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Ladies, how to manage toiletries??

I am hoping to use a carry on only for my next trip but can't for the life of me figure out how to stay within the 100 ml limit for liquids. Wondering how you all do it.
I am not what I would consider to be high maintenance but, at the bare minimum, need shampoo, hair gel, facial moisturizer with SPF and foundation. I would normally bring conditioner, mousse, hairspray, lotion, sunscreen and perfume but can live without those or get some of them there when I arrive. The idea of wasting precious vacation time hunting for the equivalent of a Walmart doesn't thrill me or seem reasonable/likely in many European cities..
At 50, I am fairly particular about which brands I use and they aren't the cheap ones so I can't imagine buying them when I arrive somewhere (and paying in euros or USD) only to have to throw most of it out for the return trip.

How do you all manage this?

Posted by
200 posts

I take most of the must-have items you mentioned. I put them into small Nalgene or silicone containers (1.7 - 3 oz. depending on the item). I also use contact cases for items like under eye cream that I don't need as much of. It all fits in a quart sized bag. I also have accepted that it is worth it to me to change my routine slightly versus home to be able to pack carry-on. For example, I switch to dry face-cleaning cloths and powder foundation. Good luck!

Posted by
2599 posts

I do the same as Sharon. I also do switch up some of the things I bring. For example, when I travel I use Oil of Olay dry face wipes and cut them in half. My daughter loves them and uses them even when not traveling but I must admit I prefer a cream. I have also experimented with alternatives to mousse before I travel and brought that instead. I did find a travel size of the mousse I like for this past trip though. Do an internet search and you might be surprised. I use Bare Minerals make up so that is powder not liquid which you could try and see if you like well enough. Also, see how much of things you actually need-put in a container and find out if lasts for length of your trip. I bring two ounces of shampoo and conditioner for example, not three for example. And I bring one ounce tube of hand lotion that I find at local grocery store.

I give the sunscreen to my husband to carry!

I would never deliberately go shopping in Europe. One time while in Helsinki I managed to arrive without a hairbrush or comb. In US, I would just go to nearest CVS or Walgreens. But there I had to figure out first where a hairbrush would be sold which turned out to be in a department store. I then had to locate one and then find where in this large store the brushes were sold. It all took several hours that I would much rather been doing something else!

Posted by
11368 posts

Which country are you visiting or countries?
One product to definitely bring from home is sunscreen as it is much more expensive in Europe.
Buy 3oz plastic containers and fill with your products.
I always use hotel shampoo. You do not get conditioner in European hotels so I only bring that in a i 3 oz container. We often travel for six weeks; you learn quickly to adjust. . Why would you have to throw out European purchased toiletries? Put them in your checked luggage sealed in doubled baggies for trip back to USA. Carry-on flying there, check a bag going home.

Posted by
4012 posts

I’m 52 and here’s what I do. Like you, I am brand sensitive at least with regard to skin care so I get travel sizes of my skin cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I love Kiehl’s brand and whenever I buy one of their products, they always give out 3 travel samples which I specifically request and keep them until I travel. I know have a lot stockpiled since I haven’t been to Europe since November 2019.

I buy shampoo and conditioner when I arrive in Europe at the recommendation of my hairdresser because it’s good for your hair when you use different brands of shampoo and conditioner on occasion. Plus they won’t take up valuable space in my clear plastic Ziploc bag! I buy my favorites from dm stores plus it’s fun trying something new. My hair is highlighted so I make sure the products I buy are for highlighted hair. I always have a tiny Dictionary with me to translate foreign words I don’t know. I don’t travel with hairspray. I just use barrettes, clips, or a hairband. I also buy hand cream and body lotion when I arrive. I do carry a small hand cream in the 311 and immediately take it out and put it in my purse once I’ve cleared security. But that doesn’t last the entire trip so I always buy more when I arrive. I have a travel perfume that is the size of my pinky that I only wear when I travel. I bought it at a duty-free store ages ago.

I don’t see going to a local drugstore as a waste of time when I arrive as I look forward to picking out products to use just for my trip. It’s one of the things I do the day I arrive to help fight Jetlag. And I think it’s fun. I’ve never found the equivalent of a Walmart anywhere so local drugstore chains like dm are great.

Posted by
9894 posts

The funny thing is European (especially French) suncscreen is a lot better than American. I take it home to my American family all the time.

Posted by
245 posts

I’ve found that I need a lot less of products than expected. Like someone else said, depending on the length of the trip, you probably don’t need 3 oz of every product. You can easily do a test run of this by filling your expected travel bottles and using them at home to see how long they last. For instance I can use a travel size mousse and hairspray for over two weeks. One mistake I made was not taking hair conditioner. Could you be happy with a bar of soap instead of shower gel? That would make one less liquid item. Likewise, I have recently discovered a lady’s Schick Intuition razor that doesn’t require shave gel (I found shave gel to be inordinately expensive in Europe, and even the small can overloaded my 3-1-1 bag). I have also purchased and used the Matador toiletry bottles and soap case in the RS Store. They are three ounces but seem to take up less space then the typical bottle, and since they’re made of a flexible material, they get smaller as you use the product (unlike a rigid plastic bottle). I use them for conditioner and face wash. We bought a large bottle of sunscreen at a pharmacy in Paris, and I liked it better than the typical American brands. I didn’t find it to be overly expensive. I did see a fellow tour member who had a stick of solid sunscreen-another way to reduce liquids. We had no trouble finding a large tube of toothpaste as well (took a tiny size one to get through the first couple days). Maybe also be on the lookout for various shapes and sizes of small containers in your life. I found that the empty jar from my eye cream worked well for 2-3 weeks worth of face moisturizer and it’s much smaller than a regular travel size container. I think if you’re traveling to a major European city, you’ll quickly stumble upon a pharmacy, but you will probably have to compromise on price and/or brand. And there’s nothing wrong with checking a bag if that’s what works for you.

Posted by
139 posts

It’s possible! I have skin/perfume allergies, and can only use my own products. I use the Tom Bihn 3D clear organizer cube for the 311 bag, to hold my liquids. This holds my shampoo (in a GoTube), small tub of face soap (Origins brand that is concentrated and foams well), full-size deodorant (hard to find unscented in the travel size), small toothpaste tube, chapstick. Found small pump spray bottles for hair gel. Tiny tub of face moisturizer. I even fit my prescription eczema crème tube in there. Ditto on the Oil of Olay dry face cloths—I also tear them in half or quarters. Sometimes I bring RS travel wash for hand-washing clothes.

My challenge is body lotion—I need a lot for 2 weeks. I carry the biggest bottle I’m allowed. (if my husband is with me, he carries a second bottle). I’ve experimented until I’ve found travel-size bottles that can “tetris” together in the Bihn bag. I have a second small flat pouch for dry things, like tweezers, meds, nail file, nail clipper, etc. I carry small dry detergent packs (unscented, Seventh Generation) for doing laundry.

I rarely wear face makeup. But Bare Minerals works well, and they used to have small sample packs at Ulta.

The key is to take what you’ll really use on your trip. Try an experiment: fill your travel bottles with products and see how long they last. 2 weeks? Longer? You may be surprised what you need more/less of.

Posted by
1604 posts

I use a lot of products too, and am brand loyal. I decant. Don't overestimate how much you'll need. 100 ml shampoo lasted me on a 30-day trip. I decant lotions into little pots too, though SPF wrecks them. My problem is always fitting them into the baggie for security, and not allowing consumable liquids to put me over carry on weight.

I would leave out your perfume, if something has to go. It's the most optional, in my opinion.

A few specific tips- IKEA has (or used to anyway) 100 ml squared off containers for travel. I use them for shampoo and conditioner as the shape makes them pack nicely. And Yves Rocher has 100 ml concentrated shower gel. Lasts and lasts - lovely light scents and not drying. (DH uses this product too and packs a shower puff in a zip lock, don't tell him I told you! Lol)

Posted by
1 posts

I have found a wide variety of solid shampoo, conditioner and lotions that I now carry. Leaves the liquid poach free to host other items.

Posted by
2253 posts

I am pretty picky with my toiletries, so do not buy them upon arrival. I color my hair, so I want my usual color safe shampoo for instance. Anyway, I swear by the Nalgene travel containers as they truly do not leak. I only use the 1 ounce containers as 3 ounces is way too much, even for a long trip. For the longer trips, I will only wash my hair every other day, but still use a tad bit of conditioner as otherwise it gets too tangly. So doing that conserves the shampoo a bit. For moisturizer, I put that into a contact lens case. Those are small and leakproof. For my makeup, I use Bare Minerals so those are not liquid and do not count. I do not use hairspray or perfume. I do take the Neutogena makeup remover wipes, but love the idea here to cut them in half! Oh and I do take a smaller hairbrush with me than what I use at home. At home I use a larger paddle brush as well as a round brush, but when we travel I take a travel size paddle brush and make do. I take the same one when we go backpacking in the mountains and space/weight are an issue.

Posted by
4946 posts

I decant lotions into little pots too, though SPF wrecks them

Yes! SPF chews away at the inexpensive plastic bottles I get at TJ Maxx. I have to put SPF lotions in the good nalgene bottles I bought at the Container Store.

On my last trip I brought this solid sunscreen from Target.

Posted by
907 posts

Like Barbara I've done some pretrip testing to see how much I actually need. The TSA rules on 3 oz limits have led us to believe that's what we should take. Instead I take a lot of smaller 1-2 is containers. You may need to search on line for them as the big box stores seems to only have the bigger ones.

Posted by
2523 posts

I second the suggestion to test out how much product you actually use over a week - you may be surprised how little (or much) you go through. I have cut my liquids down by more than half and still come home with plenty left over. I also use the contact lens case method for small amounts of creams (e.g., cortisone cream for eczema). My eye doctor is happy to hand over the flat/temporary type cases when I ask nicely. I cut them apart so they're easier to maneuver in the 3-1-1 bag.

I also have replaced some liquids with solid versions, such as shampoo and shaving soap - I cut them in smaller pieces for travel. Always test before you leave to make sure they work for you and don't cause allergic reactions.

Posted by
1259 posts

Men use toiletries and strange emollients, too. Just sayin'.

Basic cosmetics and specialized or luxury toiletries are easy to find. European consumers are every bit as picky and there really are stores everywhere, probably stocked with the international brands you already use.

You might visit and look for their articles on how to pack lightly and still enjoy having most of the items you feel make you comfortable.

Posted by
582 posts

I’m usually on a trip for about 2 weeks. Luckily, I don’t need specific brands or have sensitive skin issues. I’m a minimalist when it comes to makeup. I buy the smaller travel size items I need. I usually take the following:

For the 3-1-1 bag:
Shampoo & conditioner - 1.7 oz travel size
Jergens lotion - 2 oz travel size - may bring 2 of these.
Travel size toothpaste
Nasal spray
Face moisturizer - 2 oz in a container
Eye drops
Travel size hair spray (not aerosol)

Not required for 3-1-1 bag:
Bar soap - small hotel size or just cut off a piece of my Dial soap (I don’t use body wash). I’ll just use soap to shave my legs, no need to bring shaving gel.
Deodorant - 1.6 oz solid
Makeup - I only use face powder, powder blush, and bring a small eyeshadow just in case.

I’ll also use what the hotels give as available.

Posted by
27435 posts

I haven't been to The Container Store since 2019, but it used to carry Nalgene bottles from 1/2 oz. up. They are virtually indestructible and truly leak-proof, but they are also heavy and a bit bulky. I use the smallest size possible for each product, and I keep other small containers that cross my path. I use those for some less mission-critical products.

Tubes of toothpaste are bulky and heavy. That's another product for which you need to figure out much you need for the period of your trip.

Posted by
857 posts

I am also a bare minerals girl, which helps! And I also save samples - I do like the single use shampoo/conditioner combo, I frequently get them in my Walmart beauty box. (I also only shampoo 2x a week, so I can usually split one).

But for other ideas, I've bought airline amenity kits on ebay - not only do you get the bag, but you can get the super tiny tube of toothpaste, plus other travel sized things you might need - every amenity kit is different per airline, so it might be worth it to peruse.

Posted by
124 posts

I use a Bobbi Brown foundation stick for travel, which eliminates foundation as one of my liquids. Also, decant into your own travel containers that are right-sized for how much you'll actually need (probably less than you think for a 1-2 week trip). I also use RUSK brand hair volumizer and decant it into a small travel spray bottle, which will then last me for a month or more. Lots of brands make travel size versions of their products - do an Amazon search. They can be pricey for the amount you're getting, but I agree sometimes brand really matters, esp. for face and hair care.

Posted by
121 posts

I carry on almost no liquids anymore, after having switched to solid shampoo and conditioner, solid sunscreen, and toothpaste tablets. Powder foundation takes care of the makeup for you. That leaves you room for the other haircare and facial things you need. You can also get a solid balm to use instead of lotion, or use the lotion that hotels provide. As others have said, 100ml/3.4 oz of products should last you for weeks, so you should be able to carry-on no issue. It can be tricky to wrap your head around first, but it's amazing how much you don't need once you start trying. Good luck!

Posted by
3249 posts

Last trip in 2019, I went with carryon only for the first time for a 16 day trip.
Here's what I did two months ahead of time.

Gather up the smallest containers and bottles you can find.
Decide which products you can't live without, and fill your tiny containers with them.
Then, use ONLY these containers for the next month, and track how long each one lasts in days or weeks.
Then you will know if your containers will work for your trip!
I bought GoTub teeny jars (the smallest ones) from Amazon, and put my face cream, toothpaste and hair putty in those three...they come in sets of three.
I was amazed that I actually had some left over after two and a half weeks of my experiment.
Shampoo and sunscreen went in tiny bottles of about 30 mls each.
I took a shampoo/conditioner combo.
I also brought dry deodorant and sunscreen sticks...not liquid.
For removing makeup, I brought wipes...those are not liquids so are ok.
I poured some hairspray into a tiny spray bottle.
My biggest liquid was a travel size hair mousse.
Hand cream was a teeny tube, and I bought more on arrival.
Perfume is a tiny tin of solid scent.
Every one of these liquids bottles and containers fit just fine into an airline size-approved clear bag.

If I did it, you can do it....and I like my toiletries!!
You're only going on a trip, so you can compromise a bit.

The other thing is, it's lots of fun to browse European drugstores and perfume/cosmetic shops.
They are on every street corner inmost European cities; so it is reasonable, and likely, that you won't have to search for them.
I now bring back all kinds of products that I don't see here at home....of course , you would have to check those on return, or use them up while you are there.

Posted by
4946 posts

The other thing is, it's lots of fun to browse European drugstores and perfume/cosmetic shops.

And they make fun and useful souvenirs.

Posted by
14285 posts

I'm with everyone who says to do a trial run to see how much you'll really need over your travel period. I also am careful about how I apply shampoo. I do a small dab, rub it between my hands and then apply one hand to my forehead hairline and one to the nape of my neck and bring them together. I have short hair and tend to use more than I need at home.

I usually pack in a carry on size suitcase but check it however, for my Fall trip, I'm going to actually carry on so have gone back to being cognizant of how much I'll need of things.

I'm sensitive to many products so need to bring my own shampoo and conditioner. I've been taking a 3oz container of shampoo but I'm only going for 3 weeks this trip so I'll fill a smaller GoToob and trial it for the length of my trip to see if it works. I do need hair "paste" so have that decanted into a small round container. Small tube of toothpaste or if I'm gone a long time I get 2 small tubes so I can throw one out when it's gone. I sometimes have skin issues so carry Seabreeze with me. Eye drops, several different chapsticks or the like, and yes I take more than one. I traveled with one, one time and lost it and was desperate. The Italian substitute was not to my liking! Of course I've never lost one since then, haha!

I use a crystal deodo so no liquids there.

Several years ago I tried Lush shampoo bars and my hair did not like them. I understand they work well for others!

Hand/body lotion, I can sometimes use the hotel provided lotion or the brand Eucerin is a German company which is available both in the US and in Europe. If I need lotion or cream, I'll get this brand as it's often hypoallergenic.

Start by finding out how much you use! When do you leave?

PS I saw a tip years ago from a flight attendant. She said to keep your 3-1-1- ziplock packed tight when not traveling as it can stretch out a bit and give you a teeny bit more space! I'm not sure if that is true....YMMV.

Posted by
7465 posts

I take the Crystal Mineral deodorant that’s available on Amazon. It’s unscented, a small 1.5 oz. and lasts forever. I even take it out of the hard plastic base and cover and just keep it in the smallest Ziploc snack bag. It doesn’t leave a film on clothes so much easier to sinkwash clothes. It doesn’t need to go in your TSA 311 bag.

To remove makeup & also because there aren’t washcloths in most European hotels, I use the dry Oil of Olay sensitive skin cloths with the cleansing ingredients water-activated. I use this these to remove my makeup, and they don’t irritate my skin. I used to cut them in half. Now I use one per day to make sure my face is clean. These also don’t need to go into your TSA bag.

For toothpaste, I use the travel ones from the dentist, BUT those aren’t full. Open it and squeeze it very slowly until the toothpaste is at the opening. (This is to remove the air.). Place a regular tube nose-to-nose with it; hold them tightly together and squeeze the regular tube. It will fill up the travel one. I used to travel often for work, and I regularly did this quick refill. For a 3-week trip, I can easily get by with three of them, or if I’m really careful, just two.

I sunburn very easily. I always wear foundation. I like the Clinique redness solutions, and for a 4-week trip, I still can’t use up the amount that goes into a tiny sample jar that’s the size of about 5 quarters stacked.

I use the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer moisturizing face serum 60spf for my shoulders and arms. It’s in a 1.7 oz size.

A lot of hotels don’t provide any hair conditioner. One year I had the flu at home and had to cancel a haircolor appointment. To bridge my hair to the next appointment, I bought a home color kit. When I saw the concentrated conditioner provided in a small squeeze tube, I kept it for my trip! I was able to just use a dab for a whole 3-week trip. Another option is to take a concentrated conditioner or your favorite one, and let it sit out in a small dish for several days to allow more of the water to evaporate. Then place in a tiny container. You could place your hair gel in a similar container.

I don’t usually use lotion, but my skin was getting dry in Nice, France one year, so I stopped into the L’Occitane shop and bought a lovely 1oz. Rose scent tube.

Also in the 311 bag is an eyebrow mascara, an eye mascara, lipstick, & Burts Bees lip balm. I found out on my trip in June that I don’t want to apply the Burts Bees when I will be wearing a mask! It has peppermint or something menthol possibly that made my nose & eyes tickle!

My toiletry bag is 10x4.5x2”. After I am through TSA security, I slip that Ziploc bag into the toiletry bag that has my comb and other items in it.

I, along with others who have mentioned it, are allergic to many women’s perfumes and men’s colognes. It will trigger an instant headache and sinus issues. So, my suggestion would be to leave the perfume at home.

Posted by
14285 posts

@Jean…the small crystal deodos are at Fred Meyer in the natural food section as well as at Pilgrims! In case you drop yours and it breaks because they never wear our, lol.

Posted by
531 posts

All I can say is if you have TSA precheck (worth every penny), they will not check your liquids. Bring as many as you want in travel size containers. I've had TSA PreCheck for many years, and have departed from many different US airports, and not once have they scrutinized how much liquid I had with me. I only carry on and haven't abided by the 311 rule since I first got TSA PreCheck and realized they don't bother checking. Wasn't worth the hassle anymore.

And remember, you're not traveling to a third world country, most European cities have will have what you need. If you need a specialty item (for example, I only use one specific kind of contact lens cleaner), bring enough for you the length of your trip. But you can easily find most everyday items there without issue.

On the way back home, however, is when liquids become an issue. Some European airports are sticklers about this. Dump anything you don't need to bring home before you get to the airport. And don't forget to dump your bottle of water, that's what I always seem to forget!

Posted by
14285 posts

Bring as many as you want in travel size containers. I've had TSA PreCheck for many years and not once have they scrutinized how much liquid I had with me.

It must depend on the airport because although I have GE thus Pre-check, I almost always have to take my liquids out. It particularly used to happen when I left out of a smaller airport than my current one. My last trip in April was the first time in ages I didn’t have to remove my 3-1-1 bag and my ziplock of snacks.

I’ve also had to remove the 3-1-1 bag when reentering the US after going thru Immigration and Customs, both in Salt Lake City and Seattle.

AMann and I fly out of the same airport.

Even though OP is likely not coming back thru the US, I encourage you to be strict about adhering to your liquid amounts unless you are prepared to dump some of them.

Posted by
16 posts

Hi bxrlover! If, by chance, you arrive first in London, here's my tip. Boots and Marks and Spencer chain stores are widespread and will have what you need. If you are arriving in London at Paddington Station your best bet may be the Boots chain chemist (pharmacy) in the station, which will have reasonable prices. I think there is a Marks and Spencer (which the Brits refer to fondly as "Marks and Sparks") there, too. You will be able to get your products first thing, so no time and effort wasted. Other large train stations - King's Cross, Victoria, Euston, Waterloo - will also be able to oblige. It seems there is a Boots on every corner....

If arriving in Paris, look for pharmacies, which are always marked by a green neon cross sign. It's been a while, but I think there should be one of these in Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. Paris department stores are fun to visit anyway, but prepare yourself for high prices there.

Best wishes for a fabulous trip!

Posted by
16 posts

If you decide to leave your washcloth at home and buy one there, know that in Britain they are called "face flannels." I had a very frustrating experience asking everywhere for "washcloths." Most people in Europe use sponges for bathing. Now a carry a washcloth wherever I go - my riff on Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. ;)

Enjoy your adventure!

Posted by
130 posts

Deodorant sticks don't need to go in your liquids bag and Dove makes one now that works very well for me. It is a refillable deodorant stick system that is in a plastic/metal looking cylinder. The cylinder itself is bulky and heavy for the light traveler and I don't use that part. I just buy one of the refills, which comes in it's own litlle plastic case. It is a very large quantity of deodorant in a very small, efficient package. I've always been annoyed at the waste of space and small amount of product in travel sized deodorants and this was exactly what I was looking for.

Posted by
7465 posts

Here’s the official from the TSA site:

So… you might be wondering what types of deodorant have to go in the baggies, and what types don’t.
Stick deodorant is fine in any size. Well, almost any size… (insert photo of a cannon size deodorant) Powders and crystals are good to go as well.
Spray, Gel, Liquid, Cream, Pastes, and Roll-On deodorants need to be in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces and placed in a clear quart-sized baggie.

My husband’s deodorant looked like a stick but was actually a gel.

Posted by
1594 posts

I use small travel size containers for toiletries and meds. My favorite ones are from Muji (

Posted by
355 posts

So many fabulous suggestions!! Thank you. This place is such an incredible resource.

I am happy to realize that my understanding of the rule (100ml total vs per container) was wrong. This is totally doable for me, especially with some of these ideas. Love the idea of using a powder or stick foundation, stick sunscreen and concentrating my conditioner and I never considered testing myself to try and see how much I use in a 2 week period by decanting my stuff into travel sized containers.

I think I could probably get deodorant, toothpaste and sunscreen at just about any airport I land at.

Thank you all so much. I am excited to make the leap from checked bag to carryon. Now to find the perfect bag…..:)

Posted by
3249 posts

So happy we could help you a bit!
Now, can people who have used the crystal or rock type deodorants tell me how efficient you have found them to be?

Posted by
7465 posts

@SJ, I purchased this one before my 2018 trip to Italy with low expectations that it would actually work. I had used Sure or Secret antiperspirant for years, but they didn’t have travel sizes in the unscented option. I wanted to downsize from the normal container I always brought.

I was surprised that there was no odor even on hot days, and my clothes stay cleaner in the armpit area. Since it’s not an antiperspirant, you will have moisture, but I find it to be minimal. I should add that for everyday use I alternate now with using the crystal deodorant and using a Suave antiperspirant. If I am in a hurry, I use the Suave because it takes a couple of minutes for the crystal dipped in water to dry. I’m probably at this ratio - crystal 5/Suave 2 per week.

Pam mentioned dropping the crystal, and it brought back a funny memory. My last day in Italy during the 2018 trip, I was thinking about how careful I should be so I don’t drop the crystal….and then I proceeded to drop it! It broke off a piece, but the larger piece was still usable.

Posted by
700 posts

You can also melt and repackage your regular stick deodorant.

I cut off a big chunk (my usual is Dove Sensitive skin), melt it in the microwave in a Pyrex measuring cup, and pour it into a container similar to this:

A container this size lasts me more than 2 weeks. When I get home, I just scrape out what’s left, melt it in with a new batch, and pour it back in the same container.

Much less extra packaging and I can use the product that works for me.

Also, for perfume: you can drip your regular perfume onto a couple of cotton balls (just enough to get them damp, not dripping), and put them in a tiny travel container. Now it no longer counts as a liquid.

ETA: you could also try a co-wash instead of shampoo. I use Aveda’s Be Curly Co-Wash, which my hairdresser recommends for all hair types. Since it doesn’t strip the oil out of your hair, you won’t need conditioner. I haven’t used it for years and don’t need to pack that extra bottle.

Posted by
14285 posts

Instead of wetting the deodorant stone, I just put it on damp pits. If I’ve waited too long after my shower and they are dry, I just dampen my hands, dampen my armpits with them and apply. The worst thing is if you drop the stone and it leaves a sharp edge. Ouch!!

Now to find the perfect bag…..:

The Holy Grail….!!! 😆👑🏆🥇😆

Let us know what you decide! I’m thinking I want an 18”, 2-wheeler, 5# or less.

Posted by
198 posts

After traveling on 4 European trips and 1 SE Asian trip for up to 3 weeks I have never needed a liquid that was over .5 ounces. I’ve never used 3 ounces of anything in that amount of time. For a sunscreen stick I’ve packed the Supergoop 40 spf which is relatively expensive but very easy to apply on-the-go and not a liquid.

Posted by
2402 posts

Be picky about the bag you use for your 311. A regular quart ziplock isn’t going to optimize your space. Get the kind with the pleated bottom. Better yet, buy a plastic one like this: Clear Make Up Bag, Lermende TSA 3pcs Approved Makeup Bag Organizer & Cosmetic Bag for Women With Zipper, Quart Size Carry On Clear Toiletry Bag Airport Compliant Toiletries For Travel

Don’t put things in your 311 that aren’t necessary: solid deodorant, chapstick, lipstick, etc.

I found tiny spray bottles about the width of your pinky for perfume (and anti-fog spray for my glasses when wearing a mask). Could be used for hairspray.

I also put my moisturizer in contacts lense cases. Works great. One case lasts about two weeks. Do the trial run as suggested- you’ll probably find you use a lot less product than you realize.

There are pharmacies on every corner in every city. Train stations usually have stores open 7 days a week. They’ll all have the basics. I once forgot to pack my hairbrush and just picked one up at the local grocery in a very small town in Austria. No big deal.

Posted by
27435 posts

I have had a problem sourcing anti-perspirant in regular stores in Europe. All I ever see is roll-ons, and usually not in small sizes. Those liquids are a lot heavier than solids. I've finally learned that a travel-size solid anti-perspirant lasts just about 6 weeks for me. When I travel for over 3 months, I take 3. It's annoying, but three of the travel size weigh less than one full-size anti-perspirant. Traveling in the summer as I do, a plain deodorant
isn't adequate for me.

Posted by
2491 posts

travel4fun, I have that bag and it's great. Very sturdy and roomy.

Posted by
3249 posts

Thanks for the crystal deodorant info.
I think I’ll stick to a regular solid one.
They are under 100 mls, but don’t need to go in the liquids bag.
Yesterday I bought a bar shampoo to try out, to see if my hair likes it.
If so, one less liquid for “the bag of bottles”.

I will take carryon this Fall.....just less room for any shopping. 🙁, but hopefully no lost bag!

Posted by
359 posts

Great ideas!
To add to these, I am a huge fan of Earthling shampoo and conditioner bars. I often use them at home because I like the results.
Also, I just ordered Bite toothpaste and mouthwash bits and gave them a try. While they would not be my preference for daily use, they were sufficient and I can always pick up some regular toothpaste once I arrive.
In the current situation, I am willing to do just about anything to achieve carry on only!

Posted by
2 posts

You can also buy tooth powders. I really like the Eco-Dent brand but there are others. One side of a contact lense case can last several months.

Posted by
676 posts

I do many of the above, I have all sorts of small bottles that I use, including contact lens cases. The one thing I recommend is label everything not only with what it is but the brand. I've switched things around (like shampoo/conditioner, face lotion) and I don't want to mix stuff. Oh, and you can probably get along with using less shampoo and conditioner, try it at home. I watch a YouTube channel from a gal who lives frugally and she dilutes her s/c and it lasts for years! And yes, her hair looks nice. I like going into drugstores in various countries if I go past them (like Boots in the UK) but if I didn't bring something and had to hunt for it it might not be as much fun. And bring as much sunscreen as you can, or try that stick one someone recommended, it's ridiculously expensive in Europe, especially Italy.

Posted by
2491 posts

What do you guys put in the contact lense container? I was thinking maybe eye cream but mine is already so small it won't really be saving space.

Posted by
355 posts

“What do you guys put in the contact lense container? I was thinking maybe eye cream but mine is already so small it won't really be saving space.”

I am wondering the same thing. Can’t imagine each compartment holds more than 5 mls.

Posted by
3249 posts

I agree with bringing your own sunscreen, as it really is expensive in Europe, and in the UK.
Last trip I took solid stick sunscreen, not liquid, and it was just fine.
It wasn’t a huge stick, but it did me for two weeks in Italy.
I’ve just bought one for going in the Fall.
The good thing is, the stores here are already selling off their summer inventory, so I see suncare products on sale already!
Now I’m on the hunt for a tiny solid perfume......

Posted by
27435 posts

The little contact lens cases make nice purse-size containers for creams and ointments used in small quantities. I've used them for my prescription eczema cream. I try not to take entire tubes of things like that, because they usually are much larger than I need even for a long trip, and metal tubes tend to get bent and punctured when they're packed in a full purse or toiletry bag. So I often take a tiny container of the huge ointment in my purse and a somewhat larger plastic container in my toiletry bag.

The Container Store used to carry small containers with snap-on lids that have been leak-proof for me. They're made by Humangear, the GoToob folks, and called GoTubbs. I believe they come in different sizes; mine are labeled "14 cc" on the bottom.

I've found I cannot totally trust the contact lens containers I've tested over the course of a long trip when they're jammed into my purse, so when I use those, they go inside a small zip-lock bag. These days, if in doubt about the quantity of ointment needed, I bypass the contact-lens containers and use the somewhat larger, snap-top GoTubbs.