If you believe in “Packing right, Packing light”, your toiletry kit is the smart place to start. In terms of number of items to pack, it dominates any packing list. It is also the place where a little thought can save you a lot of pain, weight and money. So here are a few simple hacks to get you on the right path to Bragpack your toiletry kit:
Make it SMALL: If you begin your toiletry kit packing by emptying your dressing table/ medicine cabinet, you are doing this all wrong. Most basic toiletries are now available in smaller sized bottles/ tubes that are travel friendly (50-100 ml). A sachet of shaving foam/ shampoo will save you tonnes of space. If organizing travel packs is too much trouble, a great hack is to start your trip at a slightly fancy hotel, which will generally provide you with perfect little bottles of shampoo, body wash, toothpaste etc – no need to carry anything from home! Plus, you wont feel guilty about throwing all of the unused items at the end of your trip, to make space for all your shopping!
Trick is in the kit: A well designed toiletries kit is half your job done. Look for multiple sections, meshes, different sized pockets and waterproof exterior when shopping for the right toiletry kit. Divide different sections on the basis of how you will use them – for eg. Store soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc. in one section, and grooming things like moisturiser, perfumes, nail cutter etc. can go in the other section.
Bragpacking tip: Keep you heavy toiletry kit at the bottom of your suitcase/ bag, meaning near where the wheels are. This will make maneuvering your bag a lot more easy and internal displacements to the minimum
First aid comes first: Do not mix your medicines with your shampoos. Keep a separate medical kit or store them in separate sections – ideally in ziplock bags. Frequently used items or those required in emergencies such as hand sanitizers, wet wipes, band-aids, anti allergy medicine should be ideally kept where they can be immediately accessed such as your handbag/purse etc. Always carry a picture/ hard copy of prescription drugs and be aware of generics available locally for replenishment.
Improvise: Organizing and protecting the many tiny little things we carry requires ingenuity and improvisations. For example, you can fill up straws and seal them with heat to carry your lotions, use a binder to cover your razor head or also to organize your wired headphones, used shower caps make for great shoe covers. Idea is to not dump it all in a pouch but to figure out how to compartmentalize your stuff based on their need.
Carry on or Check in: Always think through which toiletries are going to be in your check in bag and which ones will be in your carry on. For the later, size and security restrictions will apply. So larger bottles, sharp objects such as scissors/ pocketknives etc need to necessarily be checked in. Note that many countries also require carry on toiletries to fit in a small transparent bag while going through security checks.
Leaks and squeaks: Be wary of leaks from your liquid cosmetics – best to keep them in ziplock bags for additional protection. Plastic wraps to seal bottle caps can also ensure that those lotions do not ooze out in the pressurized cabins, when flying.
It might also help to have a look at our Ladakh travel packing blog – we breakdown what we took and what we used.
So, while getting your hands dirty might be necessary (and fun) when on the road, cleaning up after is no less important and as you can see requires some planning and thought.
Hope these simple rules of the game help you in Bragpacking for your next trip.