I usually find myself on a plane at least half a dozen times a year including visits to see family and friends interstate, business trips or a conference accompanying my hubby and the occasional holiday. I’ve learned a few tricks that ensure I travel with only the minimum makeup, skincare and hair products that I can get away with. I’m keenly aware of the size and weight of those items so I try to reduce what I have to pack and carry … after all, the less room they take up, the more space I have for my shopping.
So, here we go:
- Find the right toiletry bag. It should be just the right size for your needs, water resistant, easily cleaned and lightweight. There are loads of different styles to choose from so select one that works for you. Here’s a sneaky tip for you: if you think you’ll be tight for space and you’re worried about the weight of your luggage, simply use a large zip lock bag … it works just fine and you can just throw it out when you get home. And another sneaky tip: if you don’t think you have the willpower to be brutal and not take every cosmetic that you own, buy a toiletry bag that’s slightly smaller than you think you’ll need and that will force you to pack carefully and think twice about everything you intend to take.
- Plan ahead. Don’t pack your toiletry bag in a rush at the last minute otherwise you’ll simply grab everything “just in case” and take far too much. If you spend some time thinking about what you actually need, you’ll be organised and won’t risk leaving something at home.
- Simplify your beauty and skincare routine when you travel. Try to take only one of each particular item and only things that are absolutely essential. This will reduce the amount you have to carry and also reduce the amount of time you need to spend getting ready. You’re on holidays and want to spend as much time as possible seeing new things and having new experiences … not spending hours in the bathroom getting ready. Create a look that will take you from day to night with minimum effort and fuss, which will also reduce the number of products you need to pack.
- Be aware of size. Only pack small versions of skin care, makeup and hair care products. Whether you’re going to be away for a couple of nights or a whole month, estimate how much of each product you’ll need and transfer just enough into smaller bottles/containers. Buy a good set of reusable travel bottles/containers that you can use over and over. Alternatively, be creative and use containers that you can throw away once finished. Old prescription and vitamin bottles work well because they are usually sturdy and airtight.
- Make the products you take do double duty. For example, a brown eyeliner can double as a brow pencil, lipstick can double as blusher and a lip pencil can be used as lip liner and lipstick. At home you might use a day cream and a night cream but to take both on holidays will add size and extra weight to your luggage. When I travel I only carry a single moisturiser and only take a small quantity in a smaller, labeled container.
- Avoid taking certain products. If I know I’ll be staying in a hotel that supplies basic products like shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, soap and shower gel, I won’t take those things with me at all. I also manage without cleanser and use either wet wipes or soap and water.
- Buy certain products at your destination. When we travel as a family, we buy bulky items like shampoo and conditioner once we arrive and simply share.
- Don’t pack large electrical items like hair dryers. I love my hair dryer but I don’t want it taking up valuable space or weighing down my luggage. A lot of hotels will supply these and a quick email to Reservations will answer that question.
- Share! If you’re travelling with your mum, sister, daughter or girlfriend, why not share certain items or products? Get together before you leave and decide who will take what e.g. one person can take the moisturiser, the other can take the sunscreen and so on, and an added bonus (if you happen to be the same size) you can share clothes as well … winner!
On the plane I like to carry the basics from my toiletry kit in my carry on luggage in a zip lock bag … I have this subconscious, morbid fear of being stranded in a foreign country with no toothbrush, lipstick, hairbrush or deodorant because some airline has lost my luggage. It hasn’t happened yet but I really don’t want to take the chance. Just make sure you check airline regulations about what’s permitted in your carry on before you pack. If you do, however, pack your toiletry bag in your checked in suitcase, pack it in the middle so that it’s cushioned by softer items like jumpers and t-shirts to avoid things breaking.
So, what toiletry bag do I use and what do I carry in it?
I often use a clear toiletry bag because I can see everything easily and I don’t have to dig around inside to find what I need. It’s a practical size, doesn’t weigh much and can be easily wiped over. Here’s what I typically carry:
- Dental Floss
- Eyeliner pencil
- Blusher brush
- Lip pencil
- Makeup pencil sharpener
- Perfume (a miniature version)
- Hair brush
- Hair mousse
- Wet ones
- Paw Paw cream (for dry lips)
And to avert a potential disaster, here are a couple of extra tips:
- Don’t completely fill tubes or bottles, gently squeeze out any air before sealing to account for expansion due to cabin pressure.
- Place all liquids like moisturiser, sunblock, hairspray, shampoo, conditioner, etc. in individual zip lock bags before putting them in your toiletry bag … at least then if anything leaks or explodes, you might be able to contain the damage.
- Be sure to pack any sharp objects like metal nail files, manicure scissors, razors or tweezers in your main suitcase otherwise they’ll most likely be confiscated if located in your carry on luggage.
- If you decide to pack some of your toiletry items in your carry on luggage, make sure it’s near the top of your bag and accessible so it can be inspected at Customs. Make sure also that they meet the allowable size requirements otherwise they’ll be confiscated if over the limit … and Customs won’t care that you paid a small fortune for the offending item.
- Pack any potentially breakable bottles inside your sandshoes or sneakers. This just might save your expensive perfume or makeup bottles from being broken as they will be cushioned inside the shoe. Be careful also how you pack your compacts of blusher, face powder and eye shadow. These can break easily if knocked so try inserting a cotton pad into each one to act as a mini shock absorber.
So tell me, do you have any other useful tips and hints to share that you use when packing cosmetics and skincare when you travel? Have you ever had any major packing disasters and how did you recover?
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