Travel Stories: How I Pack 4+ Weeks of Toiletries Into One Teeny Tiny Bag
How I Pack 4+ Weeks of Toiletries Into One Teeny Tiny Bag
Today I’m sharing with you how I pack 4+ weeks of toiletries into one small bag. This type of post is pretty unusual around here! I’m not one to give out all kinds of advice, even though I have a ton… (hmm should I be doing this more?!) but today’s post was brought on by a great response from my Instagram community requesting I relieve their curiosity about how I achieve packing so little to last so long! I’ve made it a habit to turn weekend trips into multiple weeks on the road, yet I always pack the same amount. This is one little look into what could turn into a whole series on packing lightly! (So, ya know, let me know if you want to hear more on packing lightly!) Now let’s get started!
Ps. do you like all the silly gifs I made for this post?
I mean… it’s not like I’m going to take super amazing, professional, CRYSTAL CLEAR images
of my personal care items! Yikes!
Pss. TLDR? Scroll to the bottom to get general tips instead of just what’s in the bag!
What’s in the bag?
I’ll break it down for ya!
- Dental Care: I’m a big Radius fan because, I mean… look at this amazing ECO-FRIENDLY (↞majorly important to me) travel toothbrush! It’s my favorite! It cleans so well, keeps your bristles safe from the outside world(…or um, the inside of my toiletry bag), and comes in green :) I’m forever sold. Following that, I’ve got Radius’s newest edition, their Mint Aloe Neem Organic Toothpaste! It’s a low foaming paste which is new to me but I still really enjoy it! Toothpaste is always the biggest bottle of anything I bring along. I always buy toothpaste in 3oz tubes because I need it to last a couple months but still be TSA approved so this stuff fit the bill. Lastly, even though I’m guilty of not flossing evvveerrrryyyy single day, I still gotta have some around for the once a week/month I manage to do it and those rare emergencies. The Vegan Xylitol Floss Sachets are awesome because they are single use (but still eco-friendly!), sanitary, and basically barely exist (look how tiny those are!)
- If you are interested in Radius and want a discount, they have this awesome rewards program! You keep reaping the benefits, too, because they reward you with every purchase!
- Eye Care: Here’s where I’m a major cheater. I never take out my contacts! I leave them in for the whole 2 weeks that are allowed by my contact lenses. This means I just carry an extra pair or two in the bag and a contact lens case full of solution for the rare occasion I need to take them out or need a smidge of solution. See? Major cheater over here!
- Body Care: Swooping to the northwest corner of this gif, we have general body care! You gotta have tweezers, nail clippers, body wash, and the crappiest razor you can find (jk, this was just a purchasing mistake made by my boyfriend and now we have to use them up. I usually like a more eco friendly option so next time this is something I’d like to try). I love Dr Bronner’s soap because you can use it for so many things (like laundry or dishwashing while camping) and versatility + multi usability are key when traveling 🙌🏼 If you leave it concentrated, a little bottle like this will last you for a long time! It doesn’t take much to wash your body or clean your clothes! The tiny circle container is my homemade deodorant. Ok, if you haven’t already called me “granola” or “hippy dippy” by now, you are going to start (don’t be too harsh, I was raised by hippies so I never really had a chance!) I make my own deodorant at home and put it in an old Lush sample container. Fancy. It’s a pretty small container but it lasts me months! If you want the recipe I based mine off of its HERE. Last in this section are my two little essential oil bottles! One is tea tree oil (because it is soooo useful) and the second is actually magnesium oil to help with sleep!
- Face Care: At the top right, you will find all the goodies I use for my face (and boy this section takes up a lot of room!) I’ve got toner (witch hazel in an old spray bottle, fancy fancy), face scrub (in an old Dr. Bronner’s bottle… I need to stop admitting this stuff), face oil, and a prescription product. I would say the face scrub is the thing that needs refilling most often, but it still provides me with weeks and weeks of use!
- Makeup: Here is another section where I am STRAIGHT UP CHEATING. I don’t use makeup. I talk about this on occasion on my Instagram (so head over there for the full explanation) so this means I save some space here! I do have a travel-friendly eyelash curler and you may find me stealing some mascara from a friend for a special outing (I’m talking like twice a year), so I have a little something there!
- Hair Care: This section is quite simple but one of my secret weapons to making such a small bag possible! First, I don’t need a full-size brush so a Sandalwood Wide Tooth Comb does the trick! Next, you can find my Lush tin with their special SHAMPOO BAR (whoa.) and CONDITIONER BAR (seriously, this concept blew me away!) The trick is to get them halfway used up at home so that they are small enough to fit in the same tin. One bar will last me a whole year, so this little sliver left in that tin up there will still last me a long time! There are so many reasons why these are awesome, but to just name a few; they are eco-friendly with no packaging, they won’t explode in your bag during a flight or mountain trip, and they do a great job cleaning and conditioning (at least they do for me, everyone is different!) I like Seanick Shampoo Bar and Big Solid Conditioner 💗
- Quick tip for the conditioner: get it warmed up under the shower water and then bring it between your hands and spin, spin, spin, massaging off lots of white conditioner into your hands –then apply as normal! It takes a minute or two, but totally worth it!
- The Bag: If you are wondering where I got this cute little bag, it’s from a charming little shop on Coronado Island, CA called Charisma 🌊
That pretty much wraps up how I pack 4+ weeks of toiletries into one teeny tiny bag for air travel, road trips, and long-term adventures! As you may have noticed, most of the items last me months! So this “4-week” thing was just to put a number on it! I pack the exact same bag no matter how long the trip and I even live out of it 100% of the time at home, too! More on that below ;)
If you are curious about WHAT I pack into my very small, teeny tiny toiletries bag that gets me through the likes of both air travel and road trips, as well as weekend trips and long-term adventures, scroll up^^. This section is a follow up of sorts sharing all of my general tips for packing a toiletry bag and how to make it a comfortable experience!
- This is bizarre, but I actually live out of my travel toiletries kit 100% of the time and have been for years! I’ve been so nomadic for so long, I can’t break that habit (not that I necessarily want to!) This means that everything I use at home comes from this bag and for the most part, goes back into this bag. There are a few luxury items I’ve slowly allowed myself to have now that we are living in a home. This includes my first full-sized hairbrush since I was in high school or a few occurrences of using full-sized shampoo bottles — nothing too extreme!
- One major benefit of this is that I never forget my toothbrush anywhere! Haha! It’s so ingrained in me to return it right back to my bag that you will never catch me saying I forgot it (unlike my boyfriend, Vincent, who forgets his constantly 😉😂)
- Another thing I like about this system is that I am always packed, ready for an adventure! I love spontaneity so any chance I’ve got to go on a trip on a whim, not only do I want to say YES, but I also don’t want to be stressed over it or forget something important. This way, I’m always ready and packing for a trip is super simple!
- One of the biggest reasons I’d suggest experiencing this yourself (for just a trail, no one needs to be as crazy as I am!) is so you can know how long each item will last you. I’ve grown sooooo much confidence in understanding how long each size container will last me over the years. Way back when, I would have seen a 3oz bottle of shampoo and thought “That will only last one use!” Turns out, through experience, it will actually last me a month! This way, I always know what I have and feel comfortable knowing how long it will last me. No one likes the feeling of thinking you are going to run out of your favorite soap with no possibility of a refill while you are in a different country! The secondary benefit of experiencing this while you are still at home is so you know what you actually need. Try out a 2 week period where you track what you actually use and what you don’t! I’m sure you’d be able to cut your kit by a lot!
- My second general tip is to use products that have multiple uses. Selecting an oil that is face-friendly can also work for hair or as lotion substitute. Dr. Bronner’s is the perfect body wash that I also use for laundry soap and dishes when camping (if we aren’t being too lazy!) I think you get the gist!
- Reuse old bottles. Be eco-friendly, my friends! Plus, the different shapes and sizes offer more options than what you can buy at the store!
- Visit Lush. They have great travel products (including some that I haven’t even tried yet!)
- Leave those “just in case/emergency items” behind. You can always buy them on the rare occasion you need it.
- Have a system so you don’t forget things!
The goal is to be comfortable. There is no rule that you have to pack lightly to be a traveler or that your struggle will make you a “true” traveler. I just personally hate having a ton of stuff. Maybe you do too… or maybe you are just forced to pack lightly because you are going to fly on Spirit Airlines… so these tips are here to help you get more comfortable! No matter what, HAVE A BLAST!
I hope this relieved your curiosity and maybe inspired you for your next trip!
How I pack 4+ weeks of toiletries in one small bag
Want to read more about my travels? Head on over to the Travel Stories on the blog!