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Vanity cases for travel: The best vanity cases + everything you need to know

Vanity cases for travel: The best vanity cases + everything you need to know

I recently got myself a vanity case for travel so today I’m sharing my thoughts on travelling with a vanity case, the top vanity cases I could find and answer lots of questions about using one!

Let’s get started with my overall thoughts on travelling with a vanity case…

The awkwardness of travelling with a vanity case as hand luggage

A vanity case is great for staycations but I’ve found it difficult when you’re taking it on a plane as your hand luggage/carry-on luggage.

Most vanity cases don’t have exterior pockets so if you want to get anything out of it then you need to unzip the entire thing to open it. Because of this, I found myself carrying things like my waterbottle and my phone in my hands. Then I’m also trying to carry the vanity case and my cabin suitcase. It was a bit of a nightmare to be honest!

travelling with a vanity case

They look so pretty when they’re stacked on top of one another like this but, realistically, I found it difficult to navigate staircases and steps and get onto the plane with this luggage setup. It meant that whenever I came to a step, I had to take my vanity case off my suitcase and carry one in each hand, leaving me with no hands free for things like my phone, passport, water bottle or my little bag of snacks! It was just a bit of a faff. 

It’s much easier to have a shoulder bag or backpack so you’ve still got one hand free when carrying your suitcase.

I much prefer to travel with this setup when I’m travelling with just hand luggage. I take a hard shell cabin suitcase with a backpack. The backpack sits on top of the suitcase and attaches to the handle, but I can carry it on my shoulder when I get to the staircases. It also has easy to access side pockets for the things I want to frequently access.

travelling with a vanity case

 Here’s everything you need to know about travelling with a vanity case plus the best vanity cases for travel

1. Why would you use a vanity case for travel?

Most people will use a vanity case for their toiletries so it instantly helps organise your luggage by keeping your toiletries, cosmetics, hair care etc away from your clothing. 

It makes me feel really organised having one case for my clothes and one for my toiletries. There’s no risk of liquids spilling onto my clothes and, when I arrive, I can place my vanity case straight in the bathroom of my hotel.

I find it much easier to pack when I have a vanity case. I have one case for the bedroom and one mini case for the bathroom.

Most vanity cases are also hard shell so your bottles and hair styling tools are protected inside.

travelling with a vanity case

2. What are the best vanity cases for travelling?

Cabin Max

Cabin Max 40x20x25 cm Hard Shell Cabin Case with Shoulder Strap fits Ryanair Under Seat Included...
  • The 20L Anode is ideal as extra hand luggage and is an ideal case for electronics, toiletries, make up, cosmetics and travel accessories. The hard shell exterior provides a tough protective shell.
  • Easy to carry top handle or use the adjustable padded shoulder strap. Rear trolley strap for easy attchement to larger rolling trolley luggage, fits perfectly with the Cabin Max Anode 40L
  • 40x20x25 cm Sized to fit the maximum Ryanair under the seat free hand luggage allowance.

The vanity case I have is from Cabin Max and I love that it matches perfectly with the Cabin Max Anode suitcase. Both the vanity case and the matching cabin case come in loads of different colours. They’re great quality for the price and I’m a massive fan!

I like this one best because it’s the right dimensions for the ‘free’ underseat bag with Ryanair.

Kono Set

Kono Suitcase Lightweight ABS Hard Shell Carry-Ons Cabin Case with TSA Lock Luggage Sets of 4 Piece...
  • ☞【4 Piece Luggage Sets have 2 Year Warranty】---➤Carry-Ons Suitcase: 55x40x22cm; ➤Beauty Case: 28x21x15cm; ➤Weekender Bag: 40x30x22cm; ➤Toiletry Bag: 22x12x9cm. Perfect for leisure and...
  • ☞【Hardshell Suitcase and Waterproof Travel Bag】---➤Our suitcase is made from lightweight and durable ABS hard shell, Scratch & Pressure-resistant. ➤The travel bag is made of waterproof nylon...
  • ☞【TSA Lock & 360°SPINNER WHEELS】---TSA Lock is great for international travel because the TSA agent is able to check your luggage without breaking the lock. This suitcase also features silent...

If you want to go all out and get the full set then I love this one from Kono which has the vanity case, the hard shell suitcase, the weekender bag and a matching wash bag.


Balakaka Makeup Travel Case Hard Shell Vanity Cases Portable Waterproof ABS Cosmetic Case with...
  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL: The portable cosmetic bag is made of high quality ABS material which is light but sturdy to increases this it's portability. Polyester lining, not easy to permeate, can better...
  • USER-FRIENDLY DESIGN: The design of rivets to reinforce the corners makes the cosmetic case more drop-proof and durable. Internal zippered compartment for easy storage of privacy items. Moreover,...
  • EASY TO CARRY: With a stretchy black elastic cord on the back and a soft handle, you can chose to hold it by hand or put on the pole of the suitcase as you like. Ideal for vacation, business trip,...

I love that this one looks like a mini vintage suitcase.


Movom Riga Adaptable Beauty Case Yellow 29x21x15 cm ABS
  • Beauty case 29 x 21 x 15 cm. Made of ABS, a light and resistant material
  • Two compartment, a mirror and a pocket
  • Back band to adapt it to the trolley.

This is a much smaller vanity case so it’s probably one you’d put inside your suitcase rather than carrying it as additional bag.

Ted Baker

Ted Baker Women's Belle Fashion Lightweight Hardshell Spinner Luggage, Pink, Vanity Case, Luggage
  • Unique and distinctive moulded bow shell made from lightweight and shock-resistant polycarbonate with iconic Ted Baker rose gold bow logo plate and printed bow lining
  • Internal dividers and pockets for organized packing
  • State-of-the-art aircraft aluminum lightweight trolley system in signature rose gold finish

This is a very cute vanity case and it’s one I know my little girl would love!


ABS Cabin Size Suitcase and Vanity Case, Orange (5859), S,
  • Dimensions of the carry-on suitcase: H55 x W34 x D19 (32L), Vanity H22 x W30 x D12 (9L).
  • Cabin size suitcase with a 33-cm (13-inch) vanity, you can store your items with peace of mind.
  • Cabin size suitcase accepted by low cost airlines.

Here’s another where the vanity case and suitcase come as a set.

Kids vanity case

Balakaka Hard Shell Vanity Cases for Women Portable Water Proof Cosmetic Travel Case, Toiletry Case...
  • Balakaka Hard Shell Vanity Cases For Women Portable Water Proof Cosmetic Travel Case, Toiletry Case With Zipper Cosmetic Bag, Hand Luggage Cosmetic Case With Clip On Function For Women Girl
  • Product Type:Cosmetic Case
  • Gl Type:Luggage

Here’s another very cute one that would be lovely for a child.

3. Can I bring my vanity case as a carry-on item on a plane?

Yes you can! Just remember that if you take it as a carry-on item then you’ll need to go through airport security so all liquids need to be in bottles and containers 100ml or smaller and they need to fit in the 20cm x 20cm clear plastic bags at security.

I like to take my own zippable plastic bag and it’s reusable and means I can pack everything neatly before I arrive at the airport.

Clear Travel Toiletries Bag, 2 Pcs TSA Approved Toiletry Bag with Zippers Travel Accessories...
  • -TSA Approved:TSA approved travel toiletries Bag strictly follow 3-1-1 regulations. Easy and quick to pass through airport security.
  • -Portable: This clear toiletries Bag is very lightweight, weighing only 0.26 lbs and measuring 20 x 6.5 x 15.5 cm, which is enough to hold the toiletries and cosmetics you need, such as shampoo,...
  • -Premium Material: TSA approved toiletry bag are made of transparent Waterproof PVC material, eco-friendly to see and get items quickly.
travelling with a vanity case

4. Are there any restrictions on what items I can pack in a vanity case for air travel?

The main restriction is that liquids need to be in 100ml containers or smaller. You also can’t take old-fashioned safety razors with a non-safety blade. You can take razors with disposable blades or the whole thing is disposable (like a Venus razor or the cheap Bic/Gillette ones)

Other than that there aren’t many restrictions. You can take aerosols, shaving foam. They just need to be under 100ml.

Here are some of my favourite liquids bottles and containers.

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...
JETOP 15Pcs Travel Toiletry Containers, Frosted Pouches for Liquid, Travel Fluid Bags, Sub Bags...
  • 【Package Includes】You can get 15 pieces of travel fluid pouches (30ml x 5 Pcs/50ml x 5Pcs/100ml x 5Pcs) and some stickers for marking, in addition to a folding funnel to help you fill the liquid.
  • 【Premium Material】Our Travel Fluid Bags are made of high-quality PET material, non-toxic, odorless, lightweight and durable, with a transparent texture.
  • 【Leak-Proof Design】These travel fluid pouches feature a flip-top opening to keep the lid tightly sealed, and the lid can be rotated to remove when filling, allowing quick filling through the large...
Small Travel Pots, 6PCS Travel Jars For Toiletries, 10ml Mini Cosmetic Jars Travel Pots For...
  • 🌈 [High-Quality Material]: These travel cosmetic containers are made of durable plastic, which is lightweight, easy to clean, and reusable. The small size and lightweight design make them easy to...
  • 📏 [Perfect Size]: With a diameter of 4.5cm and a height of 2.2cm, these cosmetic jars have a capacity of 10ml. Their mini size makes them perfect for on-the-go use and easy to pack in any bag.
  • 🧳 [Travel-Friendly]: The compact size and lightweight design of these cosmetic jars make them perfect for travel. Their reliable seal prevents leaks, ensuring your luggage stays clean. They're even...
travelling with a vanity case

5. How do I clean and maintain my vanity case while travelling?

Not many vanity cases come with wipe clean interiors and, if you’re anything like me, your case is going to get grubby!

If you’re concerned about it getting dirty, I’d recommend putting your products into small bags before putting them into your vanity case.

If it does get dirty, try a damp cloth and some gentle cleaning detergent. 

If that doesn’t work, use a leave-on stain remover you’d use on your clothes and then give it a good scrub!

travelling with a vanity case

6. Are there any tips for organising my makeup and toiletries in a vanity case for travel?

This is a very personal one but I like a vanity case that zips down the middle so you have two halves.

In one half I like to put my products and in the other half I put my haircare items. This is because I like to keep my Dyson Airwrap separate from all of my liquids.

If I’m not travelling with a hair dryer or hair straighteners then I’ll put my makeup and skincare on one side and my shower items on the other side.

I like having a pocket divider in the middle for smaller items like cotton pads, hair bobbles, bobby pins etc.

travelling with a vanity case

7. What are some space-saving techniques for packing a vanity case for travel?

Contrary to popular belief, packing your items into smaller purses, pouches and packing cubes does not save space. 

If you’re short on space in your vanity case, take your items out of any little pouches you may have put them in and stuff everything into the small spaces. (Except for your liquids which need to be in a 20cm x 20cm clear plastic bag to go through airport security.)

Personally, I still use pouches and purses to keep everything nice and organised, even if it does take up more space.

travelling with a vanity case

8. Can I bring liquids and gels in my vanity case when travelling by air?

You can but they must be in containers 100ml or smaller.

travelling with a vanity case

9. What should I consider when choosing the size of a vanity case for travel?

If you’re going to be flying with your vanity case you need to be aware of any luggage restrictions for the airline you’re flying with.

For most people flying with a vanity case you’ll have your cabin luggage (a small suitcase) and then your vanity case would be your personal item (which travels for free). Check what size ‘personal item’ you’re allowed with the airline you’re flying with to see what size vanity case you can travel with.

travelling with a vanity case

10. Are there any specific TSA regulations I need to be aware of when travelling with a vanity case?

There are two things you need to be aware of. 

1. You can’t board a plane or go through airport security with any liquids in containers over 100ml. 

2. Any liquids inside your vanity case need to fit inside a small plastic bag sized 20cmx20cm