My Travel Toiletries Kit From Scratch Under $65

My travel toiletries kit is pretty basic. I bring the bare minimum whenever I can. I don’t want to spend my vacation time at the sink, so I bring the essentials as a combination of the items I use everyday at home, and a few that come in travel sizes on-the-go (I’m the ultimate sucker for a tiny version of anything).

My everyday routine is simple. I only ever bring mascara and lipstick anymore, so I don’t need make-up wipes or a heavy duty cleanser taking up precious space in my small bag. Good ol’ fashioned Cetaphil does the trick for getting off my SPF moisturizer and the little bit of make-up on my eyelashes and lips. I like to use a hyaluronic acid serum at night, because in any environment, it will do a good job of keeping your face moisturized. I keep the same kit for winter in Chicago or spring in the Bahamas, so the versatility of my moisturizer and serum are what make my routine low maintenance. Midday when I may be a bit sweaty or feeling some tightness, I supplement my skincare with a facial spray. It gives me a nice pick-me-up in the evening when I feel I’m dragging, and I also like the relaxing scent of rosewater.

I am a nasty lady who doesn’t wash her hair everyday, so I almost never take shampoo or conditioner on my weekend trips. If I know I will be swimming or gone for 3+ days (I always have clean hair on day 1 of my trip, and then wash my hair first thing when I get home), I bring a travel bottle of my shampoo and conditioner. Since I buy massive 33 oz. bottles of shampoo and conditioner whose travel sizes cost $6 each versus a $1.19 empty travel bottle, I do it myself like a peasant (though if you’re too fancy to pour your own travel bottles, Ulta does carry a nice selection). Everything else I like to splurge on the carry-on friendly travel sizes, because if you have several generic bottles, you’ll soon forget what’s what. With all those soaps and lotions on your hands and steamy showers, even permanent marker wears off those bottles, so I use clear for shampoo (like clear/clarifying) and pink for conditioner (like soft/baby pink).

The two most optional items I bring are Retainer Brite and castile soap. I have clear aligners/retainers, and they turn very not-clear overnight. I usually leave them in for photos, so I want to make sure they’re not only germ-free but also sparkling clean every morning. I skip the mouthwash while traveling, because I blow through the travel size bottles too quickly to make them worth my while. Hotel soaps can be harsh at best, and I find they leave a film on my skin while not cleaning off all the dirt. I find that even in places with hard water, castile soap washes off well and gets the job done without a lot of product. Castile soap is also my choice for fresh tattoos, and as a tattooed lady, I always like to have it on hand just in case even if I’m not healing any new ink. Your skin does need to be used to it in order to get its powerful cleaning effects, so if it’s not part of your regular routine, use it for a week before your trip. I take a bath with it every night, and I love that it gets rid of deodorant, stink, dirt, and funk without drying my skin.

I have had my toiletries bag FOREVER from Bath & Body Works as an item that was free when you purchased other products, but there are tons of options for vinyl toiletries bags on Amazon. I swear by the vinyl bag, because if your toiletries leak, they won’t spill all over your clothes, and if you set your bag onto a wet counter, you won’t have mystery liquid all over your toiletries and soaked into the bag.

My full travel toiletries kit – $64.17

Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin with SPF 30, 2.5 fl. oz – $13.89 (also available as a Tinted CC Cream)

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum, 1 Fl. Oz – $14.69

MARIO BADESCU Travel Size Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, 2 Fl. Oz – $5.00

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, 2 oz – $2.99

Degree Ultra Clear Pure Clean Antiperspirant Deodorant, 2.6 oz – $3.99

Sensodyne ProNamel Mint Toothpaste, 2.7 oz – $3.89

Colgate® 360 Optic White Toothbrush Soft – $2.99

Q-tips Blue Purse Pack Cotton Swabs – $0.99

Gravity Feed Wide Mouth Travel Bottles, 3oz – $1.19

Retainer Brite 96 Tablets (3 Months Supply) – $11.29 (I count this as being $0.12 each, costing me $0.36 on a typical weekend trip)

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap Bundle, 32 oz. Bottle and 2 oz. Travel Bottle – $19.99 (I count this as $4, because that’s how much you can get it for if you find it in-store, otherwise the 32 oz. bottle is $15.99 on its own)

Dollar Shave Club – The Executive, Handle with Four Cartridges – $9.00



  1. good read since I’ll be traveling to Wisconsin in Sept, it’s been a long time since I’ve traveled so this is a need to know. I do have the dry shampoo that sprays on if i don’t shower and it helps.

  2. I love that spray! It is so refreshing and keeps my skin glowing!

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