Essential toiletries for your travel adventures

Best Essential Toiletries for Travel

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One of the most common questions my husband, Chris, and I are often asked is, “What should I pack for a trip?”

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 essential toiletries for your travel bag. “What’s in your toiletry kit?”

We’ll talk about what to pack in your suitcase in another post! Stay tuned.

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

Best Carry-on 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. Chris often travels for business and offers A Frequent Traveler’s Most Important Travel Tips.

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, for men, for your carry-on, for international travel, for domestic travel, for planning your vacation, and even for the last-minute items to do before walking out the door on vacation (including a list of the essential toiletries you might need).

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 our recommendations on the 14 Genius Gadgets for Travel as well.

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?

As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This page may contain affiliate links. I would love your support through clicking on the links. Read the full disclosure here.

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.

Essential Toiletries for Travel – Luggage and Organization

Since I often pack the medicine and some basic toiletries for the whole family, my toiletry bag is often a bigger checked bag. Oh, I can streamline and downsize for a trip when space is limited, if it just my husband and me traveling, or if it is just easier to carry-on our luggage without checking, but 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(affiliate)

TravelPro MaxLite 5-Lightweight Underseat Carry-on Travel Tote

Samsonite Pro Softside Duffel Bag(affiliate)

Samsonite Pro Softside Duffel

If you plan to carry-on your luggage and toiletries, you might consider this BagSmart Hanging Toiletry Bag(affiliate) that my girls love for the convenience and organization for their essential toiletries.

Bagsmart Hanging toiletry bag

Remember that all liquids 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 essential toiletries.

HINT * Check the travel-size products where you like to shop for smaller-sized options of your favorite products. If your favorites aren’t available, Plastic Bottles(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.

TSA Approved plastic travel bottles

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

Travel Containers Silicone with Twist Lid

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

Fine Mist Spray Travel Bottles

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

Ziploc bags also come in handy for packing your products based on your nighttime or morning routines.

Ziploc Slider Storage Bags Gallon

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

Water-resistant Mesh Zipper Bags for Storage

Essential Toiletries for Travel – 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 photography moments.

Most hotels and many airbnbs provide a hair dryer. Travel-sized hair dryers fold for compact storage. For international travel, they need to have dual voltage. With my curly hair, a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment is definitely one of my essential toiletries.

Do you use a flat iron, curling iron, or other styling product? These are a few of my girls’ favorites:

NuMe Hair Straightener Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron
T3 - SinglePass Curl 1.25 Inch Professional Ceramic Curling Iron

These appliances take up space in your essential toiletries, so if you plan 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.

shampoo 4522695 1920

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

Shampoo (affiliate)

It's a 10 Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin

Conditioner (affiliate)

It's a 10 Silk Express Miracle Silk Conditioner

Styling Gel (affiliate)

Brocato Holdon Styling Gel

Leave-in Conditioner(affiliate) – I transfer this to a Fine Mist Spray Bottle(affiliate).

Infusium Repair & Renew Leave-in-treatment Spray

Frizz Ease Aerosol Hairspray(affiliate) – Available in a convenient travel size ’cause there ain’t no way your transferring hairspray from an aerosol can!

John Frieda Frizz Ease Hairspray 2 oz

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(affiliate).

Essential Toiletries for Travel – Beauty Products

Beauty products.

Let’s start out with the most important one of them all—PCA Skin Active Broad Spectrum SPF 45(affiliate) 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!!!

PCA SKIN Active Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Sunscreen

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(affiliate) . Not only does it smell like an orange grove, it also helps to keep your skin looking young. I love this stuff!

IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating AntiAging Serum

It is all about the layers, and my next layer after the Vital C is my PCA Skin sunscreen. Then, I apply Pore-fessional Pro Balm Face Primer(affiliate). I was skeptical at first, but it really does help fill in pores and smooth skin in preparation for foundation. This primer does come in a convenient travel size(affiliate) as well.

Pore fessional face primer

Add a little bareMinerals Concealer(affiliate) if you need it. (Make sure you find the color that best matches your skin.)

bareMinerals concealer with SPF 20

Now the foundation. No joke, this is the full name of it: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream – Color Correcting Cream, Full-Coverage Foundation, Anti-Aging Serum & SPF 50+ Sunscreen(affiliate). It is a good as its name is long.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream SPF 50+

Bring a Sponge Makeup Blender(affiliate) to create a smooth finish.

Real Techniques Makeup Sponge

I also like to use BareMinerals Matte Foundation(affiliate). Either is a good option for a foundation.

Bareminerals matte foundation powder

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

Here are a few of my other favorite beauty products:

Makeup Brushes(affiliate) – you may not need all of these (or maybe this set isn’t enough!), but the set should cover most of your brush needs.

Bamboo makeup brush set

Cover Girl Face Powder(affiliate)

COVERGIRL Professional Loose Finishing Powder

Eyebrow Brush(affiliate)

Maybelline Eyebrow Brush Comb

Eyelash Curler(affiliate)

Eyelash Curler Kit

Avon Liquid Eyeliner(affiliate)

Avon precise true color liquid eyeliner

L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara(affiliate) – Waterproof

L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes Waterproof Mascara

IT Ombre Radiance Blush(affiliate)

It Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Ombre Blush

Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette(affiliate) – I don’t wear eyeshadow, but my girls love this stuff.

Urban Decay Naked3 Rosy Eyeshadow Palette

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipe Singles(affiliate) – I may not use these 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.

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipe Singles

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.

Blistex(affiliate) – I am pretty much addicted to the stuff.

Blistex medicated lip balm

Toothbrush(affiliate) – Well, I am hoping this is on your list.

Colgate Extra Clean Full Head Toothbrush Soft

Toothpaste(affiliate) – And the toothpaste too. They come in convenient travel-size tubes.

Crest Complete Whitening Plus Scope Toothpaste Travel Size

Dental Floss(affiliate) – Your dentist will thank me if you pack your floss.

Oral B guide dental floss

Razor(affiliate) – For legs as smooth as silk.

Gillette Venus sensitive razors

Deodorant(affiliate) – You are likely to find smaller sizes in the travel section of your favorite store.

dove advanced care deodorant

Q-tips(affiliate) – For all those hard to reach little places in a convenient little travel pack.

On the go Q-tips pack

Perfume(affiliate) – Look for a handy little roller ball for your favorite scent.

Calvin Klein Euphoria Travel Perfume roller ball

Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion(affiliate) – I find that my skin dries out when I travel and Gold Bond is a great lotion for moisturizing.

Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion Travel Size

Hand Sanitizer Pump and Travel Size(affiliate) – I like to keep a pump for the bathroom and a few travel size containers for my carry-on and backpack.

Germ-x hand sanitizer pump

Sunscreen(affiliate) – Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the rest of your exposed skin. When you are in the sun sightseeing all day long, you won’t always realize that you are burning until it is too late. That doesn’t make for a fun vacation.

Banana boat sport sunscreen spf 30

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

Essential Toiletries for Travel – Meds & Girl Stuff

Refresh Tears(affiliate) – Airplane travel seems to dry my eyes out. These drops really help.

Refresh tears eye drops

Nasal Spray for allergies(affiliate) – Sadly allergies do not take a break for vacation, this nasal spray is my go-to allergy “fender offer” all year long.

Flonase allergy relief nasal spray

Unisom(affiliate) – 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.

Unisom sleep gels

Advil(affiliate) – These are essential toiletries when I travel.

Advil Liqui-Gels

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

Excedrin(affiliate) – For those headaches that just won’t go away.

Excedrin extra strength head ache relief

Midol(affiliate) – For those days when no other meds will do.

Midol Complete Caplets

Hydrocortisone Cream(affiliate) – A small tube is always good to keep in my toiletry bag.

Cortizone itch relief

Neosporin Antibiotic Cream(affiliate) – Pack for that ounce of prevention.

Neosporin antibiotic ointment

BioFreeze(affiliate) – Sore muscles will find their way onto your vacation, especially if you are wearing a backpack or carrying a heavy camera around your neck all day long.

Biofreeze pain relief gel in a tube

Airborne Effervescent Tabs and Gummies(affiliate) – 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.

Airborne Effervescent tablets

I always travel with Airborne tabs for me and gummies for my girls.

Airborne Elderberry Gummies

Cough Drops(affiliate) – You just never know when you might need a cough drop.

Halls relief cough drops

Off! Deep Wood Mosquito and Insect Repellent Wipes(affiliate) – 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.

Off! Deep woods insect repellent wipes

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

Clorox Cleaning wipes

Baby Wipes(affiliate) – These are just handy to have around at home and on the road.

Johnson hand and face wipes

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

Band-aid brand bandages variety pack

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

Dr Fredericks better blister bandages

Moleskin(affiliate) – Another resource for those pesky blisters.

Cut to size moleskin patches

Lightdays (affiliate) – These are great to stay fresh everyday.

Lightdays panty liners

Tampons(affiliate) – Here’s me hoping you can have a period-free vacation, but it is better to be prepared. Traveling sometimes has an adverse effect when it comes to periods.

Playtex sport tampons

Always Pads(affiliate) – Again, be prepared.

Always ultra-thin pads

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(affiliate) – 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.

All Free and Clear mighty pacs laundry detergent

Tide To Go Stain Remover(affiliate) – Spills and accidents will happen. Take care of it when it does.

Tide to go stain remover for travel

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?

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!

I would love it if you clicked through on any of the affiliate links to help support the growth of my site. Thanks so much!

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46 Comments
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Ally
Ally
8 months ago

This is a wonderful list! Thanks for making it!

Melissa
8 months ago

Great suggestions for travel necessaties! It’s crazy all of the things I forget when I travel and then have to take time from my vacation to go shopping! Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Record
7 months ago

GREAT list! I am as obsessed with Ziplock bags as you are.. and this post comes at the perfect time, as I have been looking for something for blisters/blister prevention as we’re planning a big hiking trip, so I just ordered the Blister Bandages you posted.. I’ve never seen them before! thanks

Jennifer Record
2 months ago
Reply to  Jolayne

I bought them and LOVED them! Unfortunately, I needed them on our summer trip and they made such a difference!

A Paul
7 months ago

This is so helpful! thanks for sharing.

Sakota
7 months 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!!

Linda
7 months ago

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

Natalie
6 months 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)
3 months 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.

Haley
3 months ago

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

Krista
3 months 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!

Renee
Renee
3 months 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.

Hannah
3 months 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!

Nina
Nina
3 months 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

Annie
3 months ago

Thanks for this post, is very useful 😊

Lyne
3 months 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!

cosette
3 months 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.

Brittany
3 months 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
2 months ago

Great post and very useful for our next trip!

mihaela |https://theworldisanoyster.com/

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

Krysten Quiles
2 months ago

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

Julia Rees
2 months 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
2 months 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. 🙂

Shelley
1 month 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.