Trying to fit my toiletries into a carry on has been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember, but after approximately 15 trips this past year, I no longer have the patience to wait for checked baggage. Packing carry on luggage is a must for me now! That said, I refuse to give up using my favorite toiletries when I’m on the road so I’ve had to learn some tricks when it comes to fitting them all in…
1. Use leak-proof travel sized toiletries bottles that can *actually* be refilled
Back in the day, I would stuff full sized bottles of my favorite self tanner, sunscreen, conditioner, hair serum etc. into my checked baggage. The first time I ever went to NYC, I brought a humongous 70 lb suitcase! Using travel bottles was out of the question, because they were a pain to fill, they leaked, and you could never clean them out properly. Pre-filled travel sized toiletries are limited to a few brands – sorry, but I will only use my favorite lotion if I want to feel my best while travelling!
I’ve been on the hunt for great travel bottles for a long time, so I was super excited when I discovered the humangear brand at Whole Foods a few months ago. The company is San Francisco based, and they create products optimized based on real user experiences. I picked up some of their GoToobs; they have seriously nailed it with these BPA free, no-leak, dishwasher safe refillable bottles. Made from high quality silicone, they have a wide opening and are super easy to clean and reuse (who wants to refill lotion into a partially empty gunk filled bottle?). I actually reached out to humangear to see if they wanted to work together, because their products changed my entire packing experience.
2. Miniaturize wherever possible
There are always some non-negotiable toiletries (like my favorite mascara) that don’t come in travel size, so I try to miniaturize every other toiletry that I can. Eco-tools makes these amazing mini-brushes pictured below (that are also environmentally friendly!) that save on a ton of space. My favorite Urban Decay eye shadow primer comes in a travel size, and individual shadows are the perfect size for travel. I love marbled powders like the one pictured below by Stila (or this one by Bobbi Brown), because the colors can be used alone or blended as blush, bronzer, and eye shadow. I fill the small GoTubb (second picture below) with my favorite mineral face powder, which saves a ton of space, and I use a miniature Goody hairbrush which makes room for my full sized curling iron.
3. Use a refillable bottle made especially for perfume
I was also that girl who stuffed her humongous bottle of perfume into her cosmetic bag, but I have since discovered little travel bottles like the one below. They are really easy to fill from your bigger bottles by just spritzing in the scent and screwing on the spray nozzle. I’m also a big fan of L’Atelier Cologne in Vanilla which comes in a travel size (as do many mainstream brands), but some of my more “boutique” scents do not.
4. Invest in a collapsible toiletries bag
I love structured boxy cosmetics cases because they look cute and protect your products. But when you are using a carry on and need every ounce of space, collapsible is the way to go. My humangear GoTote is perfect because it’s made of durable fabric and has a light weight frame that snaps open to keep it standing, or closed so it can fold flat into your carry on.
Another Travel Hack: Perssist Virtual Personal Assistant
I’ve been super busy lately with a lot of exciting things going on, so I’ve been neglecting travel plans for an up-coming Euro trip. The first leg is planned thanks to my awesome type-A bf, but I’m joining my girlfriend for a few days alone in Spain afterwards and I’ve been putting off researching flights/hotels for a few months.
This week I was fortunate to be able to collaborate with Perssist, a virtual personal assistance service that does everything from helping you book and research travel, to booking appointments and proofreading documents. They were amazing, and in about 30 minutes I received a comprehensive list of flights and hotels ranked by number of stars and price; among a few other super helpful tasks they performed for me. Their rates are very reasonable and start at $26/month. More details here.
Do you have any tricks for packing toiletries that I am missing out on? How do you deal with packing your products in your carry on?