Toiletries are a personal issue but there are things you need and will always need so the best way to make your travel effective and pleasurable is to:
- Pack what you use at home.
- Pack your stuff in good quality toiletry bags. When they burst, the lid comes off or you forget to put the lid on tight (and believe me this will happen!) you contain the mess to a limited area. This will also ensure a spillage will not end up on your suit for the meeting the morning after you get off a flight at midnight!
- Never leave any one item behind.
- Always be ready to go with the minimum notice and the minimum amount of time to pack.
Alternatively, you can go with the flow and use the products which are provided by your hotel. The quality of toiletries provided by a hotel will vary from outstanding to terrible! Probably best to rely on this approach if you only use soap and toothpaste (which will always be provided). Or if you have stayed at a hotel and checked out their limited range of products which you decide you like, then go with this approach.
Ideally, you need to replicate what is on your bathroom shelf or in your bathroom cupboard. This will ensure that you have everything and it is ready to go. Also if you travel often, you will probably prefer to keep you regime. The best way to do this is with your preferred brands and products. Some cosmetic/toiletries companies (but not enough) make small samples for traveling which can be useful (The Body Shop is one example). Another alternative is to purchase small plastic bottles and tubs for small size options. They are relatively cheap and available at department stores and well stocked pharmacies and some supermarkets. However, here is a way to minimize the impact on your life (remembering 2 sizes when you are shopping, being out of one and not the other, etc). Use the normal size packs but just have two of everything (one for home and one packed for traveling). They will be ready to go – one less thing to worry about! It is an initial, upfront investment but it will be worth it in the long run.
Refill, replace and re-pack all items of toiletries when you get home as you unpack your suitcase and put things away. If you need to buy items, buy them on your next shopping trip and pack them immediately. This way you are ready to go whenever you need to and you will not have to remember what you needed from a trip some days or weeks prior. Make sure all the bags are zipped up properly when you finish so that they are packed into your suitcase as sealed as possible.
You will accumulate many airline toiletries bags if you chose to accept them and bring them home. You do not have to take them and you can use them on the flight and then leave what you do not use behind. They will, however, be a hit with guests in your home, your children or your nieces or nephew. You can always ask the flight attendant for the male version if you are female or vice versa