Hi Frugalistas! I don’t know about you, but every time I pack that little ziploc bag I always wonder whether what I’ve packed will be the right amount. I feel a bit like Goldilocks – too much? too little? or have I got it just right? So, on my last trip I thought a bit more research was in order to test just how long those containers last. Now, this is not scientific I know, but hopefully, we can all learn a little about how much stuff we really need to take, and how long a 3-1-1 packing compliant container lasts. If you aren’t sure how to go about putting together a 3-1-1 bag, you can read my post here.
Obviously there is a lot of individual variation – it really does depend on the product, your individual habits and of course, how long your hair is. But here are my (very) non-scientific 3-1-1 packing results:
I used a mixture of containers and sources for my products. Some of the products were mine, decanted into little bottles and jars. Others were gift with purchase samples or airline amenity kit products. A couple of them (the deodorant and the toothpaste) were travel size products from the supermarket.
- I sampled the tiny 5g airline toothpaste I was given in my amenity kit: 3 cleans
- The 45g (1.5 oz) toothpaste I bought at the supermarket managed 23 cleans
- 30ml (1 oz) moisturiser decanted into one of my beloved Go Tubes lasted 27 uses
- A 20ml (0.7 oz) jar filled with my night cream: 23 uses. That was wringing every last drop out with my finger.
- 70ml (2.3 oz) tube, a bit more rigid than a Go Toob, so not quite so user friendly, but it still lasted 26 face cleanses
- 100ml (3 oz) body lotion, in the same type of tube as the cleanser only managed 11 uses. You really need to either use the hotel body lotion, or buy some at your destination if you are away for any longer.
- 20ml (0.7 oz) squeezy bottle (Japanese from a cheap chain store, and brilliant) of shampoo: 6 washes (with no repeat shampooing)
- 30ml (1 0z) Go Toob of hair conditioner. I got 13 uses out of this, but that was by taking the top off, and giving it a thorough clean out with my finger. Less diligent and it would have only been 10 or so.
- 3ml (0.1oz) eye cream. This was part of a gift with purchase, and was probably the real surprise in my experiment – it lasted an impressive 44 applications (to both eyes!)
- 20ml (0.7 oz) of tinted moisturiser from the same squeezy bottle as the shampoo. Well, I’m up to 23 and still going (I didn’t use it every day while I was away, or wear it every day now that I’m back). I think I’ll end up with about 30 uses.
- Handcream. This was a 20ml (0.7 oz) tube from an airline amenity kit. It lasted 21 uses.
- 5ml (0.15 oz) eau de parfum, that I got as a sample. 33 uses.
So, what is the lesson here? I know now that I can get away with actually taking much less on most of my trips (I tend to only be away for 12-16 days). I also know which containers are the right ones for which product. I also know how much to put in each container. I also know that samples from gift with purchase cosmetics really are worth saving up for travel!
A great result for more informed packing choices I think.
What sort of things do you do or take to cut down on your liquids while traveling?
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Photos: As credited, otherwise author’s own
Disclaimer: the author purchased her own products for this experiment. The author paid for her own tickets where airline amenity kit products were tested.
Lynne in NC says
Wow! Your challenge may not be scientific (your words), but it is certainly quite useful. Thank you for this post! It is so timely as we are curious to know what can be the right amount of liquids for each toiletry and cosmetic we pack and for what we need for a certain amount of travel days.
Thank you for highlighting the various sizes and kinds of containers as well. This is so helpful in planning for the next trip.
Wow! Airline amenity kits still exist…haven’t seen them for years!
Geek Goddess says
I use those Go-Tubes
Depends on the airline, but even then they aren’t what they used to be!
I love mine, but what I’ve realised is that sometimes even the small ones are too big!
My containers came from a variety of sources. Some from pharmacies, others from specialty travel good shops, and some from those cheap $2 chain stores. I just keep an eye out and try out anything that looks useful.
One of the best tips I saw came from Lani Teshima and Travelite. She uses a permanent marker and marks the start date on her regular (home) liquids. When it is used up she divides the volume by the number of days it took to empty the container. This gives her the volume per day. Then she times it by the number of days she’ll be traveling. That determines the bottle size.
Dianne W says
I use hotel shampoo bottles for my own shampoo. First, let husband use the shampoo, rinse the 1 oz. container, fill with my own brand. Same for bath gel. I scour the samples and travel items bins at drug stores for small sizes, you can even buy that spray that eliminates static cling in a travel size.
I usually travel Southwest, with free bag checking, but have an upcoming trip on Delta. I’m determined to travel carry-on only for the one-week trip. I didn’t think I could manage to get all my liquids and gels into a 3-1-1 bag, but found an old zip clear vinyl bag from Paula’s Choice that will work. I actually fit everything into it, putting solids into other Eagle Creek packing aid quarter cube and cosmetic bag. This would only work for up to a 14-day trip for me, anything longer (which most of my trips are) and I’m forced to check a bag with liquids and gels.
I love the idea of grabbing the hotel bottles! Thanks for sharing such great advice, hope your upcoming travels are successful!
I know this is an older post, but it really helped me when I was deciding how much product I needed to take on a two-week trip. It also helped me figure out what things I can and cannot live without in a foreign country (my stick sunscreen!!!!!!!) so thank you so much!
Doesn’t matter if it’s an old post – glad you found it helpful!
Good useful info, filled bottles are always hard. I just came back from Egypt and they gave me a little bottle of perfume and no matter what i did it got everywhere.
Yes, they are David. I always carry spare Ziploc bags (including some smaller ones) in case of unexpected accidents.