Traveling with a bag full of toiletries may seem like a necessity, a very heavy one, but there are tricks to packing a toiletry kit that won’t explode at some point on your travels AND will last. Guys have the luxury of being able to use the same shampoo, conditioner, and soap, never brushing their hair (and not looking terrifying or like they just received electro-shock therapy), and only needing deodorant and sunscreen. Ladies have a bit more to pack, so here are some tips to help you condense, so you have more room for souvenirs.
While having mini bottles of everything (no, we aren’t talking about alcohol), may seem like a great way to save space, you can burn through them pretty quickly. Additionally, shower in a rush and don’t screw it shut as tight as possible and the next time you open your toiletry kit it will be greeting you by being covered in some form of soapy goop.
The basics to pack:
- Shampoo and conditioner: pick up a bar shampoo from somewhere like Lush. They work really well, last much longer than mini bottles and come in a variety of scents. Still not sold on how long they last? I backpacked Europe for 3 months, showering daily, and didn’t even finish my bar of Lush dry shampoo. Conditioner bars are a little trickier, so if you have unruly hair, it might be worth it to bring a mini bottle of it. To save space, cut your bar shampoo, conditioner, and soap in half to put in the same soap container.
- Body wash: Once again, opt for a non-liquid version to prevent explosions. Chances are, you wont go through an entire one on your Contiki trip (even if you’re doing 3 in a row), so karate chop it in half and save space in your bag.
- Face wash: We understand needing your products. Just be sure to head to your favorite store (yes, we’re talking about Target) and get some mini bottles to put the necessities in.
- Toothbrush: Leave the Sonicare at home. Opt for a mini travel toothbrush.
- Toothpaste: Travel size toothpaste is the best. If you’re feeling crafty and worried about toothpaste exploding, try your hand at making these handy toothpaste dots.
- Floss: Get a small container. Don’t forget this.
- Razor: If you’re traveling in winter and don’t plan on having anyone touch your legs, you can probably do without. If not, maybe wait to buy one until you’re there and need one, just to save some extra space. You can also use the razor without the handle, to save more space.
- Q-tips & cotton balls: if you need these, be sure to put them in a plastic baggy, to keep them so fresh and so clean!
- Sunscreen: Try out a bar version of sunscreen (it comes in a container like deodorant) to save a possible mess and for super easy application.
- Hairbrush: Buy a mini hair brush, no need to bring your full-size one with you.
Extras & things you might not think of:
- Medication: Any medication you must take or have to take under certain settings. Are you notorious for getting heartburn? Bring a vacation supply of whatever you take. Additionally, if you’re prone to headaches (or hangovers) bring a travel supply of Advil.
- Make-up: Only bring the necessities. Work with what you’ve got! Instead of bringing liquid eyeliner or additional pieces, use mascara and a small angled brush for eyeliner for a night out.
- Hair ties: Don’t forget these! Throw a few in your bag.
- Bug Bite Cream: If you’re going to an area known for having bugs (think Latin America), it’s a good idea and totally worth the space to bring some hydrocortisone or anti-itch cream.
- Feminine Products: If you think that dreaded Aunt Flo will be visiting while you’re traveling, bring a few with you! There’s nothing more terrifying than walking into a mart where no one speaks English and trying to explain what you need through hand motions… trust me.
- Ear plugs: You never know when you’re going to find a sound that you simply can’t deal with (especially if it’s a roommate’s snoring).
What to leave at home:
- Hair dryer
- Hair straightener
- Curling iron
Remember, you’re traveling, not attending an award show. Every minute spent getting ready could be spent exploring the place you’re visiting!