The more I travel, the longer my trips tend to get. Last year I spent four months in Europe traveling with just a carry-on suitcase. Fitting in everything I needed was not a problem (check out my post on Packing for 6 Months in a Carry On Suitcase for more on how to do that!), but keeping liquid toiletries within TSA carry-on requirements was a bit trickier. Luckily there are tons of products out there that help you stay within the rules. In this post, I’ll share with you five of my favorites, plus a great tip for those liquids you do need!
The 3-1-1 Rule
This rule is to help you remember what is allowed as far as liquids, gels, and aerosols in your carry-on luggage:
3.4 oz bottles
100 ml bottles
1 quart sized clear plastic bag
Of course, you may use a smaller bag or bottles, but these are the maximums.
1. Dr. Bronner’s
I’ve mentioned Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap before, but it’s one of my favorite products. It’s a natural, biodegradable blend of oils. You can use it for so many things, from shampoo to body wash, soap, shaving cream, laundry detergent, even toothpaste! The more things you use the same product for the less you need to bring. Plus, it’s concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
Or, opt for the solid bar format over the traditional liquid. Very helpful when dealing with the small allowances of the 3-1-1 Rule! Personally, I use this all the time and have for years!
2. Toiletry Sheets
These are a great alternative to traditional shampoo, hand soap, body wash, laundry detergent, even shaving cream. They are thin, solid films (like tissue paper) that when combined with water and lathered up, turn into nice, foamy shampoo or soap.
They are quite small, so great for carry-on travel and do not count as a liquid or gel, so no need to try to fit them into that quart-sized bag! Of course, depending on how much hair you have, you may need to use more than one sheet per wash…
3. Bar Shampoo/Soap
Again, in an attempt to lessen the amount of liquid you carry, bar shampoo or soap is a great way to go! A bar of soap is pretty standard, but you can also find a similar product that is designed as a shampoo.
Just rub it into your hair and it foams up into a lather. Great to help keep you within the 3-1-1 Rule!
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another very versatile product. I love to use it as a moisturizer. It is very nourishing and leaves your skin nice and soft. Plus, it naturally has a low SPF rating, so it helps protect you from the sun! You can also use it to deep condition your hair or to shave with. A little goes a long way, so you don’t have to carry too much.
The great thing about coconut oil is that at room temperature, it is solid and only liquefies when warm. As airports and airplanes are generally kept on the cooler side, coconut oil should remain solid without issue, meaning it won’t count towards your liquids!
5. Toothpaste Tablets
This might be my favorite toiletry on this list. Toothpaste is a necessary toiletry for everyone. I find that travel-sized toothpastes are way too small to last through my trip but normal tubes are too big to fit the 3-1-1 rule. That’s were toothpaste tablets are fabulous!
They’re little tablets that you just chew and they foam up in your mouth into toothpaste. Just chew and brush! You get 60 of them in this bottle and I found I only needed half of one for a good brushing. You can take a greater supply of toothpaste this way and no liquid/gel to worry about! Or try this mini-pack with naturally whitening charcoal in a biodegradable cardboard box.
These are 5 awesome toiletry products that are either versatile, natural, compact, concentrated, not a liquid or gel, or some combination of these. All are great for staying within TSA liquid requirements for carry-on luggage, so you can pack less and travel longer!
=> Pro Tip:
If the products you want to bring absolutely have to be liquid or gel and you have too many of them, you might still be able to get around the 3-1-1 Rule. Here’s the trick: freeze them. Frozen items are solid, not liquid, and should technically pass muster with TSA rules. Be sure they are completely frozen solid, though – you don’t want them thawing out before you get through security! Obviously, this works best if you don’t have a lot of travel time between your freezer and the airport…
*This post includes one or more affiliate links. I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) if you purchase a product or service through one of these links. Find out more here.*
- Packing for 6 Months in a Carry-On Suitcase
- 5 Ways to Avoid Paying Baggage Fees
- 5 Things I Never Travel Without
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