Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Packing Light: Toiletries

With baggage fees increasing, packing light has become a frugal necessity. Unfortunately the travel (or trial size) products are much more expensive per ounce than their normal sized counterparts and specialty brands aren’t even available. It seems the frugal traveler is caught between a rock and a hard place.

The way I get around it is I refill my regular products into smaller containers. It’s fairly obvious to use hotel extras of soap, shampoos and conditioner and to refill those containers, but what do you do for your specialty products? I prefer to only use one brand of face wash, one brand of facial moisturizer, etc. and those are certainly not things hotels are providing me with.

For my moisturizer, I’ve dumped out a tiny bottle of hotel body lotion, rinsed it as best I could and filled it with my facial lotion. I don’t use very much at a time, so the hotel size is perfect. I do the same with my face wash—dumped out a hotel shampoo, rinsed it, and refill it with my good stuff. (Be sure to label them!) This ensures I have the products that keep my skin happy and that I can pack them in containers of less than three ounces.

I also refill travel size toothpaste. I’m not brand specific with that, but it’s one of the products where the small size is astronomically expensive compared to the regular size. If you just invest in one travel size toothpaste and keep refilling it, it brings the cost down considerably.

The way you do it is exactly the way you think you would. Put the nozzles together and squeeze the big one into the little one with slow, constant pressure. Even though the tubes are different sizes, the nozzles are almost the same size. There is some spillage, but it is very minimal.

Packing light, without spending a fortune on travel sizes, works for me.


  1. Never thought about refilling toothpaste although I do this with lotions and creams and such. Great idea!

  2. I'm traveling for the first time in years this coming January - I just bought my tickets last week. So this is a very timely and helpful tip for me! Thank you so much!

  3. We travel a lot and I definitely use the smaller bottles that I refill. I also order a lot of freebie samples that work great for traveling.


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