The post September 11 era means that the days of carrying on any sized liquid are long gone. And who really wants to pack full size bottles anyway? The average length of most Americans’ vacation is just four days, so you’ll never need a full size bottle of shampoo, conditioner or any other products that fall under the TSA’s definition of liquids and gels (think lotions, face wash, shaving gel for the fellas, foundation and even mascara). Thankfully there are reusable travel size toiletry bottles that you can just refill with your own favorite products right from home.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve visited the aisle with the travel size toiletries and heaved a big sigh. Your favorite products probably don’t come in travel size. At least mine don’t. I don’t know how much I spent on tiny little bottles of shampoo and conditioner that would often leave my hair dry and less manageable on trips before I finally invested in a set of travel bottles. I’ve had that very same set of reusable travel bottles since 2003 and they’ve been on countless trips around the world with me. I’m confident in stating they are the best reusable travel size toiletry bottles out there after never even leaking once in over a decade of use.
I honestly don’t know why I didn’t get a set of reusable travel size toiletry bottles sooner. They are more environmentally friendly, you can stop wasting money on travel size products and you don’t have to worry about whether your hotel will have everything you need (like the bottle of conditioner that almost never exists in the hotel amenity kit).
You want to make sure you select a set that will last, so you don’t just replace regularly buying travel size toiletries with regularly buying travel size toiletry bottles. Let’s take a look at the most important features when selecting your own set of reusable travel size toiletry bottles:
Lids are the most important feature to consider when shopping for reusable travel size toiletry bottles. There are generally three types of lids: screw top, flip top and pump with a cap. You’ll probably need a combination of these lids depending on what you plan to put in the bottles.
I like my Go-Gear Silicone Travel Containers for shampoo, conditioner and my face wash. They have a screw top cap with flip top lid that makes them easy to refill. The flip top lid controls the amount of liquid that pours out. I’ve had my very same Go-Gear containers for over 13 years now and the flip top lid had never broken off, which is a common problem with other similar travel bottles.
I like to put my astringent, foundation and moisturizer in pump bottles. I tried the travel size pump bottles that are inexpensive at Sephora, but I’ve had two different ones leak and the little plastic pots crack. The pots also expose products like moisturizer and foundation to the air and bacteria from your hands. I like the this airless pump bottle, which is refillable and leak-proof. A lid snaps over the pump dispenser, making it perfect for tossing in your quart size bag or even your purse for touch-ups on the go.
Material and Durability
Another thing to consider when purchasing travel bottles is the material that they are made from. Another feature I really like about my Go-Gear tubes are that they are made from a very flexible silicone material, which makes them easy to squeeze and get every last bit of product out of them. The silicone is also great because you don’t have to worry about dropping or tossing these travel bottles around; they’re unbreakable. I’ve never had an issue with any of the products I put in my Go-Gear tubes, but their website does warn to test out your products first since some chemicals can have a reaction with the silicone. Essentially, the silicone could expand or shrink from a reaction, causing a leak.
The airless pump dispenser is made of clear acrylic plastic and is durable, leak-proof, and shatterproof. I can’t tell you how many times my bag has been dropped or knocked off the conveyor belt going through security. The shatterproof plastic eases my mind that expensive products like foundation or moisturizer won’t get broken and leak all over everything else in my bag. The airless pump also keeps products bacteria free and free from air oxidation. The plastic means you can’t squeeze them and that they’re a little heavier than the silicone tubes, but they’re perfect for certain products.
Toothpaste 2 Go makes a food-safe refillable toothpaste tube, which is really great since I can’t even find travel size toothpaste at French stores. Again, I love that I don’t have to run to the store for travel supplies before a trip. I just use the adapter to refill my Toothpaste 2 Go tube from my regular toothpaste.
The only real con of the Go-Gear tubes is that they are triangle shaped. It’s a bit like playing Tetris to get them to fit in a quart sized bag when I carry on, but all of the other features outweigh the slightly odd shape. I tend to only use three and they fit in to my quart sized bag along with my other liquids and gets.
The airless pump is about 3″ tall and 1″ in diameter. It’s a little larger than I’d like to carry, but still is smaller and lighter than if I were to carry a full bottle of foundation and moisturizer. Tplastic means you can’t squeeze them and that they’re a little heavier than the silicone tubes, but they’re perfect for certain beauty products.
You get what you pay for and the cheap plastic bottles you can get in the travel aisle at Target might only last you a few trips. The Go-Gear tubes cost around $20 for a set of 6. But as I said, I’ve had my set for over 10 years now so it was a $20 well spent.
The Juvitus airless pump bottles cost $14 for a set of 3 and also will last since they are refillable and shatterproof.
Now that we’ve looked at travel tubes, you need something to put it all in. I personally hate ziplock bags and even despite my best intentions to reuse the ziplock bag, they always go missing between trips. I prefer this TSA approved clear toiletry bag, which you can pack quite a bit in to. The large opening makes wiping the bag out easy and the material easily wipes clean.
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