cover photo with products, girl walking through airport, toiletry bag and leak locks

Are you getting ready for an upcoming trip and looking for a toiletries packing list to bring so you don’t forget something essential? 

I get it, and you’re totally not alone. If I’m being honest, packing toiletries is my least favorite part of packing for a trip.

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, toiletries are often the most overlooked and forgotten items when people pack for vacations or business trips.

After traveling frequently for years, I’ve become a pro at packing for multiple people. But I know it’s not easy for those who don’t travel as much. That’s why I love creating my packing lists, like that family beach packing list and this road trip packing list.

In fact, my kids now ASK ME for one of my packing lists when they pack for travel.

And guess what? Now you can have it too!

You can use this blog post as a travel toiletries list for your next trip, checking off items as you go. And you never have to worry about forgetting toiletries and other things you need again. Want a printable list? Check out my free travel planner that has a complete printable packing list (including toiletries!) you can download for FREE.

This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase using this link. See my disclosures. Cover photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

purple suitcase and bag in airport
My toiletry packing list is based on years of experience. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

About My Travel Toiletries List

From my traveling experience and talking to friends and family, I know that essential toiletries are often overlooked. Who hasn’t started unpacking at their vacation destination and discovered—oops, you somehow forgot your shampoo or toothpaste? Or worse – your contact lenses (yes, I have.)

But each business trip or vacation location is different and may require specialty items like bug spray for forest hikes or sunscreen for the beach. So, consider each location so you can be sure to bring the most essential things needed for that specific location.

Also, consider what amenities or products the hotel, vacation rental, or resort includes with your stay. Sometimes, they have really nice products, but often in small quantities.

For the purposes of this blog post, I included a general list of toiletries to help you plan for your next trip, as well as some I never leave home without and unique tips. But of course, you may need to add a few specifics depending on your destination.

What is a Toiletry Item?

For those who haven’t traveled before or recently, let’s get a quick overview of we mean by toiletries for the purpose of this post. Toiletry items are anything you use for grooming or cleaning, such as deodorant, soap, dental floss, shampoo, and conditioner. These are essential items that you’ll want to bring with you or buy once you get where you’re going.

If you use something for personal hygiene every day or even a few times a week, you’ll want to add it to your packing list. And bring enough of it along so that you don’t run out. It also helps save money when you travel to bring your own, and you can of course by travel sizes of many products or fill up toiletry bottles with you own products.

picture of blue apron bottles as toiletry bottles
If you use a meal service like Blue Apron, you can repurpose those bottles to be toiletry bottles! Photo credi: Bon Voyage With Kids


I’m going to share with you one of my favorite hot tips. If you subscribe to a meal delivery service like Blue Apron, you can repurpose the mini bottles that they send for certain sauces to use for toiletry bottles to fill up with your own shampoo, conditioner, body wash and moisturizer. My dad taught me this trick and it’s been a great way to reuse and repurpose the bottles, as well as save money on buying travel size toiletries for our trips.

What Toiletries Can I Take on a Plane?

TSA has the 3-1-1 liquids rule, which applies to liquids, gels, creams, and paste when it comes to the items you can bring in your carry-on travel bag. You’re only allowed to pack 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters of each personal item, which is about the equivalent of most travel-size toiletries.

This liquid rule also applies to consumables such as water, salsa, and soda. Even peanut butter is considered liquid by TSA standards because it is spreadable.

All liquids must fit inside a clear quart-sized zip-top bag, and you’re allowed only one bag per customer. That’s where the 3-1-1 comes from – 3.4 ounces, 1 quart-size bag, and only 1 bag per customer. Honestly, while it can be a pain, bringing smaller containers helps you travel lighter.

TSA Check in airport
Double check the TSA requirements before traveling to be sure you can bring on your toiletry items if you are not checking a bag. Photo credi: Bon Voyage With Kids

One question often asked is, what about clear bottles that appear to have less than 3.4 ounces in them? TSA advises that size is determined by what is written on the bottle itself, so you can’t have bigger bottles even if they have 3.4 ounces or less. That’s why travel-size toiletries are so handy for carry-on bags and essentials if you’re traveling carry-on only.

Before you stress out, you can check larger bottles of liquid in your checked baggage; the 3-1-1 rule only applies to liquid in your carry-on luggage. But make sure you put each personal item in a toiletry bag in case something happens and the bottles get crushed or broken.

Watch this short video to learn more about air travel and TSA rules and restrictions.

Essential Travel Toiletries Packing List

With so many essential toiletries for families traveling and as crazy as packing to go can be, it’s easy to forget something.

If you buy things like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in large containers, there are plenty of travel-size containers you can buy and fill at home. You can often buy them in a small pack or purchase a plastic container to store them in case of spills (which are inevitable).

Here are the items you don’t want to forget when packing your toiletry bag.

travel size toiletry products
I like travel size toiletry products when traveling to keep my suitcase light. Photo credi: Bon Voyage With Kids

Toiletries List For Women

Personal Hygiene and Health

These are the essential hygiene items that are must-haves for your toiletry kit.

  • Lip balm
  • Shampoo and conditioner (Dry shampoo, depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing. If you have color-treated hair, you may want to check if your shampoo comes in travel size too.)
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Tweezers
  • Floss
  • Cotton swabs
  • Nail files
  • Face wash and face lotion
  • Eye cream
  • Body lotion
  • Body wash or soap
  • Razors
  • Shaving gel or cream
  • Sunscreen
  • Perfume
  • Tampons, sanitary pads, or something similar or pack menstrual underwear and swimsuit
  • Prescription medications

Also, you can use other travel hacks to cut down on what you bring or in case you forget something, like using:

  • Baby powder as dry shampoo
  • Face scrub as body scrub
  • Shampoo as shower cream or gel (for a short period)
  • Conditioner as shaving cream

These things will do in a pinch.

Beauty Essentials for Your Packing List

When packing toiletries for travel, I like to simplify my makeup routine and choose products that can do double duty, like a face lotion or moisturizing cream with SPF. A tinted moisturizer with SPF can also save space from needing foundation.

  • Lip gloss
  • Hair dryer, flat iron, curling iron, hair brush, and other essential hair(Some hotels may have a hair dryer you can use; just double-check where you’re staying.)
  • Perfume (Roll on works well for travel)
  • Hair ties, scrunchies, clips, barrettes, and other styling essentials
  • Hair spray and other styling products
  • Hair dryer Converter if traveling internationally
  • Comb or hair brush
  • Makeup/Makeup Brushes
  • Makeup remover
  • Face wipes
  • Cotton pads or balls
  • Qtips
  • File and nail clippers
  • Tweezers


If you are traveling with face toner, here’s a tip. Rather than bring the bottle, you can take a ziplock bag and fill it with cotton pads. Pour a bit of toner into the bag and shake it up. Keep doing this little by little until the cotton pads are wet with the toner (it takes less than you think.) The cotton pads will stay moist with the toner in the bag and you’ll save space (and product). This works great too if you are not checking a bag.

kid traveling through aiprot with suitcase
Remember your kids’ toiletry needs too! Photo credi: Bon Voyage With Kids

Toiletries List for Kids

These are the essentials to add to your toiletries packing list for kids.

  • Shampoo and conditioner (leave-in conditioners are great for kids and other family members, too)
  • Body wash
  • Face wash, soap, or wipes
  • Prescription medication (If you need a freezer pack, typically TSA allows freezer packs in your carryon if they are still frozen for our medicine.)
  • Over the counter medication (In the USA, typically TSA will allow you to bring over the counter liquid medication for kids in your carryon. However, you will get stopped and they will test the medicine. But international rules are different and I have had these items thrown out when they are in my carryon and traveling internationally.)
  • Sunscreen with extra protection or higher SPF
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Dental floss or flossers
  • Wash clothes or wipes
  • Lotion
  • Kids chapstick
  • Diaper cream
  • Diapers
  • Ponytail holders, scrunchies, hair ties, or bows

Toiletries List for Men

There are several toiletry essentials for men to add to their toiletry kit, including:

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Soap or shower gel
  • Face wash
  • Body lotion
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Chapstick or lip balm
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream
  • Aftershave
  • Comb or brush
  • Hair gel, spray, or other styling products
  • Medication
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
disney cruise ship bathroom with clothes line and swimsuit hanging
Many showers in hotels and on cruises have clothes lines in the bathroom for hanging swimsuits but I recommend bringing clothes pins too. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Laundry Essentials

If you’re staying in a condo, Airbnb, VRBO, or unit with a washer and dryer, then you’ll want to remember these laundry items when packing toiletries for your trip.

  • Laundry Detergent Pods and Dryer Sheets (if staying in a location with a laundry machine)
  • SinkSuds (if you will hand wash laundry in a hotel room)
  • Stain sticks like Tide to Go
  • Lint roller
  • Portable clothes steamer (maybe not an essential, but a nice-to-have)
  • Clothes Pins (many hotel showers have a clothes line in them so you can use this to dry swimsuits or if you hand wash clothing.)
  • Downey Wrinkle Release spray (helps if you don’t have an iron)
  • Travel laundry bag
European hotel bathroom with sink, mirror, shower and hairdryer.
If you are traveling internationally, often hair dryers (with the correct plugs) are available as well as complimentary shampoo, conditioner and body wash but some budget hotels in Europe won’t have the toiletries, so double check the included ammenities before you go. Photo credi: Bon Voyage With Kids

Other Essential Toiletries for Travel

No matter if you’re traveling internationally or domestically, a first aid kit is always a helpful item to pack for mild illnesses and injuries that don’t require medical attention. Things to bring in your toiletry bag include:

  • Bandaids and first aid kit
  • Antibiotic creams such as Neosporin
  • Pain reliever – Asprin, Ibuprofen, etc.
  • Vitamins
  • Antacids
  • Immodium
  • Benadryl or an antihistamine
  • Throat lozenges
  • Digital thermometer
  • Kids’ over the counter medications
  • Rehydration salts (in case the kids get Delhi belly or an adult does from eating spicy food) and electrolyte mix for hydration
  • Sting or bite cream
  • Rubbing alcohol pads
  • A travel-size bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • Plug converter if you plan on bringing your own hair dryer, curling iron or travel steamer for international destinations (make sure it can work with those appliances otherwise they may get ruined)

Poo-Pourri is another essential and comes in cool travel sizes.

toiletry bags on counter
The hanging toiletry bags are great, but we also love the Away brand. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

What’s the Best Toiletry Bag?

When it comes to carrying travel toiletries, getting the right bag (or bags) is critical. You want your toiletry bag to be durable and prevent leaks from getting into the rest of your luggage.

  • These travel bottles and TSA-approved travel bags are very inexpensive, and you can organize the travel toiletries by person or group the kids together based on their ages. These Packism TSA-approved bags for your toiletries also have good reviews.
  • Away offers some of my favorite travel suitcases for the family. They have toiletry bags of all sizes, but the hanging bag is a great option for your travel kit. It has a spill-proof interior and contains pouches for easy storage.
  • This Vera Bradley Hanging Travel Organizer is handy for organizing makeup, jewelry, hair accessories, and some toiletries. However, it is not plastic-lined for spills, so you may want to get a clear bag for liquids, creams, etc.
  • I love that these full-size Narwey bags organize your toiletries well and carry common-sized toiletries, lotions, skincare, etc. They are roomy and include a waterproof pocket for liquids, so it allows you to keep your dry and wet items separate. Plus, they are very affordable.
  • Shacke Packing Cubes (I also love CabinZero packing cubes) – These packing cubes are essentials for any trip we take and the best choice, in my opinion, after traveling for years all over the world. They are the perfect size to fit in most suitcases and help you pack neatly. We use packing cubes on every trip we take.  For kids, I love these Oudain days of the week packing cube pouches. They can help keep outfits together complete with tops, bottoms, underwear and socks, making travel easier. Another option is compression bags, which are not cubes. But they compress a lot and are more pliable than the cubes. But cubes are easier for drawers in hotel rooms and small spaces.

You can even store your toiletries in clear TSA-approved containers and still save space in your suitcase.

compression bags for packing
I use both packing cubes and compression bags. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Tips for Packing Toiletries Items

How Do You Keep Your Liquids From Leaking?

I get this question all the time. There are a few ways to prevent liquids from leaking all over the contents of your suitcase. One is to use Ziploc bags for your toiletry kit. You can put each item in a Ziploc bag or group them in larger ones.

Another idea is to use TSA-approved clear plastic bags like the ones I mentioned before (These bottles come in a clear plastic bag, and these Packism containers have many great reviews.) Experienced travelers will also tell you to wrap plastic wrap in small squares over the tops of the bottles. It helps to cover the space between the lids and bottles that are prone to leaking.

But my favorite way to prevent leaking from all your toiletries is to use LeakLocks. LeakLocks are elastic sleeves that slide over each item. I also include these on my small travel gifts list (they make great stocking stuffers!) They are travel-sized, so you can put a LeakLock over each item, store them in the travel accessory bags they come in, and pack them in your carry-on.

Minimize Toiletries

Once you’ve made a list of everything possible item for your toiletries packing list, look at the things that are absolutely essential and those that aren’t. Minimizing the toiletries you need to take is a great idea and creates extra space in your toiletry kit because who knows what you will find to buy and bring home?

leak locks on products
LeakLocks prevent liquids from squeezing out of their containers and making a mess in your toiletry bag. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Categorize Your Essential Toiletries

After traveling all over the world many times, I’m a super-organized packer. One hack that helps me is categorizing our toiletries into groups like shampoos and conditioners, lotions, makeup, shaving supplies, etc., just to give you an idea.

Then, you can get different-colored toiletry kit bags for each category or use different-colored bags and packing cubes for each family member.

Important Note

Anything that is absolutely essential (like medicines, glasses, and contact lense supplies) should go with you in your personal item on the plane. Even if you don’t plan on checking your bag and have a carry-on suitcase, it’s always possible that you could be required to check it at the gate. While this luggage is usually waiting for you at the gate when you depart the plane, there’s always a chance your suitcase doesn’t make it to your destination. So all essential items that you can’t be without should be in your personal item on the plane..

Check the Weather Forecast

Check the weather in advance because depending on where you go, this can give you an idea of what to expect and what to bring.

For example, if you’re going somewhere expecting cold weather or really dry heat, you may want to bring things with extra moisturizing ingredients. Include items such as lip balm or chapstick and face and body lotion. For really sunny and hot weather, you may need a sunblock with a higher SPF as well as aloe or burn cream.

Plan Ahead Whenever You Can

Nothing will help you more than planning in advance and using a checklist like this one for your clothes and toiletry items. It will help you stay organized, reduce stress, and prevent you from forgetting the essential things you need.

Pack extra plastic sandwich and freezer bags

I always throw some of these in my carry on or suitcase. You never know when you will need them and they can come in handy for a lot of things. If a toiletry or medicine spills in your bag, you can separate it from everything else. I actually pack our digital thermometer in its own bag so if the kids’ liquid medicine spills, it doesnt ruin the thermometer. I pack suncream and bug spray in freezer bags so if they open in my suitcase, they don’t ruin my clothes. Need an extra compression bag? Freezer bags work great for this purpose.


Is it better to bring everything I need or to buy toiletries at my destination?

If you are taking a longer trip, it can be a good idea to buy your toiletries and other essentials once you get to your destination. The restriction on liquids can be a hassle, and this strategy can help you save space when packing.

But if you don’t want to spend additional money on products you already have, packing liquids to meet TSA compliance isn’t hard. Once you get used to it, it becomes second nature if you travel a lot.

There are certain times when you don’t want to buy things at your vacation location, like if they are expensive or don’t have the brands or items you need. I once travled to Iceland and forgot my contact lense solution. It was so expensive to purchase there, that I never traveled without it again.

What toiletries not to forget when traveling?

When packing your travel toiletry bag, you don’t want to forget to pack toiletries such as:

  • Shampoo and conditioner (dry shampoo can be quite handy too)
  • Hair spray or hair styling products
  • Hair dryer, flat iron, curling iron, hair brush, and other essential hair (Some hotels may have a hair dryer you can use; just double-check where you’re staying.)
  • Shower gel or body wash
  • Contact lens case, contact solution, and spare contact lenses (If you have family members who wear contacts, bring contact lens cases for everyone who does, as these are must-have items. Also, take these in your carry-on.)
  • Feminine products
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Shaving cream and razors
  • Deodorant
  • First aid kit
  • Beauty products like makeup products, face, roller perfume, and eye cream
  • Remember contact lenses, medicines, and glasses (but be sure to pack these in your carry-on bag, not your checked bag.)
  • Maxipads/tampons (trying to buy these when traveling can sometimes be a brand you don’t like.)
  • Makeup

Anything you need for hygiene, beauty, or laundry is essential to bring, and many come in travel-size or tiny bottles. The good thing is that unless you’re going to somewhere really remote and isolated, you can buy any toiletry and personal items you forget at the local store.  But if you have loyalty to a brand, or if replacing it on travel is expensive, it’s best to bring it with you.


What is the most forgotten thing to pack?

One of the most forgotten things to pack for traveling is hair brushes, and yes I have forgotten this many times. But other items include:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hair dryer (though most hotels have one)
  • Iron
  • Razors
  • Lip balm
  • Travel charges and adapter
  • Makeup remover
  • Bug spray
  • Contact solution
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash

Final Thoughts on This Travel Toiletries List

I hope you loved these great tips for packing toiletries and a list of essential personal and family items to bring on vacations and other trips. Now you know just what to bring and can pack confidently.

While you can carry toiletries in a checked bag, it is nice to have a toiletry kit of travel-size containers in your carry-on in case your checked baggage gets lost.  If you travel often, this will inevitably happen to you.

Packing gets easier over time, especially when you have packing lists that make knowing what to take easier.

Like This Post? You Might Also Like These!

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