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The best toiletries for a trip: What’s in my travel washbag

The best toiletries for a trip: What’s in my travel washbag

If you’re packing your toiletries for a trip then you’re probably trying to pack light whilst still taking enough of the essentials!

I’ve been a frequent traveller for the past 15 years and here are my tips to pack light and get the best toiletries for a trip.

I’ve created lists below that you can copy and paste and add to your notes or a list app you use on your phone.

Here are the best toiletries for a trip

I generally recommend packing the toiletries you’d normally use at home but there are some exceptions. These are travel items you may not always use at home but they’re perfect for while you’re away, especially if it’s a short trip.

Bed Head by TIGI - Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo - Instant Hair Refresh- For Oily and Greasy Hair -...
  • Bed Head's new Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo with a refreshing formula
  • Professional dry shampoo
  • Absorbs oils that make hair look greasy and dirty
Carmex CLASSIC Moisturising Lip Balm For Dry And Chapped Lips 7.5g
  • Long-lasting relief for dry, chapped lips
  • Apply liberally and evenly as often as necessary especially before/after exposure to sun, wind, or low temperatures
  • Recommended before and after lipstick application to preserve and restore moisture
BELEVO Travel Perfume Atomiser Refillable 3 Pcs Perfume Travel Bottle For Toiletries 5 Ml Refillable...
  • ❃[Size]:The perfume atomiser is 8.2cm long and 1.87cm wide.The 5ml perfume travel bottle is small and lightweight, easy to carry, suitable for carrying in your purse or luggage without taking up too...
  • ❃ [High quality]: The outer shell of the travel perfume bottle is made of high quality aluminium, which is lightweight and durable. The interior is made of high quality glass to ensure the quality...
  • ❃[Clear window]: The clear window of the refillable perfume bottle makes it easy to decide if you need to refill the perfume, providing convenience and intelligence when using it.
Colgate Travel Dental Kit - Compact Toothbrush & Mini Toothpaste 5g
  • Colgate Travel Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Product type: TOOTHBRUSH
  • Brand: Generic

Skincare toiletries I always travel with

The best toiletries for a trip
The best toiletries for a trip

These are my skincare favourites that I decant into smaller bottles when I travel. They’re all from Beauty Pie and I’ve been using all of these for over 3 years and I love them. I had really problematic skin before using these and I barely ever get a spot these days!

Beauty Pie £10 off discount link 

If you’re new to Beauty Pie you can use this £10 off discount code. This isn’t an ad. I don’t work with Beauty Pie or anything like that, I just love their products and this is the normal discount code all members can share.

Japanfusion cleanser from Beauty Pie – One of the reasons I love this so much is because it melts away any dirt or makeup and then washes off so easily. I hate it when a cleanser leaves residue or is difficult to rinse off. It also removes all dirt and eye makeup without drying out my skin. I’ve been using this for 3 years now and I bulk buy it and have a tubes of it everywhere so I never run out!

They call it a gel to oil to milk product. It goes on like gel, cleanses like oil and rinses off like milk. I know, it sounds weird but honestly it’s genius. 

Japanfusion serum – I was on the fence about whether or not serum really does anything so I didn’t order it one month and my skin felt so much drier. I put serum onto damp skin as soon as I’ve cleansed it and my skin seems to soak it up like a sponge.

Super healthy skin daily moisturiser – the perfect combination of being rich and moisturising while also being light and soft.

A flannel – A real game changer for me was removing my cleanser with a flannel. I don’t use any extra product or make-up remover because the flannel gets it all. If I’m travelling really light I’ll take reusable make-up pads rather than a flannel but I always hope my hotel will have flannels!

The best toiletries for a trip

Toiletries for a trip: The absolute bare essentials

Here are my essential toiletries for a trip:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo / and conditioner (I’ll switch this for dry shampoo for a quick trip)
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • SPF
  • Face cleanser
  • Face moisturiser
  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm
  • Flannel/reusable cloth
  • Paracetamol
  • Prescription medicine
The best toiletries for a trip
I love this pill organiser to keep things simple when travelling
Zuiaso 1Pack Daily Pill Organizer, 8 Compartments Travel Pill Case for Pocket Purse Portable...
  • Material: High quality pill container manufacture of plastic and grain fiber.
  • Wide Usage: This pill organizer can store pills and other small items, suitable for, fishing, camping, adventure, and trip or households.
  • Removable lid : 8 compartments are equipped with lids which can perfectly prevent from mixing medicines. Inner lids are removable for easy cleaning and storage. External lock design prevents medicine...

The essentials and then some…

Those are my absolute essentials and if I’m going away with my family that’s really all I take. If I’m going away with the girls or I know I’ll be making an effort then here are the extras I take:

  • Face serum
  • Hair serum
  • Hair spray
  • Make-up
  • Body lotion
The best toiletries for a trip
The best toiletries for a trip

This tiny folding hairbrush from Denman is a great compact brush for travelling.

Denman D7 Compact Popper Hairbrush, D007EBSR
  • Travel sized
  • Remove loose hair with a comb
  • Do not use with a hairdryer

Travel toiletries for a long trip

If I’m going away for a week then I pretty much take ALL the toiletries

These include:

  • Tweezers
  • Razor
  • Cotton buds
  • Nail file
  • Dental floss
  • Feminine hygiene products
The best toiletries for a trip
2pcs/Pack Lermende Clear Toiletry Bag TSA Approved Travel Carry On Airport Airline Compliant Bag...
  • ✈Travel Toiletry Bag for Women/Men- Clear wash bag bag strictly follow 3-1-1 regulations. Easy and quick to pass through airport security. An ideal makeup cosmetics bag, quart size toiletry bags for...
  • ✈Clear Strong Thickness Design Travel Toiletry Bag - Made of transparent PVC material, eco-friendly to see and get items quickly. Strong thickness help the clear cosmetic bag more durable and easy...
  • ✈Waterproof Secure - Airline Toiletries Bags are transparent and waterproof to to hold all your items including Liquids, at least resistant to leaks in case one of your bottles spills. Enjoy your...

Here are my tips for the best toiletries for a trip

  1. If it’s your favourite product at home, it will be your favourite product while you’re on your trip. You don’t need to buy new ‘holiday products’ if you already have favourites at home.
  2. Don’t buy expensive miniature versions of your favourite products, use smaller bottles, pouches and pots to decant your products into. It’s much cheaper, better for the environment and many products don’t come in miniature versions.
  3. Don’t scrimp on SPF. You won’t want to put it on if it makes you feel horrible and sweaty.
  4. Don’t forget that wherever you’re going will sell toiletries. If people live there, they’ll sell toiletries! So don’t worry too much about running out. It’s unlikely you will run out and you’re overpacking to be cautious.
  5. In theory, solid toiletries are great for travelling but, personally, I’ve never really liked them. You have to pack a slimy, gloopy bar when you’re ready to leave the hotel and I’ve never found a solid shampoo or conditioner bar I like as much as my regular liquids.
  6. Pay attention to how much of a product you use at home. I’m always surprised to find I actually don’t use a lot at all.
The best toiletries for a trip
Estee Lauder sample bottles are great to refill with your foundation

Are travel miniatures worth buying?

Personally, I don’t buy any travel miniatures. They’re expensive, sometimes a bit faddy and I find it easier to just decant my normal products into travel bottles.

The only one I will sometimes buy is a mini sunscreen for a short break. Decanting sunscreen just gets messy!

The best toiletries for a trip
Wild solid deodorants come in miniatures and don’t need to go in with your liquids. I can’t find these online anymore but I saw them in the travel minatures sections in Boots.

Best bottles for decanting your travel toiletries

Travel pouches

I’ve recently discovered these travel pouches. I prefer them to bottles because they’re more compact. You can squeeze the air out of them so they’re good if you just need a small blob of your product.

17Pcs Travel Toiletry Containers, Travel Fluid Bags Makeup Packing Bags Spout Pouches Travel Bottles...
  • 【Leakproof & Waterproof】 These travel liquid pouches adopt flat cap design, convenient to open and close, and the bottom of the pouch can stand up right on the table. Each travel pouch has a...
  • 【100% Transparent】The clear travel toiletry containers makes it easy to see the liquids inside and there are labelled sheets to help sort them. It can be quickly passed through airport security.
  • 【Saving Space】Our fluid makeup packing bags are lightweight, compact and foldable. The small size can be put into cosmetic bags or suitcases, saving your limited luggage space.

Silicone bottles

I prefer silicone bottles over hard plastic ones. They last longer and it’s easier to squeeze out all the product.

Opret 100ml Silicone Travel Bottle, 4 Pack Leak Proof Refillable Squeezable Containers with Lable...
  • ◆ Portable Travel Bottles – These travel bottles are designed with wide opening, convenient for refilling and cleaning. With 4 different colours bottles and label, you can identify different...
  • ◆ TSA Carry-on Approved - The 100ml/3.4oz travel tubes meet TSA 3-1-1 policy, ideal for travelling and trip, easy to carry and save space. You will surly check-in fast and stress-free with them
  • ◆ Leak Proof Design – With upgraded assembly-free and anti-leak design, these travel bottles will only dispense bottle contents when its silicone body is pressed. Never have to worry about the...

Refillable pump bottles

I like these refillable pump bottles for my skincare products. They’re not the smallest but they’re mess-free and nice to use.

3Pcs Cream Jar Vacuum Bottle, Airless Pump Bottle Portable Cosmetic Container Sample Pots Empty...
  • 【No Straw Pressing Design】No straw pump head prevents clogging, and the vacuum inner plug automatically lifts the cream to reduce the contact pollution between the cream and bacteria and dust in...
  • 【Easy to Use & Reusable】 The cream can be released by lightly pressing, no need to reach in and pick it up with hands, it is convenient and clean. After the cream in the bottle is used up, the...
  • 【Multifunctional】The vacuum bottle can be used to pack cream, liquid foundation, lotion, body lotion, etc.; it can also be used to directly mix cream on the lid, add pearl powder, essential oil,...

10ml pots

If I’m travelling light I’ll use these tiny 10ml pots for my skincare. They’re perfect for a weekend break.

6Pcs Travel Bottles Pots Sample Pots Mini Travel Pots for Toiletries 10ml 20ml Small Clear Travel...
  • 【Package Include】4PCS 20ml travel pots with lids , 2PCS 10ml travel pots with lids and 4PCS small spoons. These travel bottles pots set for toiletries cosmetic cream can meet your different needs.
  • 【Safety Material】Plastic travel cream pots sample pots are made of sturdy plastic, easy to wash, reusable with durable construction and high chemical resistance. So you can use our cosmetic...
  • 【Clear Color & Portable 】Clear Travel Pots Sample Jars, you can see the thing inside clearly and quickly distinguish and organize your beauty essentials neatly in place and easy to carry, so you...

Perfume bottle

This little perfume bottle can save so much space if you have a big and heavy glass perfume bottle.

selcouth yyds 5ML Perfume Atomiser,Perfume Refillable Bottle Portable for Travel Business Trip...
  • Visual desing,can see remaining capacity.
  • Lightweight and portable,you can take it for trave.
  • Underfill,leak-proof.
The best toiletries for a trip
I like using a vanity case for my travel toiletries

Should you use a wash bag?

I always use a wash bag for a trip. It helps keep things organised and if anything spills it won’t get onto my clothes. If it’s a short trip then I’ll just pop my toiletries into one of the clear plastic bags you need for airport security.


This is controversial but if you want to pack light then I wouldn’t use a washbag. You can save a lot of space in your luggage by squeezing your bottles, tubs and tubes into the nooks and crannies in your bag.

If you’re going down the no washbag route then I’d recommend using solid toiletries to avoid spills and leaks!

Finding the best travel wash bag

I’ve tried every wash bag under the sun and I’ve found the best ones are simply the type that open fully and allow you to find everything easily.

Wash bags with lots of pockets and zips and compartments are a massive faff. When you first get them it’s fun to pack them all neat and organised, but once you’ve done it once or twice the novelty wears off and you just want to chuck everything in and get it out easily. 

I’ve written a post about the best travel toiletries bags for women here.

Best wash bags for women

Can you take razors with you?

You can take razors with you on holiday and you can take safety razors (normal ones with disposable blades) in your hand luggage too.

Read more: Can you take razors in your hand luggage?

If you can, I highly recommend using an IPL device. It’s like laser hair removal at home and it lasts for about 6-8 weeks. It works best if you have light skin and dark hair and I’ve found it be a real game-changer and money well spent!

Braun IPL Silk-Expert Pro 5, At Home Hair Removal Device, Permanent Visible Hair Removal With Pouch,...
  • 1 year of smooth skin*, with visible results in just 3 weeks (Following the regimen. Individual results may vary)
  • Skip the laser salon with Braun’s fastest IPL: full body session in just 15 minutes
  • Optimal balance between efficacy and safety: the IPL automatically and continuously adapts every flash to your skin tones with the Skin Pro 2.0 (SensoAdapt TM) technology

What are the best feminine hygiene products for a trip?

It can be awkward if you’ve got your period while you’re travelling but there are loads of new products making things much easier than it was 10 years ago!

I love:

  • Modibodi period pants – they’re expensive but they last!
  • Menstrual cup – These take a bit of getting used to but once you’ve got the hang of them you’ll never go back. I use this one for light days and this one for heavy days. The one for lighter days is great for travel because it’s collapsible and comes in a little disk-shaped case. I’ve also seen the Pixie disk which I’m keen to try.

If you aren’t sure about menstrual cups, I’d definitely switch to period pants over pads. They’re so much easier and more comfortable.

Read more: Lily Cup Compact Review – A game changer for travelling on your period

Should you take a first aid kit away with you?

There are some people who will swear by travelling with a first aid kit and think it’s madness to go away without one.

Personally, I never take one. I’ll usually carry some paracetamol and if I’m doing a lot of walking I’ll take some plasters, but that’s it.

I wouldn’t take a first aid kit for a day out during a regular day at home so why would I need one when I’m on holiday?

The best toiletries for a trip
If you’re travelling really light, get yourself a tiny toothbrush!

Should you take insect repellent away with you?

If you think there will be lots of mosquitoes in the destination you’re visiting then it’s always worth taking some insect repellent.

I actually get bitten to pieces by mozzies and I’ve given up on insect repellent. I’d rather wear long clothing that covers me up as it’s a more reliable way to not get bitten!

Should you take hand sanitizer away with you?

If you use hand sanitizer at home then I’d recommend taking it away with you too.

Personally, I just regularly wash my hands with soap and water. 

If I was budget backpacking and knew I’d be using toilets without sinks and soap then I’d probably take some.

The best toiletries for a trip

You haven’t included body wash or soap!?

Shock horror. I haven’t included body wash or soap in this list of the best toiletries for a trip. You’re right. I never pack body wash or soap because accommodation providers almost always have it. If there wasn’t any there (which is highly unlikely!) I’d use my shampoo. 

The best toiletries for a trip
I don’t go anywhere without Carmex!

Do you ever use the hotel shampoo?

Personally I don’t. I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with it but I have very dry hair and it tends to go dry and frizzy if I don’t use a shampoo for dry hair. Virtually all hotels I stay in do have shampoo available.

Do you take shaving foam?

Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 Review

I very rarely take a razor away with me because I use an IPL device at home so rarely need to shave. But if I do take a razor, I use the Venus comfortglide razor blades with gel on either side of the blade so you don’t need shaving foam. If you’re trying to travel light and want to leave the shaving foam at home, try using your hotel shower gel as shaving foam as that usually works just fine.

Gillette Venus Snap with Embrace Women's Razor with 1 Razor Refill by Gillette Venus
  • COMPACT RAZOR AND CASE for on-the-go smooth skin
  • 5 BLADES for a long lasting shave
  • The water-activated RIBBON OF MOISTURE around the blade helps protect from nicks & cuts