Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Travel Toiletries Test Drive - this is a good time to prepare!

This looks really nifty, but it seems terribly small.  Or does it?
I think the hardest part of travelling is getting all of one's toiletries and personal care products sorted out and ready to roll. For years, I would pack a lot of things that I never used, or that I only used a little bit.  Finally, I decided that there had to be a better way.

So I got all of my products assembled and into their appropriate bags, and starting on the first of the month, I used NOTHING but what I had packed.  NOTHING.  In fact, I found that this was a particularly good opportunity to sort through all sort of cosmetics and other items that were... languishing... in my bathroom.

I found, after a few weeks, that I had been carrying enough shampoo with me, on every trip, to last at least a month.  I couldn't have used all of the moisturizer I had packed if I stayed away for 90 days.  Frankly, there was absolutely nothing in my bag that couldn't be minimized, pared back, cut down, or flat out eliminated.

So get things assembled, and start living from your luggage on September 1. See if you can learn something, and pack a little bit lighter in the future.
my liquids...


FREE Shipping on all orders & an Exclusive gift of RESIST Antioxidant Deluxe Serum on orders of $50+ at Paula's Choice! *Valid 8/7/13- 9/3/13

29 comments:

  1. I try to travel without any liquids, using tiny bar soaps, talc instead of deodorant etc. If I go to a hotel there will be shampoo etc. and if I am visiting family/friends, I can ask to borrow whatever I may need (I'm not fussy!). This means I don't have to worry about the ominous transparent bag... works for me. Also I only carry on, no checking in luggage! The Brits are by far the fussiest, in my experience, pure bureaucracy, nil brain.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is the post I've been waiting for! I've gotten accomplished at minimizing my clothing, but my toiletries are out of control. Thanks, Janice. I'll look this over closely and carefully read the comments. Susan in SLC

    ReplyDelete
  3. Timely reminder, thanks! I need to pick up more of those individually packaged towelettes for makeup removal--- one less bottle of liquid in my suitcase. We used to rely on hotels for shampoo and conditioner, but the quality varies too much, even in the nicest hotels.

    I wish you would review / recommend packing apps at some point in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for posting this!
    I have and still travel so often, that I really have learned to dislike packing. So I have made lists...
    AND I have a little plastic bag like yours that I fill with all the needed toiletries. MUJI have wonderful little bottles and jars that can be filled with everything possibly needed :-) AND you can keep the little items in your handbag or carryon when getting into the airplane. How often have I arrived somewhere without luggage, but necessary toothbrush, toiletries and cosmetics at hand?!
    Samples and trials are great for packing, too. All this saves LOTS of weight, which makes travelling so much easier.

    I really enjoy your blog a lot - I just don't comment that often ;-)
    Have a wonderful and very HAPPY day! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. My biggest issue when traveling (by plane) is how to pack eye makeup remover. At home, I used Pond's cold cream for this. Unfortunately, Ponds does not seem to make a travel size jar. (if you can find one, please post and let me know about it!) What can I use instead? I've used a small bottle of liquid eye makeup remover, but don't like it. I would love to know what works for others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan - I use only Clinque products and the cleanser also does not come in a small size - a big tube. So I decant into a small round plastic pot - sort of like the size of an eye make up remover pad. I can get a month out of it and I think I probably use less than when I squeeze it out of the tube. Eye makeup remover pads are great, as are nail polish remover pads (well, I still wear my nail polish when travelling but probably many do not!) because they weigh nothing and the pile diminishes as the trip continues. Hope this helps.

      Sandra

      Delete
    2. These are travel sized, but not exactly travel friendly because of the bulky container shape: http://www.amazon.com/Ponds-Moisturising-Cold-Cream-Pack/dp/B008MZJGLY

      When I travel, I put creams and gels into dedicated screw-top contact lens cases. The screw on caps are leak proof and they hold a surprising amount. Cheap and available at any drugstore.

      Delete
    3. Susan, visit REI or another store dedicated to outdoor sports. They have a huge array of small jars and bottles. Every backpacker needs just a small and light amount of various necessities.

      Delete
  6. I save my samples from Paula's Choice and Aveda. Those little Aveda bottles are very sturdy and I mark them accordingly. Toiletry really is a space hog. After returning from my last trip I resolved to use up everything that I accumulated in all things beauty before I order anything new. My stash of samples has gotten way out of hand.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I try and time replacing my favourite products (e.g. Clinique) until they have those special offers where they give you miniatures, which I save for travelling. (Soemtimes, the sales personnel in big department stores will also give you samples of major brands if you just ask them nicely). Then, there are often trial sachets of thing (e.g. Dior foundation) in glossy magazines. They take up very little room and can be discarded as you use them. And I take solids wherever I can - solid deodorant stick instead of spray or roll-on(Roc do them, and their products are pretty good for sensitive skin), solid shampoo (try Lush - see http://www.lushusa.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Lush-Site/en_US/Search-Show?q=shampoo%20bar). The added advantage there is that they don't leak in your luggage.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just a comment that all of these wonderful travel tips and wardrobes work for car trips as well as air travel. The temperature in a vehicle can be as variable as an airplane, especially when multiple travelers request different levels of AC. (I always dress in the VF-recommended travel ensemble.) Even if you have enough trunk space to carry multiple bags, you don't want to lug a dozen suitcases through a hotel lobby or your in-laws' living room. There is something wonderfully empowering and freeing about being able to pack all you need to look lovely AND be able to carry it all yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love this idea! I know I have too many products in my bathroom, and this could be a good way to pare down, not just for travel, but my life in general. Thanks for the advice.

    ReplyDelete
  10. For moisturizer and tinted foundation I use a plastic contact lens case with screw on lids. I put moisturizer in one side and foundation in the other. I used another case for some hair product. I was surprised that one tiny pot held plenty for a two week trip.
    My CPAP weighs about 8 pounds and takes up half of my carry on room, so I always have checked luggage. Now, I need a comprehensive list of make-up, medicines, over-the-counter stuff that is reasonable to take when shopping is not going to be convenient. On my last trip I ended up with some duplicates in checked luggage and carry on that made no sense.
    The good news--my capsule wardrobe worked very well. Thanks for your hard work pulling together your beautiful suggestions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your CPAP is medical equipment and does not count as carry on luggage. Neither do medications. My husband is an insulin dependent diabetic and a C-Pap user. He is also a frequent traveler. There has never been a problem with security or the airlines. Use your carry-on space for your other items.

      Delete
    2. Then I will try a new way of packing! I had one airline that told me they did not count the CPAP as carry on luggage, but I did not know that was true for others! I will start asking tour companies, also. Many thanks.

      Delete
    3. The contact lens case idea is brilliant! I struggle to find small enough containers for my toiletries. It's amazing how little you need to take with you. For your CPAP, you probably need to check the baggage rules online for each airline you are flying just to be sure so you don't end up at the airport with an unpleasant surprise.

      Delete
  11. When I go car camping or cottaging, I always pack travel size toiletries. Otherwise, they're heavy and take up too much space in my luggage. My toiletry travelling kit usually consists soap bar, toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, moisturizer, hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, nail clippers, lip balm and mascara. Nothing else. Shaving is always done before I go.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just want to say that the VF packing/capsule wardrobe ideas have helped me minimize my wardrobe while still offering flexibility. And this really shows in my packing. I'm to the point that I could travel for months in a bag small enough to fit under the seat so it's smaller than a typical carry-on and usually only weighs about 13# unless it's going to be cold where I go and then it only weighs 15#. Traveling with a convertible backpack that is very low-profile and doesn't look like a backpack is easy when it's so light is so darn easy. And I don't even carry a purse on the plane. Although I do pack a very lightweight bag for daily use while out-and-about. I was struggling with finding small enough containers for toiletries as it's amazing how little you need for a typical trip of 1-2 weeks. The contact lens case idea is brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I also use the screw top contact lens cases for travel. At first I did not think they would hold enough, but I did a trial run at home for 2 weeks. As stated, it is amazing how little of a product you need. I tape little labels on the top to keep things straight. I like just filling them with my routine products instead of hunting down sample sizes. But, I have to say that since I can fit so many lotions and potions into my quart sized bag, I am still bringing too many products. I think I need to simplify vs. fitting all my stuff into a smaller place. Thanks for the post ... I love reading ideas on making this easier.


    ReplyDelete
  14. I have been using a silicone squeezable tube called GoToob to hold hand/body lotion for travel and purse. They come in 1.25 to 3 oz sizes. They are great for holding small liquids that are not conveniently applied by fingertip. Some of the tubes have a suction-cup on one side to stick to a shower wall. There is also a GoTubb which I have not yet tried, a 0.4 oz silicone tub and lid. My toiletry kit stays packed in my cupboard so I just grab it for a trip.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for the post! I usually collect gift-with-purchase which are small and great for travel (50ml can last me quite a while) and ask for samples of moisturizer/cleanser when I can (just be friendly with the sales assistant!).

    ReplyDelete
  16. A huge weight saver for me has been portioning my supplements into small pill pouches from large bottles. I bought 50 Apex Pill Bags for 1.90 and they have been the best 2 bucks I've spent in years.

    If I'm only traveling a couple days - I will go without. But for longer trips these are so helpful. (A few I take are necessities.)

    Perfect to use for other things as well during travel or at home.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I saw the Paula's Choice samples and felt a kindred glow. Glad to see that your discernment applies to skin care too! What about sunscreen? Do you just use the SPF 30 product on your face and call it done?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have been trying to cut my toiletries down. The contact lens case idea is such a good idea! This is the only area where I still have problems. Getting all this stuff in a quart size bag is such a challenge for me! LOL

    What about perfume? How do you do that? A solid of some sort?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have an atomizer bottle but don't use it. It depends on the perfume you use. If you can, get some of the little sample bottles or search online for a trial size (they often come in sets with other scents, especially around the holidays). Some websites specialize in travel size perfume samples you can buy. For true perfume, not cologne, you don't need to carry much because it is so concentrated, so maybe buy the actually perfume in the tiny bottle (.5oz or so) rather than the spray where it has been diluted with alcohol.

      After using a particular lotion scent throughout my study abroad trip in college, I have come to associate that particular scent with the location, and it brings fond memories. I now pick a specific scent I don't normally wear sometimes on purpose when I travel just for the fun of later associating the scent with the memories of my travels.

      Delete
  19. If you have a beauty store,like Sephora, they carry great little refillable perfume atomizers. I loved and used mine for many years and it was inexpensive, around $10 I believe.

    ReplyDelete
  20. These are just the toiletries. TSA also requires any cosmetic "liquid" and "dangerous" tool to be packed in the 3-1-1 bag. While I attempt to use powders when possible (foundation, blush), there are some items I can't avoid taking like cream concealer, lip products, and mascara. For whatever weird reason, tweezers and lash curlers make the list so I've had to switch from my regular but oddly shaped lash curler to a flat compact style. I use make up remover towelettes instead of my regular remover as it is technically not a liquid and I can pack the mini packet in my "dry" toiletries. The small screw top mini jars found in the pre-packaged 3-1-1 kits hold enough cream products like Pond's to last at least a week if you carefully monitor your usage.

    ReplyDelete
  21. If you don't wear makeup, packing toiletries is WAY easy. No need for foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadow, mascara, makeup removers, etc.

    The way I see it, if the face a man wakes up with is good enough to get him through the day, why shouldn't my natural face be good enough?

    ReplyDelete
  22. That's great information. Thanks for sharing this blog. I did a search and found your blog and glowing review. It's been a big help! Thanx!

    ReplyDelete