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Carry On Toiletries | size + rules + recommended products

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Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Heather Arbour

While you won’t find much make-up or extra bits and bobs in our quart-size bags, you’ll find all the essentials you need for your carry on toiletries. After four years of travel to all different climates, we’re bringing you the best items for your travel toiletry bag, and better yet, making it all carry-on friendly!

Following TSA’s carry on toiletries rules and sizes, this toiletry packing guide will leave you with room to add a few of your personal “must-have” items too! Now, let’s get to packing!

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What toiletries to pack for a trip abroad

  • Prescription Medication
  • Over the Counter Favorites (Tylenol, Benedryl, etc.)
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Comb
  • Razon
  • Fingernail Clippers
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body Wash
  • Tweezers

Carry On Toiletries Rules

After the tragedy of 9/11, airlines have really honed in on safety of items passengers carry on to airplanes. Although the new carry on rules cause headaches when packing toiletries the rules are there for good reason.

Stay away from sharp objects like straight razors (regular shaving razors are allowed), or things like long metal nail files or scissors. And stick to the 3-1-1 rule when packing liquids for hand luggage.

Maximum Liquid Carry On Airplane | the 3-1-1 ratio

TSA now has a liquid carry on rule that follows a 3-1-1 ratio. Though, even with airport travel as often as we’ve done, we’ve never really looked into this rule much. Come to find out, it’s meant to ease the understanding of liquids brought on a plane!

The 3-1-1 rule simply means that all your liquids must be three (3.4) ounces or less, fitting into one quart size bag, and limited to one quart size bag per person.

Now, before you think how is that even possible to fit all your toiletries into one quart size bag, keep reading to find out it is in fact possible!

What Goes In The Quart Size Bag

The quart size bag is for only liquids. Keeping that in mind when bringing things like shampoo, conditioner, and soap is essential.

Gone are the days of bringing the liquid form of showering necessities, and in are the days of bar soap, shampoo, and conditioner (recommended brands below).. allowing more space in your quart size bag for other essentials.

Depending on the TSA agent you get as you go through security, both toothpaste and deodorant are technically considered liquids, meaning they must fall under the 3.4 ounce liquid rule.

Powdered make-up, pills/medication, and other “dry” toiletry items do not have to go in your quart size bag. You’d be surprised how many “dry” products are offered for travel toiletries these days!

How To Pack Toiletries And Makeup For Carry On Travel

Keeping in mind that only liquids have to go in a clear quart size bag, following the 3-1-1 rule mentioned above, the rest of your toiletries can really be anything you wish. Below we’ve recommended what exact items to pack in your carry on toiletry bag, but we understand some people need more things like make-up and the like.

  1. When packing your toiletry bag, be sure to separate anything that could be pokey, i.e. tweezers, nail clippers, or bobby pins, from the quart size bag with your liquids. If any of these liquids leak, you don’t want it to ruin your belongings!
  2. Pack your toiletry bag in a place that’s easy to access, so when you go through security, you can quickly pull the quart size bag out.
  3. Take the cap off the liquids and add plastic wrap under the cap to prevent spillage when the containers expand in flight

The Carry On Toiletries Bag To Get

When searching for a carry on toiletries bag, keep in mind something that is packable, and thin, allowing the toiletry bag to fit into the smallest place possible! We love our Sea to Summit travel light toiletry bags and have used them for four years of travel.

Special things to look for when purchasing a carry on toiletries bag are separate compartments to keep your toothbrush away from make-up and hair stuff, and simple mesh dividers to keep your toiletries organized!

We recommend against getting the hanging toiletry bags as these take up more space and weight than the simpler travel light bags!

Exact Items to Pack In Your carry on toiletries bag


Both prescription and nonprescription medication go in your carry-on luggage. And while you may think you don’t need it, we recommend bringing your favorite kind of medicine like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Benadryl. It’s easier to have just in case, rather than trying to find these medications while in a foreign country!

Though going to a foreign pharmacy is always a great adventure! Haha


Do not bring your electric toothbrush while traveling. We both use electric toothbrushes at home, but find the weight and annoyance of bringing a charger not worth having it while abroad. Grab a simple toothbrush, and maybe some floss and call it good!

{Traveler’s Tip…If you get the smaller Sea to Summit travel bag, you’ll have to cut off part of a normal size toothbrush so it fits in the bag. Jay did this with a pocket knife and used a lighter to heat up and smooth the edges!}


While Dr. Bronner’s soap works for toothpaste, we’d argue it is not a very nice toothpaste to have! Bring a couple of small travel size toothpaste, the kind you get from a dentist’s office.

Remember, the toothpaste should be 3.4 ounces or smaller to fit TSA liquid rules.


There are so many kinds of deodorant, bring whatever one suits you best. Just again remember to keep it small, as depending on the TSA agent you get, they may consider deodorant a liquid.. major eye roll here!


Do not, I repeat, do not bring a brush! Get used to having a comb. Brushes are big and bulky and just take up too much space… Also, who actually brushes their hair these days anyways?


While you cannot bring a straight razor in your carry-on luggage, you can bring a normal razor used for shaving in your carry on toiletry bag. It does not need to be set out while going through security, and we suggest getting one that has a cover on the blades so it doesn’t create tears in your bags!

Fingernail Clippers

While fingernail clippers were once in question of being allowed in carry on luggage, they aren’t in question anymore. Obviously not necessary when traveling for shorter durations, but if traveling for a longer period of time, fingernail clippers come in clutch!

They work great to “cut” snags on clothes and luggage too!

Travel-Friendly Shampoo

Gone are the days of fitting your shampoo into 3.4 ounce containers and in are the days of bar shampoo. We haven’t actually tried bar shampoo, but have heard raving reviews of it from more and more people recently.

We typically pack Dr. Bronner’s soap and used it for our shampoo, and basically everything else under the sun too!

Conditioner for Travel

Arguably you could probably get away with not bringing conditioner if you’re not traveling for that long, but if you absolutely need it, you can now find bar conditioner! It’s like bar soap, but is instead conditioner.. how great is that?!

Body Soap For Travel

As you could have guessed, we’re recommending bar body soap here too. Although, we also understand that bar soap can sometimes not be the best for everyone’s skin. This is why we recommend Dr. Bronner’s soap!

We love Dr. Bronner’s all-natural soap, and use it for washing everything from dishes to our bodies and even our clothes while we travel! It’s a great all-in-one soap!


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