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Ten Tips for Packing Skin Care Essentials When You Travel Light

Each time I travel, I cringe when it's time to puzzle my skin care essentials into small bottles of 3.4 ounces or less, and then squeeze them into a one-quart bag.

Is it just me, or are these rules as overbearing as an overtired father on prom night?

Who thought a one-quart bag was room enough for liquids?

I'll bet whoever came up with these rules doesn't use sunscreen, night serum or conditioner.


Mind you, I'm not questioning safety guidelines. I love to be safe and feel safe. But I would like to bring skin care essentials on my travels as well as a tube of toothpaste.

Since I prefer carrying my suitcase onto the plane, I have become a master at bringing just enough of the things I need.

Here are 10 tips that will help you pack your skin care essentials for travel.


Do it. Pack this part of your luggage early. Check to be sure all bottles are still leak proof. Fill all bottles and be sure to wipe them clean after filling.

03. PACK THE BASICS: For me they are shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, face serum, night serum, sunscreen, toothpaste, aloe, and bug spray. On my last trip I also brought a small bottle of nail polish – that I never used.

Why? Why? On my recent trip to Colombia, I packed a travel-sized sunscreen into my suitcase. When I arrived, I bought a large bottle of a US brand of sunscreen that was filled with awful ingredients –but I knew my skin could tolerate it. It was only a week. I used it liberally.

Side note: I have not always been able to find a US brand of sunscreen. In Turkey I tried a local/healthy brand and loved it. It isn’t available in the states.


04. CASTILE SOAP: I (usually) travel with a travel-sized container of castile soap. It’s great as a shower gel, to wash hands and my biggest use: to hand wash clothes in the sink every night. I forgot to pack the soap on my trip to Colombia and had to wash my clothes using hand soap. #can’t #recommend #that. The soap was packed, then I removed it to seal it in another layer – to be sure it didn’t leak. It sat in my bathroom cabinet for a month and I never noticed that I didn’t repack it. Sigh.

05. LIP PROTECTION: Pack a lip balm or lip treatment with spf protection to keep your lips hydrated and protected. It’s not fun to burn your lips.

06. WASH CLOTH: Bring a cotton washcloth. Sometimes I carry it with me on very hot days to wipe away the sweat before I reapply sunscreen, other times I keep it for washing my face at night. Either way, it’s a luxury item that you’ll be glad to have. On my last trip, I traveled with my friend Shirley. I pitied her need for a decent washcloth and gave her mine. I used the end of my ratty towel in the rental apartment to help wash my face. She loved the soft and absorbent washcloth and is now a washcloth-carrying convert. Next time I’ll pack two: one washcloth for me and one for a friend.

07. ALOE: I always pack an aloe product in case I get too much sun. It also helps to calm my skin if I suffer an allergic reaction. On a recent trip to Turks & Caicos, I wore sunscreen and a hat and spent all of my time sitting in the shade. I still got a sunburn on my face and my right shoulder. Why? Why? Luckily, I had an aloe product with me. I put a thin layer on my face and right shoulder (?) and by morning the pain, tightness and redness were gone. Big win.

In Colombia we sat on the beach engrossed in conversation and ignored the sand flea bites. By the next day, the bites were red, bumpy and some leaked puss.

Not fun.

I applied a thin layer of aloe over my bites, and it stopped the itching and removed the puffiness around the bites.

Another big aloe win.

08. MAKEUP REMOVAL: Don't forget to pack some cotton pads for makeup removal. I no longer wear makeup, but if I change my mind, I will carry cotton pads.

09. FACE WIPES: I’ve never been a fan of face wipes, but Shirly loved them and was glad she had them when the water in our rental apartment in Colombia cut off for three days. Yes. Three days. They apologized and gifted us with a five-gallon bottle of water that we couldn’t figure out how to open. #truestory I bought bottled water, that I could open, to wash my face; she used her face wipes.

10. TRY LOCAL: If you and your skin are up for an adventure, consider trying out some local skin care products in the area where you’re adventuring.

See how that adds to the idea of traveling light? But products there.

Last summer when I was in Poland, I searched high and low for a healthy skin care moisturizer. Wasn’t there a local brand I could try? I couldn’t find anything with ingredients that I wanted on my body. I’m sure they had healthy choices, but I couldn’t find them. I searched through grocery stores, health food stores, pharmacies and anywhere else I could think of. Nothing. In the end I bought some raw ingredients and made my own moisturizer from shea butter and various oils. It worked great, and I didn’t have to worry about putting poisonous ingredients onto my body.

Oh, Travel…

I dream about travel the way others dream about dessert.

I’m always thinking about my next destination.

Not sure where I'll go next, but I am sure that the castile soap will get packed, and the nail polish will not.


And you, dear reader: How do you pack for your travels?

Share in a comment below or send me an email. I love hearing from readers. Thanks for reading, 💚💚xxoo, Love Holly


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