Frugal Traveler

How to fly with fewer liquids

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceNovember 10, 2012 

Reducing your overall travel liquids and making your storage solutions as compact as possible are important skills on the air-travel circuit. Follow these handy travel tips to keep your supplies under control.

Storage: While heading straight for the travel-sized toiletry aisle at your local pharmacy or department store is sometimes your best bet, it pays to consider decanting options. The containers in a travel-bottle kit might actually be smaller than travel-sized toiletries. This greatly increases the number of liquid items I’m able to carry with me on the plane. Nail polish remover, toner and even hairspray are items I’ve been able to store more efficiently by searching out bottles that were smaller than the typical miniature sizes of the same products. The editors over at Wandering Educators, a travel site for teachers, take a different approach: using watertight contact lens cases for small amounts of things like moisturizer, diaper ointment and even toothpaste.

Solids: Bar soap and lip balm aren’t the only personal products available in solid form. Choosing as many solid solutions as possible cuts down on the number of items you have to cram into that quart-sized plastic bag. Two of my favorites are facial sunscreen and concealer. I purchase them in retractable tubes. Other options include solid body butters, face makeup and even perfumes.

Sheets: Opting for products in sheet form is one of the most space-efficient packing strategies for liquids. When extra luggage room is limited, I choose wipes rather than liquids for things like hand sanitizer and stain-removing solution. They store flat and still allow me to customize the amount of product I need for the length of the trip. Jeanine Barone, author of “The Travel Authority: Essential Tips for Hassle-Free Travel,” favors the dissolvable sort for things like shampoo, body wash and other consumable hygiene products more typically purchased in liquid form.’s Tiffany Karabaich Pence maximizes facial cleansing cloths from companies like Pond’s and Oil of Olay by cutting them into quarters. Says Pence, “This gives me four times as much and they don’t weigh anything.”

Supplies: Familiarity with your chosen hotel’s regularly-stocked toiletry amenities can save you significant travel stress when it comes to deciding upon your carry-on liquids. For example, I’ve noticed a number of hotels stepping up with more than the typical shampoo, conditioner and body lotion lately. Toothpaste, mouthwash, shave cream and even shower gel have all made an appearance on my various hotel bath counters within the past two months. If your employer allows you to select a favorite chain, its liquid personal care products might be just as important a factor to consider as free Wi-Fi and fitness facilities.

Myscha Theriault, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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