Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: A Toiletry Bag – How to Travel Light

My travelling toiletry bag for short trips by Jonny Blair

Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: A Toiletry Bag

I’m pretty sure I’m an exception to a lot of backpackers and travellers out there with regards to my toiletry bag. I NEVER travel with Shower Gel. (OK, unless I get given it FREE in a hotel or hostel 😉 ). For this reason and from what you are about to read, my toiletry bag is probably lighter and smaller than those toiletry bags of my peers. Prepare to change the weight of your toiletry bags forever on today’s Tuesday’s Travel Essentials.

In this post I look at TWO types of travel and the toiletry bags that I TAKE on these types of travel:

1. Short trips (Anything less than ten days)

First of all, what goes in my toiletry bag for any trip of less than ten days. Here’s a photo of my entire toiletry bag from an 8 day trip:

Lightest ever toiletry bag for travelling

Tuesday’s Travel Essentials – I must have the lightest toiletry bag of all travellers I have ever met…

Yes that’s all I need, so therefore that should be all a male traveller needs (yes I know girls are different) but all I’m saying is if I can travel for a week with this small toiletry bag then you can too. I don’t need shower gel, aftershave, shaving foam or razors (if you read this post on soap you will find out why!!). I also don’t need a spray on deodorant. Roll ons last much longer, agree with my skin more and use up less space and weight. I’d even argue the roll on deodorant I take weighs too much, so I’m trying to downgrade that too. In its entirety, these are the only 5 toiletry items I take on a trip shorter than ten days:

1. a toothbrush (normal size)

2. toothpaste (the above photo has 2 small toothpastes, I sometimes carry just one, or sometimes 3 for a 9-10 day trip. Each tube is enough for 6 brushes/3 days)

3. a glass roll-on deodorant (50 ml)

4. a bar of soap (small, round – and will last for almost a month)

5. a small plastic container with some shampoo in it (either taken free from a hotel where I stayed or poured from a larger bottle)

And that’s it. I don’t shave on a short trip like this, nor do I ever need any other toiletries (separately I carry a First Aid Kit of course). This could fit in my pocket, but I put it in my bag. It still shocks me how travellers on a one week trip take a toiletry bag bigger than my bag for a 4 month trip! Why take a massive tube of toothpaste on a short trip?? You might end up throwing the rest out, but you will never use it all. Why take shower gel on any trip? Soap does exactly the same thing yet takes up less room, isn’t a liquid, lasts longer etc…

2. Long Trips (anything longer than 10 days)

OK so for longer trips, of course I pack more and here’s a photo of my toiletry bag for a longer trip:

toiletry bag for long term travel a lifestyle of travel

What toiletries should you pack for long term travel?

As you can see, I have gone for a larger tube of toothpaste and succumbed to shaving…and that’s the only difference. This is all you need for long term travel. Once something runs out, buy a new one exactly the same if you can. So for long term travel (or anything longer than ten days) I pack a whopping SEVEN toiletry items:

1. a toothbrush (normal size) – SAME

2. toothpaste (anything less than 100 ml, in case there are flights involved) – LARGER SIZE

3. a glass roll-on deodorant (50 ml) – SAME

4. a bar of soap (small, round – and will last for almost a month) – SAME

5. a small plastic container with some shampoo in it (either taken free from a hotel where I stayed or poured from a larger bottle) – SAME

6. a razor (the blades are disposable so I can take the razor shaft onto flights etc. and replace with new blades – and yes occasionally I carry a spare blade…)- NEW

7. shaving cream (small, the type of one you get free on flights and in hotels – if I didn’t bring this, I’d use soap while shaving – does the same job) – NEW

So that’s it. I’ll never be the lightest ever traveller as I carry bulky travel guide books and information pages, but I do really cut down on my toiletry bag and I have travelled the world like this. That’s all you need.

If you take any wisdom from this post please share it, but please just remember:

– YOU ARE PROBABLY PACKING TOO MANY TOILETRIES (cut down like me and you’ll be a better and lighter traveller for it)

Safe travels on another edition of Tuesday’s Travel Essentials…

With my endless travel tips and stories, I want to inspire you all to head out there and see the world! Check my advertising page if you have an idea for a product or brand for my Tuesday’s Travel Essentials, and don’t forget I welcome free toiletries, plus computers, hard drives and cameras as the ones I have always break…

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3 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: A Toiletry Bag – How to Travel Light

  • I wish I could travel that light. But, alas I’m a girl…We need our makeup, makeup remover, cleanser, etc… Luckily, with the US restrictions, it’s all 3.0 oz and smaller. The husband on the other hand, travels VERY light. At the most, he has travel toothpaste, a travel toothbrush, a travel Axe, and an extra pair of contacts. He’s lucky…

  • Hi Nicole, thanks for the comment. My girlfriend is similar to you so don’t worry. And years ago I travelled with a MASSIVE bag of toiletries. I’ve just learned over the years to downsize it and that nobody ever needs shower gel when a small bar of soap does the same job and lasts for months…great site you have there by the way! Jonny

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