Rules, Regulations, Travel, and 3-1-1 Kits
I've been thinking a lot lately about the role of 3-1-1 toiletry kits – you know, the small, see-through kits we all must present to the airport security staff to prove we have limited liquids. So much has been made of 3-1-1 kit restrictions and regulations that many travelers believe it poses a huge problem. Some people will even pay to check their luggage because they cannot fit all their liquid toiletries in the regulation size bag. And if the delays at security are any indication, there are many people who still don’t understand the regulations or are trying to get around them. But if you pack smart, and choose the right products, a 3-1-1 kit will never be a hindrance.
Who Needs Liquids Anyway?
Whenever possible, I pack dry products only. They obviously don’t need to go in a 3-1-1 kit, and they can be either organized in a proper toiletry kit or stuck individually into the nooks and crannies of your suitcase. On a recent two week trip to Hawaii, I used the space in my 3-1-1 mostly for my favourite sunscreen. In past trips, I stuffed it full of bug repellent.
Dry shampoo, solid bars of soap (mini bars of Dove are my favourite), solid moisture sticks in lieu of lotion and hair serum (such as cocoa butter sticks from the Body Shop), solid perfumes (from Crabtree & Evelyn or Simpatico), mini baby powder, soap leaves for hand-washing and laundry, dry facial cleansing cloths (from Olay), tooth powder, bath bombs (I love Lush), solid deodorants – these products all belong in regular luggage. No 3-1-1 kit required!
Keeping Clean is Easy!
Virtually all hotels come with complimentary toiletries, especially shampoo and lotion. For short trips in nice hotels, you can easily rely on the freebies! If you are travelling for an extensive time, consider purchasing restocking your essentials on route. There are few places in the world that don’t carry major brand name items at the local pharmacies. Even when I was living in Malawi, I was able to locate pharmacies selling major brands like Revlon shampoo and Olay face lotion around the richest part of the Lilongwe city center, close to embassies and hotels.
3-1-1 = DIY
When it’s necessary to pack my own liquid products, I avoid the prepackaged “minis” offered at the pharmacies. The unit price is outrageous and there is too much unnecessary packaging. I instead use an assortment of small sized Nalgene bottles and Go Tubes, both made of unbreakable plastic, and I keep refilling them as needed. They are inexpensive, sturdy, and hold up to hot water scrubbing between uses.
Crazy for Carry-On!
I’m passionate about carry-on only luggage and I want every part of my trip to go smoothly. I like to have my favourite products with me and I don’t want to be uncomfortable with poor quality products, but gone are the days when I drag along a small knapsack of hair guck. I don’t want to pay for checked luggage and neither should you!
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. What's the one toiletry you can't live without?
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