If I can make sure you learn anything from my travel experiences, it’s to have a well-packed toiletry bag. When I used to be a sales rep and traveled every other week, I perfected my toiletry 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 only 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 this ultimate toiletry guide as a great packing list 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 a simple 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 as it also helps in 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 with all the walking
- 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 nail polish off half way through a trip because it looked so awful.
- Nail File and Nail Clippers – my biggest pet peeve is a nail that needs to be filed!
- Mosquito Repellant Wipes – they take up no space at all and are easy to apply
- 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
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 two 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 and place them in a Ziploc or Stasher bag. It reduces waste and is so much more affordable. Plus you can pack more with less bulk!
Easy Tricks For Packing Your Hanging Toiletry Bag
Sometimes when we’re organizing our toiletries, the pockets in our flat travel toiletry bag still aren’t enough. Did you know that there are many ways to maximize our bags by doing a few of these special tricks?
Reuse and Recycle
- Do you have old straws lying around? You can fill these straws with some lotion or creams, so they’re in slim, space-saving packets. Here are some quick steps to pack a hanging toiletry bag with some straws:
- Cut the straw to your preferred size.
- Seal the end with a lighter.
- Put some cream or lotion.
- Seal the other end with a lighter.
- Label the straws.
- Using straws may seem challenging for some since it could be difficult to get the creams inside. Another thing you can do in your hangable toiletry bag is to recycle and clean your old hotel shampoo bottles and put your toiletries in place.
- Another reuse-recycle idea is to clean your old eyedroppers thoroughly and put in toothpaste. This way, you won’t have to keep buying travel-size toothpaste.
Leaks and Cracks
A lot of our toiletries may either crack or leak, and this could be a traveler’s nightmare. Here are some easy tricks you can do while packing:
- Put cotton or pad on your powdered makeup, so it doesn’t crack.
- Use a plastic wrap to keep your liquids from spilling. Place this under the cap just before your seal it.
- Use masking tape to seal your liquid container caps and to avoid spilling.
Tips For Packing Your Hanging Toiletry Bag
- Decide the necessary items in your routine. There are some things you can live without during a short trip. Stick to your essentials, and manage the rest.
- Choose travel-size items. If you’re lucky enough to have your brand of toiletries in travel-friendly containers, use these for your trips. Otherwise, choose ready-to-use small containers for your toiletries.
- Fit all the items in. The proper arrangement can save you a lot of space. You can start packing the larger pieces and fit in the smaller ones after.
- Keep a little reserve space for emergency items. You don’t know what to expect when you’re traveling. Allow a little space in your travel bag for last-minute buys.
- Keep your toiletry bag accessible. Knowing how to pack a hanging toiletry bag is knowing where to keep it when you travel. A lot of things we keep in our toiletry bag is essential, so keep it where you can reach for it with ease. Know more about toiletry bags here!
How to Organize Your Travel Toiletry Bag to Ensure You Never Forget Something
EYE DROPS. While I almost never use eye drops at home, I somehow often end up needing them while on the road. High altitude in Colorado? Need them. Super dry weather in Banff? Eyes watering nonstop. I’m always thankful to have these in my bag. Click here for the ones I bring (they are extra hydrating). Click here to see the latest prices.
LATISSE (AND LATISSE BRUSHES). I use Latisse to make (and keep) my lashes extra long!
HAIR BANDS. I bring these in all sizes so that I am prepared for anything. I use the big ones for ponytails and the super small ones for french braids. They weight basically nothing so they are good to have on hand. Click here to see the latest prices for the large ones and here for the small ones.
HAIR CLIP. These hair clips are my life. They’re kind of like the 6 pack of international adapters that I find floating around everywhere because the same happens with these — they’re everywhere. I use them to pull my hair back when I wash my face, to pull my hair back into a bun, and anything else that I want to do to my hair without making a dent in it. I literally never go anywhere without these! Click here to see the latest prices.
BOBBY PINS. Another just in case type of item. I don’t really use bobby pins but you never know when you’ll really need one so I keep a small handful in my bag. Click here to see the latest prices.
TWEEZERS. To pluck hairs, take care of splinters, etc. Click here to see the latest prices.
BROW SCISSORS. These are for trimming and shaping brows but can also double as regular old scissors for cutting tags or whatever else you need. Click here to see the latest prices.
SPOOLIES. I always carry a handful of spoolies with me to brush out my lashes or brows because I find the ones that come with many products are rubbish and break off. On Amazon you can get 100 for $5 which is well worth the purchase in my opinion! Click here to see the latest prices.
Q-TIPS. For obvious reasons! Click here to see the latest prices.
FLOSS PICKS. The lazy jet lagged way to floss your teeth, of course! I keep these in my carry-on as well. Click here to see the latest prices.
SKINCARE. My fav, of course! What type of skincare I bring depends largely on where I am going. To be honest I often bring another separate pouch full of skincare too because y’all know I have an addiction. But since I have a Sephora and Soko Glam shopping problem, I conveniently have a lot of sample-sized skincare products that I usually fill in here.
Drunk Elephant just sent me their “The Littles” collection which is an eight-piece set of mini products. I haven’t tried any of it yet but according to the product info it’s actually a 30-45 day supply of product, so it seems like the perfect item to drop in here! Bonus points: their products are 100% clean. Click here to see the latest prices.
If I’m low on mini or travel sized skincare products I instead fill these travel jars with my regular products. Piece of cake! Click here to see the latest prices.
EYE CREAM. The above mentioned Drunk Elephant collection does include an eye cream but I am ride or die for SkinCeuticals A.G.E. so I always pack this. Since it’s a bit pricey I only have one of these and just make sure to drop it in before I go! Click here to see the latest prices.
ADVIL. In my purse I carry a travel pill bottle of both regular Advil and Advil PM, but you never know when you’ll need more so I keep a second travel bottle of Advil in here. Click here to see the latest prices.
TANNING DROPS. Depending on where I am going I’ll pack my favorite tanning drops. Click here to see the latest prices.
HAIR OIL. Traveling is dehydrating and that includes your hair! I never ever travel without hair oil. While at home I use Moroccanoil’s oil treatment but I find the bottle almost always leaks so while traveling I use Verb’s. Click here to see the latest prices.
FACE EXFOLIANT. Exfoliating is important always but especially when traveling because your skin will be drier than normal after a flight. I bring my favorite SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub in a silicone travel jar. Click here to see the latest prices for the scrub and here for the travel jars.
LIP EXFOLIANT. Same logic as above, but for your lips! Click here to see the latest prices.
LIP SLEEPING MASK. I caved and bought this lip sleeping mask after seeing it mentioned what seemed like a million times on Instagram and now I’m addicted as well. And not to beat a dead horse but traveling is extra drying so putting this on before bed will have you waking up good as new! Click here to see the latest prices.
There are a few things not included here that probably seem missing — that’s because I keep them in my carry-on instead. Click here for my carry-on packing guide! Two important things that you shouldn’t forget: hand cream (I die for this one, it even has SPF in it) and my favorite Jet Lag mask which I keep in my carry-on so that I can apply it on the plane.
TOOTHBRUSH. I can’t stand the feeling of teeth not brushed with an electric toothbrush so I always pack my Sonicare. I bought it in this size specifically because it’s not very clunky and easily fits in my toiletry bag. Click here to see the latest prices.
TOOTHPASTE. No explanation needed here, hopefully! Click here to see the latest prices.
RAZOR. Same as above 🙂 Click here to see the latest prices.
NAIL FILE. This is another item that you never realize how much you need until you don’t have it!
TEASING BRUSH. To fix your hair when you sleep on it is weird! Or for actual teasing if that’s your thing. Click here to see the latest prices.
EXFOLIANT MITT. These are a MUST! They are Korean exfoliating bath mittens and are so much better for travel than a liquid exfoliant. I never ever go anywhere without one. Click here to see the latest prices.
PERFUME. I always keep a travel perfume or two in this section.
This is where the real fun comes in! The bottom left compartment is where I keep an assortment of, well, everything. It’s a collection of random treatments (like a tea tree stick in case a breakout occurs on the road), medicine (never know when you will need DayQuil and NyQuil), and is also where I put items that I acquire from hotels (like shower caps, body wash, etc.).
Almost all of these items come in individual use packaging so I only keep one or two of them in here. Just don’t forget to replenish whichever you use when you get home!
While the full list of what does and doesn’t live here can change from time to time, here are the things that live there always:
TANTOWEL. Full body self-tanning towelettes — much better for travel than a liquid or foam self-tanner! I keep just one of these in here at all times. Click here to see the latest prices.
WRINKLE RELEASER. Because who has time for ironing while on the road!? Not me. It’s also an odor eliminator which can be nice, too. Click here to see the latest prices.
HAND SANITIZER. I use this one because it’s plant based, made with natural ingredients and pure essential oils. Click here to see the latest prices.
FIRST AID ESSENTIALS. Sometimes I’ll bring an actual first aid kit, but if that doesn’t seem necessary I’ll stick to having a few essential first aid items kept in here. At a minimum: bandaids, alcohol pads, ointment. Click here to see the latest prices.
EMERGEN-C. I keep at least one Emergen-C in here at all times because, again, you never know when you will need it! Click here to see the latest prices.
DAYQUIL + NYQUIL. For illness emergencies! Click here to see the latest prices.
WHITESTRIPS. For teeth whitening emergencies. Click here to see the latest prices.
PEEL PADS. I like Dr. Dennis Gross’ peel pads because they come individually wrapped. They are anti-aging and renewing, something that is definitely necessary post-plane. Click here to see the latest prices.
SEWING KIT. Because you never know when you’ll need it (yes, I have had to use this numerous times). Click here to see the latest prices.
TEA TREE STICK. For acne emergencies. Click here to see the latest prices.
PIMPLE PATCH. Also for acne emergencies. These are game changing. Click here to see the latest prices.
SHEET MASKS. Sheet masks are my favorite for travel because you don’t have to lug around a big leaky container! I sometimes pack more but at a minimum I always have: my favorite snail ones because they are hydrating and repairing (click here to see the latest prices), green tea because it’s cooling, de-puffing, and soothing (click here to see the latest prices), and these calming ones because they’re, well, calming! Especially good for sun burns. Click here to see the latest prices.
ESSENTIAL OIL TOWELETTES. These essential oil towelettes are multi-purpose and great to have on hand. Click here to see the latest prices.
SHOWER CAP. I always put these in my bag if the hotel offers them because you never know when you’ll find yourself with a waterfall shower head on a day you don’t want to get your hair wet.
On the right side I keep my hair. Since I don’t use hotel-provided haircare (it’s full of rubbish like sulfates), I always bring my own. Always.
TRAVEL BOTTLES. I store all of my haircare in these leakproof bottles. Absolutely essential! Click here to see the latest prices.
SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER. Which shampoo and conditioner you should use depends on a variety of things. If you’re looking for hair care recommendations, click here for my post about how to get shiny, healthy hair. I always fill the above mentioned travel bottles with my usual shampoo and conditioner.
HAIRSPRAY. As I discussed in my haircare post, the type of hairspray you use is incredibly important. Don’t use a cheap drugstore one! I brought Moroccanoil with me. If my trip is longer than a few days I’ll actually throw the full size one in instead. Click here to see the latest prices.
HEAT PROTECTANT. Since I don’t usually pack my own hair dryer and instead rely on hotel’s crappy ones, it is incredibly important to pack a heat protectant! I keep my Amika detangling primer in a travel sized spray bottle. Click here to see the latest prices.
SPF. Hopefully you already know how important this is and that you must wear it every single day! Click here for the one I use.
BODY WASH & LOTION. I usually just acquire these from hotel stays.
How do you organize a hanging makeup bag?
One of the best strategies for organizing a travel makeup bag includes using small plastic bags to separate cosmetics instead of cosmetic containers. Label individual bags for face, eye and lip products and for makeup tools and everyday products.
What should I pack in my toiletry vacation bag?
- Toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Hair brush and/or comb.
- Shampoo and/or conditioner.
- Soap or body wash.
- Bug spray (only if traveling in jungles, forests, or anywhere bugs might be or malaria may be present)
Does the toiletry bag have to be clear?
TSA does not specify that toiletry bags need to be clear. However, when traveling with liquids, using a clear bag will help expedite the TSA process so agents can see everything easily without further inspection.
Do toiletries include towels?
Towels are provided and changed frequently. Separate beach towels are provided plus a beach bag. Also plenty of toiletries – shampo, bath gel etc. Toiletries include soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.
Do you still need to put toiletries in a plastic bag?
Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be placed in a clear plastic 1-quart bag. All of the items within these bags must be in 3.4-ounce containers or less. You’ll also have to remove this clear plastic bag from your carry-on luggage and place it in a separate bin to be screened.
What is the 3-1-1 liquid rule?
Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols.
What is the packing list?
A packing list itemizes the contents of each package (box, pallets, etc). It includes weights, measurements and detailed lists of the goods in each package. The packing list should be included in carton or package, and can be attached to the outside of a package with a copy inside.
How much should you pack for a week?
It is best to have two pairs of bottoms (pants, shorts, or skirts) for each week that you’ll be staying. Plan on bringing four shirts per week, and two jackets to layer for warmth (if you’re traveling to a cool or cold destination). For a two-week trip, you need four bottoms and eight tops.
Your toiletries are essential and personal, which means leaving them behind isn’t an option. Now that you finally know how to pack a hanging toiletry bag with these packing tricks and tips, you’re ready for your next great adventure. Enjoy