Bringing liquid toiletries can be a hassle when you prefer to travel with carry-on luggage only. In this packing 101 you’ll find tips on traveling as light as possible, as well as a look into my own liquids bag.
When I decided to travel with carry on only, the first thing I did was worry about my liquid toiletries. I don’t mind doing a little research for alternative products, as well as buying travel size versions of my favorite products, but I just couldn’t see fitting all of them into that tiny, little bag.
Years later I have a steady routine for packing liquids, I even keep them inside the plastic bag I use to get them through airport security.
Rules on liquid toiletries
Liquids, gels and pastes, whenever carried in hand luggage, have to be 100ml or less while being securely packed into a transparent 1L liquids bag. Only one bag per person is allowed onto the airplane. Check your airline to make sure if this is the case for you as well.
How to pack liquid toiletries
Gather the liquid products you use on a day to day basis and divide them into the following categories: skin, hair, makeup, other. Make a selection of products you really need to look the slightest bit polished. Try to keep the number of products as low as you can.
Now set aside the products that are too large to fit into the bag. Can you easily purchase them at your destination? Then stop worrying about them and keep on packing.
The secret of a perfect liquids bag lies in being creative. By using a product for several purposes, you can now narrow it down to one of two products per category.
For instance, you can use coconut oil for getting rid of eye makeup, as a hair mask and even as lip balm. The same basically goes for any makeup you might take with you. A lipstick can be a blush and a bronzer works great for applying a simple eyeshadow.
There are 2 important things when it comes to protecting your skin when you travel.
- Protect your skin from sun damage or other weather conditions with an SPF.
- Give your skin what it needs to recover from anything your put it through.
For me that means to use a product containing SPF during the daytime, plus a moisturizer of some sort. Lots of times I carry the Weleda Skinfood, a great, rich cream that takes care of my dry skin after flying and moisturizes my face when I sleep. Another favorite is the Biodermal face oil, which I mostly use at night as well. Ziaja face masks keep my skin radient wherever I am. They’re easy to carry too!
As a cleanser I prefer micellar water or a mild cleanser, which I carry in a toiletry bottle with a spray on cap. Sometimes, when I travel for a longer period, I bring face wipes as well. Not great for the skin but better than sleeping with the dirt of the day on your face.
Aside from shampoo, which you can use in hotels, I prefer to bring a hair mask over conditioner. I pack two, which will last me a week, as well as a serum or oil of some kind. Lately I’ve been addicted to Moroccan oil as it is one of the few products to tame my frizzy hair.
First of all, let me tell you, you don’t need a bag full of makeup to survive your travels. As a matter of fact, many travelers don’t wear makeup at all!
However, when you do want to look cute on your night out (or on that tour with that cute guide, I’m not judging!), here are some of my tricks:
- Lip balm, primer, eyebrow gel, eyeshadow base… There’s nothing Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream can’t do!
- Instead of sunblock for the face, pack a great BB cream.
- Wear just one product a day. I love going out with just bright lips or a dramatic liner.
What’s in my makeup bag:
- Mascara (mini)
- BB Cream
- Lipbalm or Eight Hour Cream
- One bright lip color
Toothpaste, contact lens fluid, medicines, perfume… They can fill up your liquids bag fast! Try to get mini versions of all of them. For example:
- Use sample perfumes, this way you have a special fragrance for every trip you took.
- Get travel sizes and buy a full-sized product at your destination.
What do you carry in your liquids bag? Let me know by leaving a comment!
Read more on packing:
This article was updated in September 2017.
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