Ever wondered how much you could actually fit into that little 1 liter plastic bag you get at the airport? I sure did when I started traveling hand luggage only. This past year of extensive much traveling I have been perfecting my packing list, so that I won’t get in trouble at security. No more 1 liter bags that can’t be closed or worse, having to through away stuff. I have also included a few tips on what to bring (because you’ll miss it if you don’t) and how you can vary the sizes of your products depending on your needs.

I realise that nobody uses the same products. Therefore, this is just as much a guide that you can use to compare your own products to, as I bring a lot of different sizes and switch things around for more options.

To begin with, this is all the products that I want to bring with me. Skincare and hygiene:

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And makeup:

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To walk you through it, from upper left as you would read it, skincare and hygiene first:

  • Nail clipper
  • Flat brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Dry shampoo
  • Hair shampoo
  • Eye cream
  • Headache pills – I never go anywhere without.
  • Micellar water – makeup removal.
  • Muscle balm – I tend to get very stiff shoulder muscles – if you don’t, leave this out.
  • Toothpaste
  • Face cream for day
  • Hand cream – especially nice to have for long flights.
  • Cotton pads
  • Face cream for night
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup remover
  • Konjac sponge – makeup removal
  • Lip balm – I never even leave the house without this
  • Nasal spray

And makeup:

  • Tinted moisturizer
  • Mascara
  • 2 concealers
  • Powder
  • Blush
  • Eyeliner
  • Brow pen
  • Lipstick
  • Eyelash curlers

Now, this is of course highly personalised! Maybe you only use one cream for your entire face, maybe you don’t wear makeup or something entirely different. I have also left out some important things: hair conditioner, body shampoo and sun screen, which I will address further down. For makeup, I try to keep it fairly simple. I always bring some eyeliner and lipstick so I can fancy my self up a little for impromptu party nights.. The blush is solid, so I apply that just with fingers, same for the face base.

A portion of the hygiene stuff are tools that won’t have to be checked, including the nail clippers. Then we have these:

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They are solid, and thus you won’t have to worry about them either. I would advise you to put these items in a plastic bag separate from the liquids so you can easily show them at security. I’d also like to recommend this style of makeup remover for hand luggage travel because it is solid and easy to pack. I use the Konjac sponge pictured above which is brilliant because it takes up no space compared to cloths, dries faster and can be used for months before it needs changing.

What we have left, will be able to fit in like this:

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Bag closing perfectly. I usually use a different micellar water than the Bioderma which has a more ‘packable’ shape, but Bioderma still fits fine. On toothpaste: I am well aware that there are travel sizes of those, but I find that there is so little product in them that they aren’t very helpful unless you’re only away for one, maybe two nights. If you can stretch a tooth paste travel size you should definitely do so! Another way to do it would be to decant some of your products into smaller containers.

The above suggestion is with a liquid shampoo, a normal size toothpaste and NO DRY SHAMPOO. I’ve left out the dry shampoo because I find that I usually don’t need it, but it’s nice to have as a back up. For body shampoo, I always just use hair shampoo – it’s all soap, right?

Luckily, there are more options. Solid body products like shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste:

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I travelled quite a few times without solid shampoo and did just fine, but if you are situated somewhere where it’s easy to get these products – these are from Lush – then you could do this instead. Instead of the toothpaste and the shampoo you could bring the travel sized dry shampoo OR some sunscreen.

My advise would be, that if you have a bunch of things that are expensive or hard to get by then bring them, and buy sun screen, toothpaste and shampoo when you get to your destination. They should be easy to get by and inexpensive.

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Bag from Beck Söndergaard

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These are my tips from about a year of traveling hand luggage only, and I sincerely hope that they were useful to you. If you have any questions or tips of your own I would love to hear them in the comments below.

Inspiration for city breaks:
Falling for Rome, Over Again
A Glimpse of Stockholm
A Rough Guide to A Weekend in Sydney
Lovely Day for a Guinness – Dublin
Prague 2 Day Itinerary + Day Trip

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