Zinc oxide cream or any other pimple cream
- Day cream that doubles as a makeup primer
Pro tip: Don’t even think of leaving without a pimple cream. Fill one side of the contact lens case you’ve bought with it and apply it before you go to sleep.
Side note: Don’t forget to put all of these products in small, travel-sized containers – even the face creams.
Chapter Five: Body care
Even though most of it will be covered by clothes, you shouldn’t forget to take care of your body while you’re on vacation.
I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve gone through the day feeling nervous and uncomfortable because my skin was dry and itchy. All because I refused to pack any body lotion and used that ridiculous little shower gel you get at hotels. I also had to wear cargo pants instead of a cute dress to a fancy dinner in Paris because I didn’t think I’d need a razor.
Don’t you ever be the kind of girl that wears cargo pants to dinner and please make sure you’ve checked all of these items off the list.
Body care basics
- Shower gel
- Hydrating body lotion
- A peeling glove
- Disposable razors
- Shaving cream
Side note: A shaving cream is the only thing you should buy travel-sized. Get a men’s shaving cream for sensitive skin to avoid any irritation.
Pro tip: Put a bit of vaseline in the contact lens case next to the pimple cream. Use it for dry heels, cracked lips, and rough elbow skin. You can also apply a small amount of it on the inside of your nose if your mucous membrane gets irritated from cold air (didn’t think of that, did you?).
Chapter six: Prescriptions
It goes without saying that packing prescription drugs should be the first thing on your list. That includes birth control, allergy medication, asthma medication and inhalers, dermatitis creams, etc.
Keep all of your prescriptions in one bag and put in your carry-on. You don’t want to be left without potentially life-saving drugs if your suitcase gets lost.
Once you’ve got all of that settled, it’s time to get first aid and these few miscellaneous items covered, too.
- Feminine hygiene products (bring a few thin day pads and tampons even if you’re not on your period, just in case)
- Mild painkillers (aspirin, or even better – ibuprofen. You can also take it if you’ve got a fever)
- Gas relief tablets
- Mild laxative
- Anti-diarrheal medicine
- Antibacterial spray
- Waterproof Band-Aids or moleskin
- Aloe or panthenol
- Blister pads
- Sun protection
Chapter seven: Nails
Women often tend to overlook nail care when they travel. It might seem like the most unnecessary thing when you’re packing, but you’ll be crying for a nail file the second you chip your nail.
Get a small ziplock bag and make sure you’ve got everything from this list on it:
- Nail clippers
- Nail file with a soft and a hard side
- Cuticle scissors
- Clear nail polish
- Cuticle oil
Whew, now that’s what I call comprehensive, don’t you agree?
As much of a tough read as this was, this list has everything a girl could possibly need when she goes traveling. And the best thing is – you don’t have to print it out. Just stop by Bon Voyage Bombshells anytime you’re about to hit the road, and it’ll be right here waiting for you.