How do I pare down my toiletries?
OK, so I’m fine with packing fewer clothes, making pieces do double-duty, etc. How in the world do I pare down my toiletries? For a short trip, I can skip my shampoo/conditioner, maybe even body lotion. But what about sunscreen, day lotion, night lotion, hair products, etc. I’ve managed to downsize before, but I’ve had to do without certain things I like and usually come home with fried hair and rebellious skin. Any tips, please?
I’ve been hopping on and off of planes on a regular basis for years, and guess what? I still haven’t mastered this one yet! I, too, have products galore and struggle when I’m forced to choose which ones I must leave behind when I travel. Over the years, I’ve managed to develop a few toiletry strategies that I follow…all works in progress. Here they are:
1. Buy when you arrive. Even though it may not seem like it at first, buying your toiletries in your destination is sometimes the easiest way to go. It relieves the stress of trying to pare down and gives you extra room in your suitcase. I use this strategy when I’m headed to a big city where there’s a drugstore on every corner, and I just buy travel size soaps, lotions and shampoos to use while I’m there.
2. Think small(er). For short trips where I may not have time to pop into a drugstore, I take a very small amount of each thing that I will need. I’ve actually found that most travel size bottles are still too big, so I’ve begun to hoard tiny bottles and jars from various cosmetics that I use. My eye makeup comes in tiny pots, for example. Once they’re empty, I use those to store everything from body lotion to hair cream. I’ve also started asking my choice cosmetic counters for samples of products when I buy them, and I save those for my travels.
3. Just check it. When I’m going on longer trips where I can’t pare down to itty bitty jars, I suck it up, pack what I want and check my bag. Sometimes, you just have to accept the fact that looking fabulous is going to cost you $25 each way!
Hope this helps with your dilemma!
My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.
(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)
Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!
My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!
Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.
View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!