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Help with toiletries for 3-1-1

We are going to Europe for a month and trying to travel with a carryon bag. The clothes seem to be working out but I'm having trouble with toiletries. I can't fit sunscreen, face cream, body lotion, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, mascara, lip gloss etc. all in to the 3-1-1 bag even in small 3oz/100ml sizes. Any suggestions on what is the easiest to pick up in Europe? My thought is buy shampoo and conditioner in Europe but take my favorite lotion and cream? What have you done?
Thanks so much,
JoAnn
British Columbia
Canada

Posted by
9696 posts

You will probably need to go to 1 and 2 oz containers. Are you leaving soon or do you have time to do a trial run especially on your shampoo and conditioner to see what you can get by with? For instance, start with your hair products in 2-oz containers. Use the least amount you can each day and see how long you can go. Same with your other products.

Others will tell you to buy it there, but I have sensitivities and dont want to be itching so I bring as many of my regular products as I can. Toothpaste is ok for me to buy in Europe or else I will just bring tooth powder.

Posted by
2081 posts

jpl,

as far as i know, you can get everything there that you can here. maybe called something different.

since I'm a male and don't use makeup and such, i will let others that use those things give their 0.02.

but i don't bring any liquids/pastes with me since my last trip the TSA didnt like my partial used tube to tooth paste. So, i don't carry anything liquid/paste with me and buy it over there. If you don't mind where you buy them from, most airports will have shops that will carry things like shampoo/toothpaste and such. Sometimes i will buy it at the airport or in town. It depends on what i will be doing.

Happy trails.

Posted by
921 posts

First I would decide if there is anything I could do without. I always use a shampoo conditioner combo when I go. It isn't the best, but it saves some space from having one of each. If you still don't have enough room after getting down to the liquids you absolutely need, I would decide what I could do without for the first 24-48 hours and buy that there. I'm usually pretty tired when I first arrive, and between the fatigue, the excitement of being there, and the need to figure out transportation, find my hotel and get an idea of where things are, I wouldn't want to have to shop as soon as I arrive.

Posted by
9110 posts

If it's just a matter of needing two plastic sacks, give one to the old man. Guys don't need anything except toothpaste and shaving cream.

Posted by
288 posts

One trick that I am in love with is putting face cream/moisterizer in an old contact case. You could also put in there foundation as well. Or take two;) Lady Light Travel has some great tips for the 3 1 1 rules.

As for make-up, bare minerals is selling a lip gloss sampler pack of 6 different lipglosses, they are smaller than normal and fit really well into the 3 1 1. It is called Nudes with Attitude. I just took 3 of them on a trip to NYC and they were perfect.

I would also suggest using freezer quart bags that have a double zipper just in case something leaks. I got samples of perfume for our trip last summer and one leaked on the flight soaking my 3 1 1 bag, but it didn't leak to my other bag. I also seem to manage to get a lot more in a cheap ziplock bag then I do in a fancy made-for-travel-bag...

Posted by
3681 posts

A lot depends on where you are going in Europe and what your favorites are. We have never had a problem getting the same brand, but we often try something new and like it much better than what is available in the US.

We also go for a month and do carry - on only. We get larger sizes of products when we get there and leave them behind for the trip home. They go in the carry - on for any intra - European flights (it has to be checked regardless of size).

Posted by
1179 posts

I am like Pam - I have allergies and there is no way I'm going to experiment with "buy it there". Been there, done that, didn't like trying to find cortisone cream to deal with it. I always bring toiletries with me. It's tricky for a month but possible.
* First off, you need to know that we are allowed 3.4 oz (100 ml) of liquid per container.
* Second, if you need a lot of liquid you can bring a 2nd container

But here's the thing - most people don't need 3oz worth of product for their trip. I've only needed 3oz for sunscreen (hard to get 100 SPF over there), & hair gel. Everything else should go into smaller bottles or use a solid substitute.

Solids
Shampoo - try a solid shampoo before leaving home. Lush has shampoo bars that last for over a month. I'm allergic to some and fine with others
Body Lotion - I like the "bee bar" from Honey House. It lasts longer than regular hand lotion and is water resistant so it lasts longer
Conditioner - I use the Jungle bar from lush
Deodorant - I use a deodorant crystal that I got at Whole Foods. I use the travel size. A regular stick deodorant is also compliant but not as compact.
Makeup remover - these come in 2 forms - "just add water" from Olay, or in small wipe packets from Neutrogena et.al.
Detergent - I use powdered detergent for washing or you can bring individually wrapped packets
Facials - I use facial clay in powder form that I add water to for a masque
Styling powder - this is an alternative to styling gel - it's available from a lot of hair dressers. I use Evo Haze.
Eye makeup remover - soak some cotton balls in olive oil. Alternatively, bring a 1oz eye drop bottle of olive oil. It moisturizes the lashes and works better than harsh chemical products.
Google "solid alternatives to liquid" and you'll get lots of ideas. Doug Dyment also has a list of these on his onebag.com site.

Less than 3 oz
Decant these items into contact lens cases, eye drop bottles, or you can order eye drop bottles
1.5 oz to 2 oz - foundation in an eye drop bottle. I like a 3-in-1 tinted moisturizer with SPF from Aveeno.
Under eye cream and serum - fits in a contact lens case
night moisturizer - eye drop bottle or... I have a half used tube of mine. The tube is 3 oz so clearly less is compliant (and smaller in the bag)
Travelite has one of the best posts on decanting I've seen:
http://www.travelite.org/2008/07/eyedropper-bottle/

Toothpaste - I use toothpaste dots but others don't like that. Consider a powder like Eco-dent. Or do like Travelite and put liquid in a dropper bottle.

Posted by
78 posts

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. Like many of you who replied I tend to be very sensitive to creams and lotions so I'm reluctant to leave the products that I tolerate behind. I'll try to get shampoo and conditioner once we land. I didn't know about using contact lens cases so thanks for that suggestion. I am the chronic overpacker but I'm committed to travel light.
JoAnn

Posted by
31471 posts

JoAnn,

You've received lots of good suggestions so far! I just wanted to add that I've never had any problems with checking a bag, so if you can't find a resolution to the liquids issue, you might consider that also.

Posted by
63 posts

JoAnn, I use a shampoo bar from Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve (www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com). Since it is a bar, there is no need to put it in the 3-1-1. There are so many ones to choose from that I ordered several sample sizes in different recipes in order to determine what was best for me and my hubby (we use different ones but can use each other's for a few days if we need to do so). I then cut the bars into thirds and each third will last for almost 3 weeks (I have a short bob cut--fine blonde hair). With this and my not-so-hard water, I do not need to use a conditioner. However, if the water is hard somewhere, after a few days, you would have to use either a vinegar & water rinse or baking soda & water rinse to keep the soap from building up on the ends of your hair. Another product that I recommend instead of body lotion is Chagrin Valley's Shower Butter Bar (my fav is the SerenityGrove). You just step out of the shower and partially towel off and then rub the bar over legs, arms, elbows, etc. Once you try this, you won't go back to regular lotion. So these two things cut down on two liquids. I also recommend tooth powder (usually have to get via internet). This makes 3 to 4 (including conditioner) liquids you have no need to carry. Someone earlier mentioned Bare Minerals lip gloss which is an excellent idea but I also use their foundation which is powder so that eliminates yet another liquid. BTW, I am not an employee of any of these companies; I have just found some great things that I like to share with others. Hopefully, this gives you some ideas on what you can eliminate as a liquid but still carry the basics. Good luck and let us know what you work out!

Posted by
16883 posts

Hotels in Europe will provide shampoo, or at least an all-purpose shower gel. Conditioner less often. You'd be surprised how many washes you can get out of a hotel-sized free shampoo - I think at least three.

Posted by
2318 posts

I'm lucky to get one shampoo out of the hotel toiletries! I've found that some products are just not likely to be found in Europe, and I really don't want to waste time, energy and money searching for something similar. My hair is thick and curly and fortunately only needs washing 2-3 times a week but also needs a hair dressing goop from Mixed Chicks that keeps it looking nice in between. I've already figured out how much to bring and there'll be containers in my carry-on and checked bag. If I run out then up my hair goes into a ponytail. Also, instead of bringing big make-up remover wipes or a bottle of liquid I take as many cotton squares as needed, put in a ziplock and saturate with remover solution--takes almost no room at all.

Posted by
8767 posts

I do what Ed suggests. My husband always has plenty of room left in his bag.

Posted by
78 posts

Thanks to everyone for so many helpful solutions. Christa -we'll try the makeup pads soaked with remover to eliminate one bottle. Unfortunately we haven't left enough time to purchase some of the solid options but will consider that next time. This is a mom daughter trip to celebrate my daughter's graduation. I can't, as suggested, give the extra products to my husband as I'm widowed. That being said my lovely daughter does not require as many products as Mom so she will carry the extra.
I really appreciate everyone who replied taking the time to answer my question.

JoAnn

Posted by
8767 posts

I'm sorry JoAnn. You didn't state who you were traveling with, and you know what they say about assuming. I hope you have a wonderful memory making trip with your daughter.

Posted by
31471 posts

JoAnn,

Sounds like you have the liquids problem sorted. I hope you both have a wonderful and memorable trip!

Posted by
4455 posts

JoAnn, you didn't mention which country(s) you will travel. L'Oreal (hair products, etc.) is available all over Europe, and I've seen several American brands in the French Monoprix (similar to Target) stores along with large displays of sunscreen - remember seeing Neutrogena brand among others. Even if you do decide to bring it in a checked bag of luggage, I'd recommend stopping in a few stores, just so you'll know for (hopefully) your next trip. : )

Posted by
78 posts

We're taking the Rick Steves Best of Europe 21 day tour. Even without the toiletries I'm struggling to get everything in to a carryon bag. It will be tight but I really want to try. Thanks for the info on brand names. I will pick up some products when we arrive.
JoAnn

Posted by
9696 posts

JoAnn, you can also usually find Eucerin products as well. I'm doing the 21 day as well the end of Aug.

I'm just finishing another trip right now and today is day 21. I have used about 1/4 of my 2-oz containers of shampoo and conditioner but am down to the last of the hand cream and toothpaste. I am heading to the airport shortly so it has worked well.

I didnt mention it before but it has helped to change my technique for applying shampoo/conditioner. I guess when I didnt have to conserve I just globbed it on but now I use a small amount, rub between my hands and then apply that to front and back.

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
260 posts

Hi. You can get toothpaste pills from Amazon - very cheap - work very well, in my opinion (foam up like regular toothpaste when you swoosh around in your mouth! Listerine packets (the gel-like little ones) work as well as mouthwash. I use hotel shampoo and/or body wash as laundry detergent in the sink. I like the Lush products too but they are kind of heavy - the trade off for not having liquids, I guess. Fabric softener sheets work well to freshen your bag (and of course weigh nothing if you need them when you do laundry). It's lot of fun, however, to buy stuff in Europe as well - toothpaste (you can get all the usual brands) shampoo, conditioner, etc. But I always take my faves from home (especially the dry Lush shampoo as on my Adriatic trip few hotels had any shampoo you'd want to use). I also take my own conditoner - make sure you get a 3 ounce bottle - this holds quite a lot of conditioner!

Posted by
16 posts

I use a lot of Lush products. I share my toiletries out between mine and my husband's baggie, I reduce my toiletries where possible as well.
I bring Purex sheets for laundry--they pack flat and even have a strip of fabric softener (although I still bring Bounce sheets).
If I bring a liquid lotion, I make sure it is a perfumed one so I don't have to bring any perfume.
My solids from Lush include Trichomania coconut solid shampoo, King of skin solid body lotion, small amount of Angels on bare Skin facial scrub (not solid but I put 2 oz in a small container).

I get a lot of smaller sizes (especially meds like neopsorin, or foot powder) from a website called minimus.