Minimalist Travel

Minimalist Toiletries: How To Pack The Perfect Minimalist Travel Toiletry Kit

Packing for a trip can be fun and difficult sometimes, especially when packing travel toiletries. It took me a while to figure out what I need to bring each time before creating my minimalist toiletries packing list.

With all the new airline regulations for carry-on luggage and extra fees for checking in bags, budget travellers are finding ways to get around the system and not pay the exorbitant amount for just to checking in a bag.

This means travellers also have to abide by the strict Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations where you can only bring travel size toiletries in your carry-on bag.

And since I am a minimalist traveller where I only bring my travel essentials in a backpack weighing less than 7kg, I have to make sure I don’t overpack my minimal toiletry bag.

In this post, I’ll share with you my minimalist travel toiletries packing list and show you how you can pack the perfect amount of travel toiletries for your next trip.

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Minimalist Travel Toiletries: What is in my Minimalist Toiletry Bag?

Part of my minimalist packing list includes my comprehensive list of toiletries for travel. I pack all my minimalist toiletries in two different bags. I start with a hanging minimal toiletry bag for my dry toiletries and then a transparent case for my liquid toiletries items. The two travel toiletry bags hold all the items I need for every trip.

Inside my hanging minimal toiletry bag, my list of toiletries include:

Inside my clear toiletry bag, I have:

  • Toothpaste*
  • Facial cleanser*
  • Toner*
  • Face cream*
  • Sunblock*
  • Contact lens solution*
  • Contact lens case

*Note – for these items, I only have a sufficient amount for a few weeks. For a trip for more than a few weeks, I typically buy other toiletries at my destination or make my own DIY eco-friendly toiletries.

How to pack the perfect minimalist travel toiletries kit

There are many ways to organize your travel toiletry kit. Here are 8 tips that can help you put together your own toiletries list and create your own travel toiletries kit.

1. Use a hanging minimalist toiletry bag to keep your dry toiletry organized

One of my favourite travel hacks is to keep all my travel toiletries (other than liquids) in a hanging toiletry bag.

A hanging toiletry bag is essential for every type of traveller, especially if you are a backpacker. It keeps all the contents together, and you can hook it somewhere in the bathroom if there isn’t a whole lot of counter space.

My favourite is the Muji hanging toiletry bag. It has a large compartment and a two pockets for smaller items. I don’t need many compartments otherwise I would be confused on where all my toiletries are stored.

The design of the toiletry bag is simple and minimal, yet thoughtful, which makes this the perfect minimalist toiletry bag. Plus, I like this brand because Muji makes excellent products that are affordable and practical.

Since my first purchase 10 years ago, I haven’t used anything else.

But there are many variations of the toiletries travel bag. Here are some a few suggestions that are similar in size and have similar functions and compartments:

2. Minimize the number of products in your travel toiletries set

If possible, try to minimize the number of products for your travel makeup kit.

For my skincare routine, I condensed it into three steps only: cleanse, tone and moisturize. Whereas if I am at home, I use another toner, eye cream and various face masks. While it is nice to have all the luxuries at home, I am delighted to bring fewer products and somewhat achieve the same facial routine.

And I keep my minimalist travel makeup kit very simple. I only have black eyeliner and lipstick. I leave my blush, bronzer, eyeshadow and everything else at home. I really don’t need to put on my whole face while I am travelling. I love how my travel makeup routine is short and takes no time at all.

3. Bring travel size liquid toiletries only

If you want to travel light like a minimalist traveller, you may want to consider travelling only with a minimal carry-on backpack. But this also means you have to separate your liquid toiletries from the rest of your belongings.

According to the latest airport security regulations, all liquids, gels, and aerosols have to be in 100ml bottles or less. And they have to be contained in a clear, quart-size zip-top bag. During the x-ray screening, you have to take out your bag of liquids for security check.

The rule applies to all your liquid toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap and any other type of product in a liquid format.

Liquids tend to be heavy, and if you are only packing a 7kg carry-on luggage, you want to minimize as much liquid as possible.

That means don’t bring shampoo for the entire duration of your trip. Six months of shampoo is very heavy! Ha!

Solution: use travel toiletry bottles that are 100ml or less to store your liquids for your travel toiletry kit. Smaller bottles mean lighter backpack. Which brings me to my next point…

4. Always use travel-size toiletry bottles (100ml or less) and a TSA-approved travel toiletry bag

If you already have a few travel size bottles at home, you can definitely reuse those. You know, the little sample bottles of products you get as a free gift when you purchase cosmetics? These are perfect for your travel size toiletries kit.

If you don’t have any, consider buying a whole travel size toiletries set or several bottles of the same size. Use it for your shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap, toner or anything else. The same size and style of the bottle allow for versatility.

Make sure the bottles are 100ml or less because you can only travel with bottles that are 100ml or less in your carry-on bag. A 100ml bottle of product can last between two to three weeks. And when you run out, you can buy more at your destination.

Then put the bottles in a TSA-approved toiletries bag. As mentioned earlier, a TSA-approved bag is a clear, quart-size zip-top bag. During the x-ray screening, you have to take out your bag of liquids for security check.

I use this clear toiletry bag but you can use any other TSA-approved clear zip-top bags:

5. Swap your liquid product for a solid version

Since TSA has strict guidelines on how much liquid you can bring in your carry-on bag, you may want to save your liquid “quota” for products that do not have an alternative version, like facial toner and sunscreen.

However, you can easily swap your shampoo, conditioner and soap from a liquid format to a solid version. Shampoo bar, conditioner bar, and bar soap are lighter, which is perfect for your minimalist toiletries packing list.

I swapped my shampoo for the Lush Seanik Shampoo Bar because it is lightweight, and I can get about 80 washes from a small bar. That’s more than 4 months! By far, this is one of the best travel toiletries for travelling!

And you can save a bit of money because you get more usage out of it than a liquid version. And it eliminates plastic waste. It is a win-win for both your wallet and the environment.

6. Replenish your travel toiletries at your destination  

Whether you are going on a one week trip or slow travelling around the globe, fill up your 100ml travel toiletry bottles and only bring those bottles with you. Each bottle can last between two to three weeks.

When you need to replenish your toiletries, you can find most of your products or a close alternative at your destination. I didn’t have any issues and found most of my toiletries in places like Singapore, Bali, Taiwan, Australia, Portugal, etc.

But if you have sensitive skin, or preferred a specific product or going to completely remote areas, then, by all means, bring everything with you.

However, if you want to travel light and pack a 7kg or less carry-on backpack, bring as little as you can and buy products along the way.

7. Use easy to find products to make natural toiletries

Since I travel light and only bring a few weeks of products, I typically have to find replacement products while I am on the road.

I like making my own natural products with easy to find ingredients that are good for my health and also great for the environment.

The key is to use ingredients that you can find almost anywhere. That means you should use simple and everyday products that you can find at supermarkets and pharmacies.

I’ve included my favourite natural DIY products below and all the products I use:

From the list above, I can make natural toothpaste, exfoliant for my face and body, facial toner, shampoo and moisturizer.

Learn how you can make your own eco friendly toiletries here.

8. Swap current toiletries for eco-friendly toiletries

This tip isn’t about bringing less on your trip. But it has to do with sustainability and being mindful of what we use. We can easily minimize waste by swapping our everyday toiletry items to eco-friendly products.

I’ve already swapped my disposable feminine products to a Diva Cup, which is one of the best things I ever did. And I will continue to swap out my other toiletries with environmentally-friendly products.

And if you want to make the switch too, here are some things you can do:

  • switch from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo toothbrush
  • instead of using q-tips, buy a reusable ear cleaner that doesn’t produce waste
  • swap disposable cotton pads for a re-usable version
  • buy biodegradable floss instead of the regular floss

Related Post – 10 Sustainable travel tips for Environmentally Conscious Travellers

Are you inspired to create your own minimalist travel toiletry kit?

It is not always easy to pack less especially for all the travel essential items that we all rely on every day. But there are many ways to travel with less.

My minimalist toiletries list is the perfect list for me. However, it may not be a perfect list for everyone.

The perfect travel toiletry kit is one that fits your lifestyle and your needs. Please use my list as a guideline and build your own list of minimalist travel toiletries that suit your needs. So have fun with creating your own toiletries list!

I hope you enjoyed this post, as I had a lot of fun writing about it. I hope my toiletries packing list will inspire how you pack your travel toiletries for your next trip.

Let me know in the comments what items you put in your travel toiletry bag.

Thank you for reading my post on minimalist travel toiletry

You might also like these other posts on minimalist travel:

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!


  • Sue
    September 29, 2020 at 3:57 am

    No deodorant. No Eye drops. No Prescriptions. Bug spray. Not my idea of a good list. No Hat., only ONE pair of socks. While you wash them you have no others. I have been to 65 countries. 35 cruises., some countries like Asia, Spain, England, Istanbul, more than once, and I can still pack those and lot’s more in one Carry-On.

    • queenie mak
      September 29, 2020 at 9:44 am

      Hi Sue, thanks for your comment. And thanks for pointing out I left out deodorant on my list. I actually do have that so I will revise the list. Thank you. As for other items, I think putting together your packing list is a very personal thing. This list works really well for me because I tend to travel to warmer places and not for a specific activity. So I would encourage you to use this as a guideline to create something that suits your needs and your trips. Thanks again for your comment! 🙂

  • Cait Snyder
    October 14, 2021 at 12:00 am

    I think this list is pretty good. I am a over packer and have been reading all your articles to try and minimalize. I always feel like I use half of what I pack when we travel. Thank you for helping me organize!

    • queenie mak
      October 14, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Hi Cait, aw thanks so much! I’ve been working on the packing list for a long time – its all trial and error. Certainly use mine as a guideline but create one that is suitable to you. 🙂 thanks for leaving such a lovely comment.

  • Olanda
    June 27, 2023 at 7:27 pm

    This is invaluable, my first time travelling after covid. Sadly studying does not accommodate great money for travel. I’ve just realised I’ve only 7kg,s. Your tips are perfect. I might stick to my I phone to do some prestudy for uni next term. Im planning to hopefully use the families toiletries well most but I need my make up. Im going to use sandwich bags. I plan to follow you on Insta.xxoo

    • queenie mak
      June 28, 2023 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Olanda, thanks so much for your comment. it’s fun packing and getting ready for a trip. But sometimes we all need reminders. I actually use my own tips for packing lol. After not travelling for several years, I forgot what I actually packed. Thanks again and enjoy your trip!


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