Packing with one carry-on means that all your liquid items must fit inside a quart-sized bag.  Not only that, but each item must be 3.4 ounces or smaller.  They call this the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule.  “Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container; must be in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin.”

Here are a few things things that DO count as liquids, that you may not have considered: 

  • Mascara
  • Lip gloss (and Blistex)
  • Liquid eye-liner
  • Gel medications, such as Advil Liqui-gels
  • Eye drops
  • Aerosol bottles

Here are a few things that DON’T count as liquids, that you may have had a question about:

  • Deodorant
  • Lipstick
  • Solid lip balm
  • Vitamins
Stay tuned for another article on things you didn’t know you could bring on a plane, where I’ll explain that yes, you are allowed to carry-on a pointy metal comb and a razor. (scary, right?)  For now, though, I’m going to stick to the quart-sized bag.

 I love to use lots of beauty products.  On my first trip overseas, I of course checked a bag, and of course brought full-size shampoo and conditioner bottles, hairspray and lotion.  Now, I look back at clueless Nina and shake my head with disapproving eyes.

 I now can fit all my liquids in a quart-sized bag with room to spare.  And I’m going to clue you in on how you can do that, too.

 Basically, anything that you’re going to bring you should purchase in travel size.  If you can’t find the item or don’t want to buy it, then buy some empty travel-sized containers.

 I usually bring a few travel items that fall under the larger side (3.4 oz.)  You obviously can’t bring only large bottles or you won’t be able to fit anything else.  I have invested in some GoTubbs, which have been fantastic for conditioner and curling gel.

 Go Tubb

 These are great for gels, conditioner, or even powder.  I wouldn’t put shampoo or anything real watery.  I would stick with thicker liquids for these.

 Here is a list of what I bring in my quart-sized bag (and yes, these are all in travel size:)

  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo 
  • Conditioner (in a GoTubb)
  • Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls (in a GoTubb)
  • Face lotion
  • Body lotion
  • Hair spray (aerosol)
  • Mascara
  • Sample-sized perfume bottle 
  • Foundation (in a GoTubb)
  • Body wash
  • Sunscreen 

And that’s it, for liquids.  My husband wears contacts, so he includes that in his quart-sized bag.

The rest of the items I bring fit in my toiletry bag, and include the rest of my make-up products (blush, eyeliner pencil, eye shadow, lip salve and a lipstick), a razor, deodorant, a metal comb, cotton balls and swabs, ibuprofen, band-aids and hair-ties.

 Let’s play desert island: liquid beauty products.  If you can only bring five liquid items, what would they be?  For me, it would be mascara, face lotion, hairspray, foundation and perfume.  And the reason I would bring these is because I know that any hotel or b&b I stay in will have shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and toothpaste.  So I could live without those items knowing I could find them somewhere else for free.  But some of items I use such as perfume and face lotion are essential to me and I might not be able to just pick them up at a drug-store anywhere.

 Now that you’ve thought about what’s really important to you, it’s time for you to pack your quart-sized bag.  Add in the items that you’ve decided that you can’t live without.

 Aside from the absolute essentials, make a list of everything else you use daily.  Don’t include things that you use once a year or that fun sparkly New Year’s Eve eye-shadow Those things are frivolous, and we’re all about what’s necessary, not “that would be nice to have.” 

 Try adding some of these items to your bag and see how much you can fit.  You might be surprised how much you actually don’t need to bring if you really think about it.  Do you really need hair gel?  I don’t.  My hair is straight most of the time and yes, it’s nice to use, but I don’t need it.

Another tip I have for you is how to collect more travel-sized items.  If you have an extra $10 a month and want to invest in some travel-sized products, consider signing up for Birchbox.  Every month, you get 5-6 sample products that have included anything from dry shampoo to after-sun lotion to perfume.  This has been a great way for me to get quality travel-sized products.  

 One of the bonus’ to traveling this light is that I keep all my items together in a bin.  When I’m going on a trip, I already have all my travel-sized items ready to go.  All I have to do is throw in a few of my make-up items that I use every day and then I’m ready to go.

 So how about you… what are your five desert island liquid items?

Nina Thomas

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