Essential toiletries for your travel adventures

Best Essential Toiletries for Travel

Updated 5/4/2022

One of the most common questions my husband, Chris, and I are often asked is, “What should I pack for a trip?” or “What are the essential toiletries that I need for travel overseas?

We’ve all heard the famous phrase from a credit card commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” Perhaps more important to you fellow travelers is knowing the must-have toiletries for travel in your bag.

“What’s in your toiletry kit?”

Instagram content quote happiness is exploring the world with your best friend

Best Travel Bag Essentials for Travel

If you are a first-time traveler, or even a seasoned traveler, learning a few NEWtricks of the trade” helps to streamline the packing process. My husband, Chris, often travels for business and offers the Ultimate Guide to Planning Travel if you want to delve deeper.

You will find that business travelers have packing and all things travel-related planned to perfection.

AND…I have made your life easier by creating a variety of Packing List Freebies for women (including a list of the must have toiletries for travel that you might need), for men, for your personal travel bag, for international travel, for domestic travel, for planning your vacation, and even for the “last-minute things to do” right before walking out the door on vacation.

Download the FREE International Travel Planner to access these lists

👇👇👇 using the form below. 👇👇👇

This travel planner works great for travel close to home as well.

You’re welcome!

Are you a gadget guy like my husband? You’ll appreciate these recommendations on the 14 Genius Gadgets for Travel.

This post explores the essential toiletries in your bag with links to Amazon for convenience. Because, let’s face it, who doesn’t like to shop at Amazon and have it show up on your doorstep a few days later?

Before we start talking about some of my favorite travel products, let’s back it up a little and discuss your luggage or travel bags to transport your essential toiletries.

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Best Travel Toiletries Case—Luggage and Organization

Since I often pack the medicine and some basic toiletries for the whole family when we travel, my toiletry bag is sometimes a bigger checked bag. Oh, I can streamline and downsize for a trip when space is limited, especially if it just my husband and me traveling, or if it is just easier to carry-on our luggage without checking. Generally, I like to have all of my “stuff” with me—a small comfort of home when I am traveling.

Here are two toiletry bag options that work well as checked luggage:

TravelPro MaxLite 5-Lightweight Underseat Carry-on Travel Tote

TravelPro MaxLite 5-Lightweight Underseat Carry-on Travel Tote

Samsonite Pro Softside Duffel Bag

Samsonite Pro Softside Duffel

If you plan to carry-on your luggage and toiletries, you might consider this BagSmart Hanging Toiletry Bag. My girls and I love it for the convenience and organization for all of our essential toiletries.

Bagsmart Hanging toiletry bag

Remember that all liquids in your carry on need to be less than 3.4 oz in size!

When counter space is minimal in a hotel bathroom or Airbnb, these hanging bags are ideal and don’t take up a lot of extra space.

Not YOUR favorite products? Click through ANY link and search on Amazon for YOUR must have toiletries for travel.

HINT * You can also check the travel-size products where you like to shop for smaller-sized options of your favorite products. If your favorites aren’t available in smaller sizes, travel toiletries containers [affiliate] are the perfect size to fill with your go-to shampoo, conditioner, or body wash. These bottles meet TSA guidelines, and cut down on full-size beauty products that take up precious real estate in your bag of essential toiletries.

Another great find are small Containers with Twist-off Lids for items such as lotion, tablets, and vaseline.

And don’t forget Mini Spray Bottles too! I fill mine with my leave-in conditioner or laundry stain remover.

Perhaps I am EXTRA CAREFUL (I have had hair gel leak all over my essential toiletries in my luggage), so I recommend that you use zippered plastic bags to store products that may leak. It is just better to be safe than sorry.

If you want to go a little fancier on the travel bags, Chris and I both use Water Resistant Travel Pouches as well. They are versatile for your essential toiletries, snacks, and essential gadgets.

Essential Travel Toiletries—Hair Products

Now, let’s talk about hair products because they can potentially take up a lot of space. And really, who wants to be without their favorite products? Everyone wants to look great on vacation and for all of the Instagrammable moments.

Most hotels and many Airbnbs provide a hair dryer.

If you have curly hair, a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment might be one of your must have toiletries for travel. You can’t always count on a diffuser being provided in your accommodations.

Universal hair diffusers are a lot easier to pack than searching for a travel hair dryer with a diffuser that also has a dual voltage option.

Do you use a Flat Iron, Curling Iron, or other styling product? These are a few of my girls’ favorites:

These appliances take up space in your essential toiletries, so if you need to pack lightly, just ask yourself, “Do I really need them?”

I like to take my own hair products instead of using the shampoos and conditioners that hotels provide. If you plan to stay in an Airbnb or other lodging, you will definitely need to bring your own shampoo and conditioner as they are not usually provided. You will also want to plan for your own hair gel, leave-in conditioner, and hair spray if you use them.

shampoo 4522695 1920

I buy full-size product for home use and fill my Small Travel Bottles with my favorites.

Not YOUR favorite products? Click through ANY link and search on Amazon for YOUR essential toiletries.

Don’t forget to tuck in your favorite comb, hair pick, brush, or round brush for styling as well as scrunchies, “ouchless” hair bands, elastic bands, and bobby pins [affiliates].

Must Have Toiletries for Travel—Beauty Products

Let’s start out with the most important beauty product of them all—PCA Skin Active Broad Spectrum SPF 45 sunscreen with zinc oxide, sweat and water resistant. I’ve got my whole family, husband included, hooked on this stuff. It should be one of your essential toiletries that you wear everyday whether you are traveling or not!!!

Beauty products are amazing right? Before I apply my sunscreen in the morning, whether I am on vacation or not, I start with Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti Aging Serum. Not only does it smell like an orange grove, it also helps to keep your skin looking young. I love this stuff!

You’re going to be in vacation pictures (hopefully) so you should look beautiful!

I may not use Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipe Singles [affiliates] in my everyday beauty routine at home, but I definitely use them when I travel. They are so handy and eliminate the space other products take.

Not YOUR favorite products? Click through ANY link and search on Amazon for YOUR essential toiletries.

Essential Toiletries for Travel—Basic Toiletries

We’ve covered hair and beauty, now for a few of the basics.

toothpaste 3067570 1920

Maybe you could do without some of them, maybe you don’t want to. It all depends on the space you have available.

Must Have Toiletries for Travel—Meds

  • Refresh Tears – Airplane travel seems to dry my eyes out. These drops really help.
  • Nasal Spray for allergies – Sadly allergies do not take a break for vacation, this nasal spray is my go-to allergy “fender offer” all year long.
  • Unisom – A non-habit forming nighttime sleep aid. It helps me adjust to a new time zone as I arrive in-country and when I return home again.
  • Advil
  • Excedrin

Handy tip * Fill an empty TicTac container with your meds and be sure to label it with proper dosing instructions.

Airborne Effervescent Tabs and Gummies – I don’t like to be sick at the best of times, so the last place I want to come down with a cold is on vacation.

Off! Deep Wood Mosquito and Insect Repellent Wipes – I usually tuck a few packets of Off! Wipes in my bag. After river rafting in New Zealand on one of our 10 Best Adventures Around the World, my legs were attacked by tiny little biting bugs and I pulled out these wipes to keep the bugs at bay.

Clorox Wipes – With current Covid germs, you can never be too safe. When you get back to traveling, add a small pack of Clorox Wipes to your bag of essential toiletries for a little peace of mind.

Bandages – Putting together a small first aid kit is a great idea.

Blister Bandaid – If you walk as much as our family does on vacation, you might just end the day with a blister or two. These help to ease the discomfort.

Moleskin – Another resource for those pesky blisters.

Not YOUR favorite products? Click through ANY link and search on Amazon for YOUR essential toiletries.

Essential Toiletries for Travel—Laundry

All Laundry Pods/Tabs – If you plan a vacation that last longer than a week, you will likely need to do some laundry. I take these pods because they are easy to use and I know how the detergent affects my family’s skin. Try the Tide Sink Packets if you have a few small items.

Tide To Go Stain Remover [affiliates] – Spills and accidents will happen. Take care of them when they do.

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Final Thoughts on the Best Essential Toiletries for Travel

Seems like a great big list huh? Once you begin packing and recognize the importance of travel-size products, you should be able to find a place for everything.

Is there something that I am missing? Have a favorite product you want to recommend? What are your tips and tricks? What are your favorite must have toiletries for travel?

Leave a note in the comments below.

Obviously, these are a lot of the products that I use. Choose items that are your favorites and enjoy a “beautiful” vacation!

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1 year ago

This is a wonderful list! Thanks for making it!

A Paul
1 year ago

This is so helpful! thanks for sharing.

1 year ago

This is so helpful, especially with places opening up now and people traveling more now!! I am keeping this list in mind when we go on our next trip!!

1 year ago

Yes! Airborne always! But I always forget insect repellant…that’s a good one!

1 year ago

I have found memories of going into the travel section and buying miniature toiletries for traveling. It was one of the highlights of the trip. These days, though, I much prefer filling smaller containers. A lot more convenient and less waste. Not as much excitement, though. Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas!

Linda (LD Holland)
1 year ago

I used to carry original bottles but my home bottles are very big. Finding great carry on sized re-fillable bottles was a life saver. I usually resort to cutting my hair short for long trips to reduce the hair product and styling products I carry. The one thing we buy over and over again is Aloe for sunscreens. Really should be in my toiletry kit.

1 year ago

This is a great list! I particularly like the Tide stain remover, such a good idea!

1 year ago

My mum won’t travel with any other type of plastic zip bags other than Ziploc, so it’s funny you’ve mentioned them here as essential! This is a great list you’ve put together – I always end up forgetting something!

1 year ago

Ziplock are my go-to favourites. I use the extra large as clothes bags too. I pack them by outfits making it so simple to when travelling.

1 year ago

This is a great list! After so long without travelling, I need a reminder of essential items to pack! Thanks for the great guide!

1 year ago

So glad you included blister bandaids! They’re a life saver on trips with lots of walking and if you have sensitive, blister-prone skin like me

1 year ago

Thanks for this post, is very useful 😊

1 year ago

Great list! Very detailed; I like to use ziplock bags to sort out my products too! One thing I need to remember to pack is blister bandaids; those would definitely come in handy!

1 year ago

Great list. I also use zip lock bags for shampoo and such. I once had an explosion of shampoo in a suitcase. It came on shoes and more.

1 year ago

These are great suggestions for travel necessities! I always feel like I need make-up and hygiene items to freshen up after a long day of travel. Thanks for sharing!

Dominic Dela Cruz
1 year ago

Great post and very useful for our next trip!

mihaela |

Great selection! Packing toiletries is the most important part of getting ready to travel (it is to me, at least!:)))

Krysten Quiles
1 year ago

So helpful! I’ll be traveling soon, so I’m pinning this.

Julia Rees
1 year ago

This is such a helpful post! I often forget things and have to spend the first few hours dashing to the supermarket!
Julia x

Josy A
1 year ago

Goodness what a good (but long) list! I have to admit, I normally bring a fraction of this but I totally agree about your tip of storing it all in zip lock bags. They have saved me from spills plenty of times. 🙂

1 year ago

this is a really great list! i love to see the everyday Ziplocks on the list, because they really do come in handy for carry-on travel.

6 months ago

This is a great list, I always have a separate bag for toiletries and always take my own, I love the list