10 Essentials for Your Travel Toiletry Kit

Ready to create your ultimate travel toiletry kit?
toiletries kit hanging against grey wall
(Photo: Envato/AtlasComposer)

Clothes and shoes aren’t the only must-haves when packing for a trip or travel tour. A toiletry bag packed with all the essentials you need to start and end each day helps you maintain your care routine away from home.

A good idea is to keep your toiletry bag fully stocked with your needed items in your dopp kit so it’s ready to go when you are. At the end of each trip, you can restock items so you’ll be ready to go the next time.

Essential Items for Travel Toiletry Kits

To do that, you’ll need smaller travel size versions of your go-to products that are easier to pack in your toiletry case and meet TSA requirements if you won’t be checking your bag. Here are 10 essentials for a well-stocked travel toiletry kit.

1. Travel-Sized Containers

travel-sized toiletries bottles in a row
Travel-sized containers reduce bulk in a toiletries bag and can be reused again and again (Photo: Envato/TaniaJoy)

If your favorite health and beauty products don’t come in small sizes, squeeze or pour some into travel-friendly containers. This allows you to keep using your favorite shampoo or moisturizer no matter where you go without toting around oversized bottles or tubes.

Look for containers that are easy to fill and refill and are leakproof. You want them to stay closed when you’re not using them but be easy to open when you want to wash your face or hair. Labels can be helpful so you don’t mix up your sunscreen with your conditioner.

TourScoop recommends: We like the containers from CadenceKitschMatador, and Humangear. You can find options from these and lots of other brands at retailers like AmazonSephora, and Target

2. Shampoo and Conditioner

Sure, you can roll the dice and see what kind of shampoo and conditioner your hotel stocks in each room. Or you can play it safe by bringing your own along.

After all, the free conditioner (if there is any) is usually never quite right. And if you want products specially tailored for, say, color-treated or curly hair, you’re not going to find that in your hotel room.

TourScoop recommends: Trusted hair-care brands TresemméOGXR+CoMoroccanoilEthique, and Redken make a variety of travel-sized toiletries like shampoos and conditioners for various hair types. Retailers like AmazonUlta BeautySephora, and Walmart carry a range of options from these and other brands.

3. Face Wash/Makeup Remover

man washing face on vacation
Bringing your own face wash (Photo: Envato/halfpoint)

The bar soap or body wash in your average hotel room isn’t ideal for washing your face at the end of the day. Bringing your own cleansing options that help address your specific skincare needs makes for a much better situation.

You can choose from a variety of formulations available in travel sizes, from gel cleansers and scrubs to foaming face washes. And makeup-removing or facial-cleaning wipes are easy to stash in a toiletry kit without taking up a lot of space (and super easy to use when you’re tired after a long day of sightseeing).

TourScoop recommends: You won’t go wrong with on-the-go face cleaning products from CeraVeBurt’s BeesNeutrogenaCetaphil, and Murad. Shop retailers like SephoraWalmartUlta Beauty, and Amazon for all kinds of options from these and other brands.

4. Deodorant

Let’s face it: Traveling can make you sweaty, whether you’re dashing to catch a plane or bus or hiking through scenic terrain. So you’ll want some deodorant or antiperspirant in your travel toiletry kit.

You can go for a traditional antiperspirant, a natural deodorant, or even deodorant wipes for quickly freshening up between activities when there’s no time for a shower. Whatever you choose, you won’t regret having it. Stick to travel-sized deodorants and antiperspirants; they’re easier to carry and still last a long time.

TourScoop recommends: We like the options from NativeDegreePacifica, and Dove. You can find a range of choices from these and other brands at TargetAmazonWalmart, and Sephora.

5. Moisturizer/Serum

person putting moisturizer on hands
(Photo: Envato/vilucm)

Whether you deal with dry patches or an oily T-zone, keeping up with your skincare routine while traveling helps your skin stay healthy and comfortable. Plenty of brands offer travel-sized moisturizers, or you can use a travel container (see above) to bring along your favorite from home.

This is a case where products that do double- or triple-duty can really come in handy in order to save space in your toiletry bag. So consider moisturizers that also include serum or sunscreen to take care of multiple needs with one product.

TourScoop recommends: Travel-sized moisturizers from Olaye.l.f.Paula’s Choice, and Jack Black are reliable and affordable options to stash in your travel toiletry kit. Find options from these and other brands at TargetUlta BeautySephora, and Amazon.

6. Toothbrush and Toothpaste 

Of course you wouldn’t think of leaving home without a toothbrush and toothpaste. You probably already have the duo stashed in your travel toiletry bag.

For easiest transport, get a travel holder to store a regular-size toothbrush or choose a travel brush that flips down into its own case, to protect your brush from dirt and debris. To really save space, you can opt for disposable, pre-pasted mini brushes that you can toss out after using.

TourScoop recommends: GUMColgateCrest, and Lingito all offer good travel-friendly oral-care products. Find options from these and other brands at TargetAmazon and Walmart.

7. Shaving Supplies

man in wheelchair getting ready to shave at the bathroom sink
(Photo: Envato/Iakobchuk)

The TSA allows disposable razors in both carry-on and checked luggage. You can find lots of options for these, from the usual plastic ones you might use at home to mini-versions that come with their own traveling cases. Shaving creams and gels come in small tubes and cans for easy portability and in a variety of formulations and scents.

TourScoop recommends: For disposable razors, GilletteGillette Venus, and Bic all offer good options. For travel-sized shaving creams and gels, we like eosHarry’sCremoJack Black, and Gillette. You can find these and other brands at retailers like AmazonWalmart, and Target

8. Basic Medicines

You never know what might happen when you travel. So having some basic all-purpose medicines in your travel toiletry kit can be a good idea.

Pain relievers, allergy medicines, antacids, and motion-sickness relief meds are all good things to have on hand. Leave the big bottles and packages at home and use a travel pill holder to help corral and separate the different pills and tablets. 

TourScoop recommends: Stay organized and ready for anything with travel pill holders from Vera BradleyFYYCadencePort and Polish, and Meacolia. You can find options from these and other brands at retailers like AmazonTarget, and Walmart.

9. Sunscreen

woman in an orange tank top putting on sunscreen and smiling
(Photo: Envato/ashishk75)

Whether you’re traveling through Europe or embarking on an adventure travel tour, you need to pack sunscreen. It’s something you’ll want to put on every morning and ideally reapply throughout the day. 

Travel-sized sunscreen comes in liquid, stick, spray, and even brush-and wipe-on formulations, so there are lots of options to find the best choice for you and your travels. You may even want to choose more than one and put one in your travel toiletry bag and one in your purse or backpack.

TourScoop recommends: CoppertoneSupergoopSun BumAveeno, and Coola offer well-rated sunscreens sized for travelers. Retailers like AmazonSephoraUlta Beauty, and Target offer options from these and other brands.

10. Hairbrush/Comb

You might need to streamline your hair-styling routine when you’re on a group travel tour or a camping excursion. But you don’t need to totally give up.

Smaller-sized hairbrushes and combs still get the job done without taking up lots of space in your travel toiletry bag. And some options work well on wet and dry hair, eliminating the need for multiple styling tools.

TourScoop recommends: We’re fans of the travel-sized options from Wet BrushConair, and Goody. Find easy-to-take-with-you brushes and combs from these and other brands at TargetAmazonWalmart, and Ulta Beauty.

More from TourScoop:

Beth Luberecki writes about travel, business, and lifestyle topics. Her work has appeared in publications including The Washington Post, USA TODAY, FamilyVacationist.com, and The Indianapolis Star. The Florida-based writer shares her travels on her website bethluberecki.com and on Instagram at @bethluberecki and @findingfloridafun.