How to pack toiletries in hand luggage

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When I go for a short 2-5 day trip, I always travel with a hand luggage only. It saves me time on checking in and collecting bag, but also saves me a lot of money. This saving allows me then to travel more often which is always a bonus.

Below I’m giving you my top 5 tips how I take all of my toiletries and makeup in an airport approved plastic zip bag that is allowed in the hand luggage.

1. Buy a set of small plastic containers.

I choose the ones that come in different sizes, the smaller the better. You are unlikely to need 100 ml of shampoo or face wash on a 2-3 day trip. I tend to count how many washes I’ll have and take only the same amount of portions of a hair conditioner or shower gel.

2. Use plastic pots with a little spatula.

For things like hair cream, I like using a little pot. Going to Dublin I knew I would only wash my hair twice and I put in a little pot two portions of my must have hair cream using a little spatula that came in a set.

3. Take hotel toiletries home.

Every time we stay in a hotel, if I like the toiletries provided, I’ll take them home. I save them for short trips when I only take a hand luggage. Going to Dublin we booked with Airbnb and our room did not come with toiletries so I packed a little set from when we stayed in 5* hotel in KL and they were the perfect size for our 2 days trip.

4. Keep sample products.

You can either keep them and take them with you or just reuse their bottle. That is how I packed my face serum, in a little tube from a sample product. Again, I measured the uses and only poured the amount needed.

5. Pack your dry staff and powders separately.

I only put liquids in my airport approved transparent bag. Things like powders, bronzes, rouges, lip balm and even mascara I pack in a separate bag and I don’t declare them as liquids. I’ve been travelling for many years worldwide and no airport security ever questioned my approach.

Following these 5 simple tips, for my trip to Dublin I managed to take into my hand luggage:
Shower gel


Hair conditioner


Hair cream

Face wash

Face tonic

Face serum

Eye cream (full size)

Primer (full size)

Concealer (full size)

Natural deodorant

And as a treat a full size of my favourite perfumes ❤

I packed and not declared as liquid: face powder, rouge, bronzer, highlighter, brow highlighter, lip balm and mascara.


Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm Mal, Polish solo traveller from the UK. I quit the financial corp world and sold all my belongings to travel the world full time. I'm currently based in Bali. Follow me for free destination guides and travel tips.

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