How to be a (Toiletries) Minimalist Packer?

While there are many tips and tricks to assist travellers pack light, I have not read many which cater to minimising toiletries. Many blogs suggest using those supplied by the hotel or other accommodation types.  But what if you are allergic to those products, or don’t realise it until you actually use them. However, you can still pack only the essential, natural products you need.

Ever since I had a bad reaction to a shampoo when I stayed in a  Melbourne hotel, I have made sure to pack my own. These are products I am familiar with and which have been tried and tested.

Of course, toiletries do take up space in your bag. Not to mention the weight they add. Over my years of travelling, I trialled a few options to find what worked for me which I would like to share.

  1. Work out how long your trip is and how much of a product you would reasonably use during that time.
  2. Know your destination and what activities you will participate in. For example; if you are trekking through the mountains, it is highly unlikely that you would need mascara and lipstick. So leave your glam-up kit at home.
  3. Research if your favourite products are available for purchase in that destination(s). The world is not as primitive as you might imagine, even lesser known destinations have a pharmacy.
  4. Keep it basic. A natural moisturiser, lip gloss, iron free deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush will be all you need for most travel days.
  5. For the shower; if you use natural soap, cut off only the portion you will actually need and free up space in your toiletry bag. Chances are, you will not use a whole bar on a standard trip.
  6. Only take the minimum products you will actually use. For example; unless you are swimming, you won’t need to wash your hair every day and can reduce the amount of shampoo you pack.
  7. Utilise small bottles which can be washed out and re-used. Not only can you take only what you will use, it reduces the amount of plastic waste sent to landfill.
  8. On a long trip, take only enough for the first couple of days, then buy locally as required. Most countries will have products you are familiar with and recognise. It will also enhance your travel experience as you shop side by side with locals..
  9. Keep your toiletry bag small and compact. Better yet, try to fit your products into a clear, airport regulated ziplock bag.

Once you know your own travelling habits, you will be surprised at how much you actually don’t need when travelling. It will also save valuable exploration time if you don’t have too many products to sift through each morning.



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