I’m going to start out with a confession, I packed way too many toiletries for our trip around the world. A lot of the things I packed I, a) didn’t need at all, or b) could have easily bought while abroad. I also brought more than one of one thing, while not bring any of another thing, like 2 shampoo’s and no conditioner. Yeah I actually did that, and not by accident. I think my reasoning was that we’d go through shampoo faster since there was two of us, and I could just use hair oil instead of conditioner so I’d be saving space? **Facepalm**
When it comes to packing toiletries, I think less is the best option, you can buy most things you may need from any pharmacy while abroad. So when you are packing think bare minimum. Also consider the climates you are going to be going to for what you might need. For example, we spent the summer in Europe, where it was quite warm, then we moved on to South East Asia where it is also warm year round. This means I really didn’t need the moisturizer or face oil I brought with me since I was sweating most of the time. Now if we’d gone somewhere cold and dry I definitely would have wanted those things. So climate is really important when you are thinking about the products you will want and need.
So let’s start out with the different types of toiletries you might need to bring:
The basics, these will be the absolute necessities.
- Any kind of prescription drugs you take, for me that includes an EpiPen, because I have a peanut allergy, and any kind of travel medication, ex. Malaria pills.
- The absolute basics, this is going to mean anything you will need to feel good, clean, and comfortable the first few days and nights while abroad. This would include things like shampoo, conditioner, face wipes or face wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, body wash or soap, hair brush and hair ties/bobby pins, and a mini first aid kit (I’ll go into what should be in there in a minute).
Things that are nice to have, but you can buy while abroad if you need them.
- Skin care for whatever climate you are in, this would be things like moisturizer, sunscreen, aloe, lotion, bug spray.
- Random extras, like cotton balls, cue tips, nail clippers, nail files, nail polish remover, razor and extra blades.
- Hair dryer, I actually didn’t bring one with me, because most hotels and Air BNB’s we stayed in would have one. I did end up buying one when we were in Koh Tao, because we were there for 3 months. But I really only used it a handful of times because I could dry my hair and make it look all nice, but as soon as I walked outside into the humid air it was all for nothing.
Serious extras, this stuff is definitely not necessary but you are probably used to using at home. The problem with these things is that you might realize once abroad you don’t actually use them, and now you are just carting unnecessary stuff around or having to ship it home.
- Hair straightener or curling iron, this was a big one for me, because at home I probably use my flat iron almost daily to make sure my bang look just right. But once we were in hot and humid weather it really didn’t matter. Plus because of the electricity voltage difference between the US and the rest of the world I couldn’t even use it most places. I ended up sending it home.
- Make up, so I guess this is more of personal preference on whether this falls into nice but not necessary or totally necessary. It will depend on you and where you are going I suppose. I did bring make up with me, but rarely wear it, and definitely never bothered when we were in really hot and humid places. But it was nice to have when going out somewhere nice for dinner and things like that.
- Random extras, these are things that you might use when you are at home, but really aren’t necessary when you are on the road. Things like hair spray, hair oil, mouthwash, shaving cream.
So now let’s talk about that mini first aid kit. I like to make this up myself since I feel like the prepackaged ones you can buy can be bulky and have too much of somethings and not enough of others. What should be in your mini first aid kit should also be the bare minimum of things, a couple things to get you through if you get sick or injured until you can get to the pharmacy. So instead of a whole pack of allergy medicine I will have just a couple pills. It saves space, but I still have something if all of a sudden I’m hit with a major case of allergies.
- Have a couples pills of: allergy medicine, pain killers, cramps medicine, imodium, and tums.
- Few band-aids of different sizes, travel sized neosporin or other antibacterial cream, a couple alcohol swabs.
- Random extras: tampon, chapstick, safety pin, airborne and/or emergen-c packets
So now that you know what you definitely need and what you don’t, and what can be bought on the road, here is your ultimate toiletry packing list:
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Face wipes / face wash
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Body wash / soap
- Hair brush & hair ties & bobby pins
- Mini first aid kit
- Lotion / moisturizer
- Nail clippers & nail file
- Cue tips
- Razor & blades
- Bug spray
If you really can’t live without it:
- Hair dryer, flat iron, or curling iron
- Make up
- Hair spray
- Shaving cream
I hope this list has been helpful, I definitely could have used it when I was packing up for our big trip. Do you have any packing tips or items you think are totally necessary when traveling? Let me know in the comments!