There’s nothing worse than realizing that the one thing you really need when getting ready in your hotel is still sitting in your medicine cabinet back home. Aside from your usual makeup and medications, there are some small travel items that are must-haves for your toiletries kit. Don’t forget these 10 items.
It’s important to have a toothbrush on you, and you’ll want one that folds into itself because a) it saves space in your toiletries bag, and b) it and shields the bristles from coming in contact with anything you wouldn’t want to put in your mouth. If you’re keeping your toothbrush in the same bag as makeup and deodorant, for instance, you won’t want to worry about the brush picking up anything other than toothpaste.
Folding toothbrushes like GUM’s On-the-Go Soft Toothbrush are inexpensive. Pack a travel-sized toothpaste and floss to go with it, although the hotel will likely have some available if you don’t.
You don’t want to be that person on the plane who smells after a long layover or running to the gate. Opt for a natural, fresh-smelling antiperspirant like Tom’s 24-Hour Naturally Dry Antiperspirant, which smells clean, not flowery or soapy, and is small enough to make it past TSA in your carry-on. Better to be safe than sorry.
While you should already have sanitizing wipes in your carry-on for the filthy plane, it’s important to also remember cleansing facial wipes in your toiletries bag. Traveling can make you sweat and pick up more germs than you usually do, and the stress, sleep change, or change in diet can also make you more prone to breakouts. To keep your skin clear and comfortable, try a light cleansing towelette like Yes to Cucumber Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes. The cucumber, aloe, and green tea in these wipes will keep you feeling fresh-faced after hours on a crowded flight or a long day exploring a dirty city.
A helpful tool that many travelers forget about, nail clippers can come in handy when a broken nail or hang nail starts distracting you from your long-awaited escape. They can also come in handy as makeshift scissors when you can’t find any in your hotel room. Try a foldable option that comes in a small case, like Tweezerman Folding Nail Clippers.
As far as travel hacks go, baby powder is an infinitely useful must-have. A travel-sized bottle will get through the TSA if you’re not checking a bag, and the cool white powder can be a lifesaver when used as a dry shampoo, to remove sticky sand from your skin after a day at the beach, in smelly or damp shoes, or on skin to stay cool on a humid day.
You should never be without lip balm to prevent the uncomfortable distraction of chapped lips and dry skin, no matter where you are. A small tube of Vaseline Lip Therapy is a versatile option which can also double as an eye make-up remover, on cracked hands, and for taming fly-away hairs.
Combs are one thing hotels usually will provide for free or cheap if you forget them, but those cheap, fine-toothed combs aren’t ideal for many hair types—especially for thick or curly hair types. Pack a half-sized or foldable comb with wide-set, thick teeth, like Cricket Ultra Clean’s mini comb. It will navigate through any type of hair and allow it to dry without frizzing.
Powder or Liquid SPF
Tinted powder SPF is my travel go-to, as it allows me to nix oily skin after a long flight, and doubles as protection from the sun. If you’re not the type of person to powder your nose, try a natural, oil-free liquid option, like Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen. For beach time or hiking go for a sweatproof lotion like Coppertone Sport.
Medications, i.e. Motion Sickness Pills and Pain Reliever
These will depend largely on your own preferences, but I never leave the house for a flight without motion-sickness medicine and anti-histamine pills on me. I sometimes get nauseous on flights or in cars, and have in the past had allergic skin reactions that could really ruin a trip. If you’re prone to headaches or muscle pain, throw in some pain relievers. Knowing how your body might react to the stress of travel, the climate you’re going to, or the activities you’ll be doing is important, and having the solution at your fingertips instead of having to break for a pharmacy will save you from missing out on any part of your travel experience.
Stick-on bandages can fit in any toiletry bag, and come in handy too often not to carry a few. Whether it’s wrapping an annoying cut or preventing blisters on a night when you’re still breaking in new shoes, you’re likely to find a use for adhesive bandages. Bring different options depending on how you usually use them. I prefer clear, water-proof band-aids, which have discretely saved my toes from heels and new flats on numerous occasions.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Warmest Boots for Comfy, Cozy Winter Travel
- The 15 Items You Need to Survive a Long-Haul Flight
- 7 Embarrassing Travel Gadgets That Actually Work
Shannon McMahon keeps track of travels trends and advice and is always planning her next trip. Follow her adventures on Twitter @shanmcmahon_.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2015. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.