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How To Pack Enough Liquids To Last Your Whole Trip In A Carry On

Posted by Lindsay Hall on 2/7/18 10:21 AM


You've already paid for this expensive flight, who wants to pay for luggage fees, too? Avoid checking your bags by fitting all of your liquids in your carry on bag. 

When trying to decide if you should pack in a carry on or take the plunge and pay the baggage fee with a checked bag, there is one major factor you should consider ... How long is your trip? If it's a month or less, consider going carry on only (you really can fit enough clothes and supplies in if you pack light). 

If it's longer than a month (like you're volunteering for a semester abroad with ILP), it may be worth it to pay the extra fee to have more comforts while you're abroad!

Not an ILP volunteer yet? 
Come fill out an application here.

If you decide that carry on is the way to go, you're going to want to use these tips to get all the liquid toiletries you need packed! (Remember, all liquids have to be 3.4 ounces or under and have to fit in quart size plastic bag to align with TSA regulations).


Use 3.4 oz Bottles

Most products you use are probably already over 3.4 ounces. Investing in some reusable TSA approves bottles is key (these are my personal favorites). Pour the products you need most of in these bottles (things like your shampoo, conditioner, face wash, etc) into the largest bottles. 

You can also purchase travel sized versions of your favorite products. Just hit up the travel size toiletry section at Target or Wal-Mart. You can find your favorite pre-packaged travel size items like  shampoos, conditioners, soaps, toothpastes, deodorant ... pretty much anything you need. 

Use Contact Cases

For other things that you don't use as much of, consider taking less. For example, do you need a whole 3.4 oz tube of toothpaste? If you're going to be gone less than couple of weeks, you probably won't need that much. Grab a cheap contact case and squeeze your toothpaste in it. That will save room in your quart size bag!

I also love squeezing things like face lotion and foundation into contact cases instead of bringing the entire bottle. 

Minimize Your Routine

Re-think your morning/night routine. Is there anything you can do without for a month or so? Do you absolutely have to have that hairspray?  Do you need two different kinds of face wash? Can you wear your hair in a messy bun for the trip so you don't need those hair serums? Leave anything you can at home and only take the necessities

I usually skip out on wearing much makeup when I travel. Mascara isn't considered a liquid, so that doesn't take up space in my quart-sized bag of liquids, unlike my primer and my foundation. I'll plan on wearing my glasses for most of the trip and only bringing a bit of contact solution, instead of a full 3.4 ounce bottle. 

A great way to save some room is to combine anything you can. Consider getting a two in one shampoo/condition set. Rather than having two bottles, you'll only have one. Get a soap that is gentle enough to use on your face, but can be used on your body as well. Any little trick like this will be a big space saver.

Get Solid Products

Try and find any solid alternatives to your liquids! Instead of using liquid soap, get a bar! Rather than bringing mouth wash, bring mouth wash stripsBring facial cleansing wipes rather than face wash.  You can even find things like Shampoo and Conditioner in a bar form (I absolutely love traveling with my LUSH bar shampoo and conditioner, and their toothy-tabs).

Sooo many options out there if you do a little Google search. 

Buy Stuff There

Last, but not least ... Buy some stuff there. If you're not picky with your products or brand names, you can find almost any of the common stuff where ever you're going. Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, sunscreen, aloe vera, etc.

It'll probably be different than you're used to at home, but you'll save room in your bag on the way over there if you buy things in-country. However, just keep this in mind : Your nearby market or grocery store will probably have a very limited selection and you'll have to make special trip to the store right when you arrive instead of just reaching into your suitcase.

Volunteering abroad with ILP

Want some more travel tips?

We have all of our packing tips, right here. You'll find everything you need to pack up a suitcase, a carry on, a backpack and more. Oh, and check out our blog for more travel tips. There are sooo many good ones over there. While you're at it, check out the ILP Instagram and follow along with our current volunteers (they're doing some pretty cool things)!

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Topics: Get Ready For Your ILP Trip, All The Travel Tips


We are ILP, a Utah based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

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