A Week in a Carry-On: Only the Necessary Toiletries

only pack necessary toiletries


Toiletries are things that are super easy to over pack…mainly because they seem like they should be small and easy to squeeze in. But luckily, they’re also one of the places where you can save the most room. Why? Because you probably don’t need half of them!


Of course, a lot of this depends on your accommodations…Airbnb vs hotel vs friend’s house vs any other range of options. These tips apply in most all scenarios, but before you put wholesale confidence in it, double-check your Airbnb listing to see what it provides because that widely varies.

Beauty routine.

I’ll just say it upfront, if you have a multi-step routine, what are you doing? I say it with a  smile, but seriously…if what you do requires 3, 4, 5 steps / products, it might be in your best interest (time and money wise) to consider simplifying outside of travel. Then when you travel, it makes it that much easier. My favorite beauty products – that take care of everything from skin clarity to tone and brightness to erasing and preventing wrinkles – are in the Nerium lineup. When I travel, I take the night cream and the eye serum. It’s seriously so easy – the night cream keeps my skin clear and bright, despite airplane air (ugh so gross…it used to always make me breakout), while the eye serum completely erases dark circles and bags that always seem to pop up when changing timezones. With a 30 day money back guarantee on all products, you NEED to try these.

Shampoo / conditioner / soap.

You probably don’t even need to bring these – I’ve never stayed somewhere where they weren’t available. That said, sometimes I like to have my own products. In that case, you have choices: either stock up on ones you love from other hotels and keep those as a stash to pull from, purchase the travel sizes of your favorites (remember, must be less than 3 oz for flying), or buy small sizes of them when you get to your destination (might be harder abroad). I would not recommend filling your own travel bottles…you want to have the flexibility to throw them away when you’re done, not feel stuck bringing back empty bottles to reuse later. Living that #shedlife.


As hard as this is going to be (and believe me, I know, my mom is a hairstylist!)…99% of the time you are not going to need to pack a hairdryer. Every hotel I have ever stayed in has one. You can ask your AirBnB host or your friend if there will be one available. But, if you are traveling within the US and get heart palpitations at the thought of not bringing your own (because they do make your hair feel different!), try this one. It’s super cheap but surprisingly has a lot of power and dries really fast. But guess what? It doesn’t work overseas when plugged into a plug converter. Waste of space! There’s also this mini-size of the dryer I use at home, but it’s more than double the cost of the other…I haven’t used it, but I assume it also has issues with working in other countries.

Straightener / curling iron.

Most places will not provide you with one like they will a hairdryer…#sadness. I have always packed my straightener for trips, but it has failed me on 2 international trips, so it’s a toss up as to whether or not it will work. The best backup for not having a styling tool is a ninja headband, a hair tie, and maybe a little gel (if you have curly hair).

Eye care.

Make sure to get the travel size solution – note, this is a really small bottle. Make sure you read the box because there is a 4oz size, which is still too big for a carry-on. Take 1 extra pair of contacts, as well as your glasses (find a slim case).


There are tons of other toiletries I can list…deodorant, perfume, razor, brush, toothbrush, hairspray, makeup wipes, hand wipes, etc. Follow the same logic as above to decide what size to bring or if it’ll be provided, and whether or not it’s disposable.


As for the makeup…keep it as normal as you can. I feel like when it comes to makeup, bring what makes you feel pretty…your pictures are going to last a lifetime! : ) But if you need a separate bag for it your 25 brushes, sponges, 13 colors, 5 layers, and a ton of other tools. …this post probably isn’t for you anyways lol.


Are there any biggies I missed?


Now that you have your outfits and all the essentials, let’s fill in with The Extras


Catch up on any missed posts here: Intro | Travel Capsule Wardrobe | Shedding

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