Pack Like A Pro: Toiletry Bag

As you’re packing your carry-on for summer vacation this year, you probably won’t forget to include a toiletry bag, but that toiletry bag may not be packed as organized and efficiently as it could be. After all, a well-packed toiletry bag certainly comes in handy on a too-many-tequila-shots night of vacation when you’re trying to dig through a mess of personal items to find Tylenol at 2 am, or when you desperately need eye drops to relieve the sting of ocean water splashed into your face by a playful toddler. We’re here to help you pack your toiletries for traveling like a pro, from the clear quart sized airport bags to the heavy duty toiletry bags made for serious stuff, all with hacks, tips, and product recommendations along the way!

Airport Approved

As if air travel isn’t stressful enough, packing for a destination a flight or two away comes with its own problems, especially when it comes to the dreaded baggie bulge. You know, stuffing your liquid toiletries into the tiny quart sized Ziploc bag until it bursts, rips, or just won’t close. Even though a quart sized bag is barely large enough to hold your essentials, there’s just no way around it (if you’re traveling with just a carry-on bag). So let’s work with what we got, and we’ve got some great tips and tricks to making the baggie bulge disappear!

Refresh yourself on the TSA’s 3-1-1 Liquids Rule:

  • Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less per container.
  • They must all fit in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag.
  • Only 1 bag per passenger is allowed.

  • Pack less. Obviously the less you pack, the less room items take up, leaving you to be more organized and able to find things better at your destination. Only pack essential items that you must take with you. Either pack your airline toiletries in a simple quart-sized Ziploc bag, or use a reusable one that is much more durable and seals easier.
  • Find items that serve dual purposes, such as the magnificent Dr. Bronner’s soap that does practically everything: use as a face and body wash, shampoo, laundry detergent, toothpaste, shaving cream, and more, all in one magic (good for you!) formula. They even have a 2 oz bottle size, perfect for your baggie!
  • There’s a reason for an entire aisle of travel size toiletry items. Stock up and maximize your baggie space.
  • Consider using the mini shampoos, conditioners, body washes, etc. that hotels offer during your stay. Right there is a handful of items you won’t have to pack or worry about.
  • If there are items you can purchase at your destination with ease and affordability, then consider that route. This is especially convenient for sunscreen, as you could fill up an entire baggie with just your sunscreen supply!
  • Stock up on trial size, tester, and sample items you may receive throughout the year. Set them aside specifically for use during traveling.
  • Even if you’re using travel size toiletries, you may not even need that much of an item for the duration of your trip. Transfer certain items, such as liquid makeup, eye cream, or hair conditioner over to even smaller containers (such as cheap screw-on contact lens cases) to free up more room in your baggie.
  • Find reusable leakproof travel bottles in airline approved sizes to transfer over certain liquid toiletries that don’t come in travel-size options. Remember to label your containers!
  • Look for solid-form toiletries, such as bar soaps and shampoos, solid perfume sticks, toothpaste tablets, or face cleansing wipes that you can pack in your other toiletry bag, clearing up more room for the clear restricted one.
  • When packing up your baggie, put the larger items in first, then fill in the gaps with smaller containers.
  • Use a piece of strong tape to secure over pop-top lids, for extra non-leak reinforcement.
A lot of these tips and tricks can work for both air travel and road travel toiletry bags, so be sure to keep them in mind (and intermingle them) for whatever mode of toiletry bag packing you’re doing.

Road Travel Toiletries

Whether you’re flying and still need to pack another toiletry bag for your non-liquid items or whether you’re in the minivan or rental car roadtripping to your summer vaca spot, most people have a small bag dedicated to packing up their personal care items. This bag can get out of control, messy, and disorganized real quick without a bit of planning and some packing creativity.

  • Buy a durable and long-lasting bag. Toiletry bags can take a beating, especially if you travel often. We love the hand-crafted, made in the US, military-tough toiletry bags that the folks over at Red Oxx offer.
  • Made from 1000 weight Cordura nylon, super strong UV resistant thread for seams with nylon webbing reinforcement, Monkey’s Fist Zip Knots, and some of the largest, most secure, and durable zippers out there, Red Oxx’s Tri-Fold Shave Kit is our one-and-only toiletry bag pick for wherever and whenever we travel (don’t let the name fool you, this amazingly versatile bag works perfectly as a toiletry bag, yes, even for women)!

    Unzip the Tri-Fold Shave Kit and you have complete access to all your essentials either by laying the bag flat or hanging it up using the handy buckle carry-strap. Inside you have two large zippered mesh pockets that can hold full size bottles and an opaque smaller fold out zippered pocket for more private items. Flip the bag over and there are two more zippered pockets for extra storage. Available in 12 different color options and guaranteed by Red Oxx’s amazing “No Bull” Lifetime Warranty, the Tri-Fold Shave Kit will be your best travel buddy for years to come.

  • Even if your razor has a protector shield, those tend to come loose, especially stuffed in a bag with other items, so attach a binder clip over the razor head for heavy duty protection.
  • Place a cotton ball or flat cotton pad into your powdered makeup compacts to help prevent the makeup from cracking.
  • Use empty medicine bottles as Qtip holders or for holding other small items.
  • If you can’t leave home without an adequate supply of bobby pins, store them in an empty Tic Tac container.
  • Turn a glasses case into a mini manicure set, complete with a couple bottles of polish, cuticle cutter, nail file and clippers, because who doesn’t love to do their nails beachside!
  • Even for items that aren’t liquid, such as toothbrushes, hair brushes, or feminine products, consider buying travel size or smaller versions to maximize the available space in your toiletry bag.
  • If you are packing medications, instead of bringing every bottle with you, count out the number of pills you need for your trip and put them in a clean mini Altoids tin. Obviously this only works if your medications are visibly different enough that you can tell them apart.

Now that your toiletry bag is packed up like a pro, toss it into your carry-on, but only after you read Pack Like a Pro: Carry-On Bag!

Photo Credits: Dani
Sources: Huffington Post,, About Home, Her Packing List

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Dani lives in North Carolina with her two preschoolers. She is a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom who loves to clean and organize anything and everything. Her happiness is found in Jesus, days at the spa, and combating dark chocolate peanut butter cups with everyday workouts at the gym. She owns a wedding, lifestyle, and freelance photography business, Dani Nicole Photography.

Comments (3)

  • Avatar

    Angela Thornton


    Fantastic tips! I love using mini shampoos. They are sooooo useful. Last year I moved to another country. I had so many boxes and suitcases that it was impossible to find my shampoo. Mini shampoo and body wash saved me. Best regards!


  • Avatar

    Joie Gahum


    Is the dr bonner’s soap good? Want to have it in my roadeavour bag as well.


  • Avatar

    Joie Mojica Gahum


    With roadeavour’s waterproof travel toiletry kit, i feel like I’m packing like a pro because i’ve made the right choice!


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