Packing for airline travels can be daunting, especially if you are limiting yourself to a carry-on. Yet, what I typically pack doesn’t change much between spending 40 days traveling eastern Europe, 2 months living in Italy, a week in Seattle, or a weekend in Yosemite. To keep with TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, you need a 1 qt zippered clear bag. I found one at Walmart that is perfect. You can fit a lot of liquid in it as long as each is in a 100 ml or less bottle. Make sure that anything liquid, including makeup and mascara, is in this bag. Be aware of anything that says TSA-safe or travel-size, as I have seen some that are actually 4 oz, and they MUST be under 3.4 oz!
- Deodorant does not need to be in here unless it is gel, liquid, or aerosol. My deodorant is always perfume scented so I don’t have to wear perfume that can make other travelers sneeze. Bring your regular bar unless it is liquid.
- Travel, hotel, or sampler sized shampoo and conditioner. Even if you stay in hotels, they don’t always supply these, and I always prefer my usual shampoos. You can buy refillable 100ml bottles to use your own, or you can buy mini bottles of Tresemme or Head and Shoulders at Walmart, and Ulta has sample sizes in many fine brands.
- Toothpaste in travel tubes (sold at Walmart and grocery stores)
- Soap in bar form does not need to be in this bag, but in liquid for must meet the 100 ml rule. Again, you can refill a bottle with your favorite liquid, or you can buy a travel sized version from the store. The plus side to having liquid soap is that it can double as laundry soap!
- Mouthwash: I recommend buying travel Listerine since the lids are more secure than refillable bottles.
- Sunscreen (remember to keep it under 100 ml) can double as moisturizer with some products!
- Nail polish is TOTALLY optional but I think it always makes me feel more put-together (a big plus when running around an airport)
- Cold creme (such as Ponds) is GREAT for travel since it removes makeup and dirt without water! Keep it less than 100 ml.
- Facial cleaning cloths (like Olay or any brand) are dry and disposable, so they don’t need to follow 3-1-1 and works great even in a public restroom. Very light, use very little space, and feel so luxurious! Be sure to use it to clean your face and neck if you are stuck traveling for over 12 hours.
- Perfume (be careful, since many people fly with asthma, so I prefer deodorant until I arrive) should be in a plastic bottle (less than 100 ml) to weigh less, must have a cap, and I prefer roll-on since it is more durable, especially if the cap is screw-on.
- Chap stick (travel can be dry! and yes, this must be in the 3-1-1) can be tinted to double as lip color! I love Burt’s Bees since it doesn’t taste like petroleum.
What are your travel essentials? Have you done anything creative to deal with the new rules for flights?
When I travel, I often see people carrying gigantic suitcases overloaded with stuff they probably don’t need for a weekend trip to visit relatives. When I ask them why they travel with so much stuff, they usually reply “I want to be comfortable”. This, to me, seems to be a paradox. Because, honestly, these people genuinely do NOT look comfortable. Carrying heavy bags up flights of stairs, fitting them into overhead compartments on trains, waiting 30 minutes or so for their luggage to come into the baggage claim areas… I don’t understand. If you are backpacking in the woods by yourself for a week or two, I can appreciate the boy scout mantra “Be Prepared”. But even backpackers have to carry all their junk with them!
I can pack for an entire 3-day weekend trip in my medium purse. What’s inside?
- 2 shirts (rolled up around toothbrush case)
- 1 PJ pants or shorts
- 3 panties (lightweight or lacy ones hand wash and dry really fast)
- 1 lightweight wrinkle-proof skirt OR denim shorts
- 1-2 pair of socks (if necessary)
- 1 toothbrush in clean travel case
- 1 bar of deodorant (perfumed ones can eliminate the need for separate perfume below)
- small container for bare minimum makeup (1 mineral makeup, 1 eye shadow palate, lipstick, and minimum brushes)
- 1 quart zippered bag (if flying by air and there will be no toiletries there) containing:
- 1 venus razor head (no handle unless there is room)
- 1 travel toothpaste bottle
- 1 shampoo/conditioner <100 mL
- 1 bar of soap or liquid soap <100 mL
- 1 bottle of face soap <100 mL
- 1 trial-sized bottle of perfume
- any liquid makeup required for event (mascara/foundation) <100 mL
Now, if the event I were going to required a bit more beauty, I might include a straightener and I MIGHT need to upgrade to a backpack or small carry-on, but I cannot imagine needing a checked bag for less than a week (with the exception of strollers and sporting equipment, etc). What do you think you might need?