Traveling with Toiletries

A classic Tip of the Week from June 27, 2004

Full-size toiletries and personal care products tend to be bulky, take up a lot of space, and are potentially messy to travel with. Besides, unless you're planning to be away for several weeks at a stretch, you probably don't need the entire box or bottle. 

Many toiletries come in trial or travel-size versions that pack easily, provide just enough product for a trip of a week or so, and can be left behind when you're done with them. Another option is to make your own travel-size products by emptying small amounts of your everyday toiletries into reusable plastic bottles. (Nalgene, the company known for its durable water bottles, makes a series of high-quality and reasonably priced toiletry bottles.) 

A final option, if you're staying in a hotel, is to call ahead and ask what products they supply. Many hotels—even those on the budget end of the spectrum—provide shampoo, lotion, and soap automatically, and will also hand out products like toothpaste, razors, and deodorant if you ask. 

Whatever option you choose, make it a goal to come back with less than what you bring, whether that means reusable bottles emptied of their contents or, better yet, nothing at all. All of those mini hotel soaps and bottles of shampoo may be tempting, but unless they're truly special or luxurious, they're probably not worth the clutter they'll cause in your bathroom at home. 

{Update! For travel-size everything, including toiletries, personal care products, and baby care products, check out}