We Get Greener Kit Cassingham & her Bigger Half

Flying with Liquids

I'm starting to pack for a trip, again. My biggest challenge, even sometimes more than how to dress for the weather where I'm going, is making sure I have refilled my traveling toiletries. I don't travel with any store-bought mini-toiletries.

How many store-bought or hotel-acquired toiletries do you travel with? My quart baggy has a standard size deodorant, contact solution, shampoo, mouth wash, toothpaste, a perfume stick, and Neosporin. Sometimes I throw my cosmetics in there, if I'm traveling on business.

I used to just take the shampoo bottle I either got in the mail or from the last hotel I was in and use it up, then start again. But then I got picky about my shampoo. So I started refilling the small bottle I had with my preferred shampoo.

When we didn't have to put our liquids into one quart bag with no larger than 3 oz containers in it, I used to just throw my daily toiletries in a cosmetic bag and then into my suitcase. But, I had to start rethinking all of my toiletries after the foiled UK terror plot with liquids changed our flying habits in 2006.

To avoid buying the travel sizes in toiletries I bought a 3 oz plastic bottle for my mouthwash. It's unfortunate that it's plastic, but that would be the case anyway; at least I can refill it with the mouthwash of my choice. My deodorant package is less than 3 ounces so I just bring it along and don't worry about having a small size.

I refill the sample size contact solution bottle my eye doctor gave me; that must make him cringe. I've already talked about how I refill a sample-size shampoo container. I'm testing a shampoo and body bar of soap to see how I like that, and will report back on that later. It may not be for everyone, but it might be a great solution for some people or situations.

My favorite traveling trick, when it comes to toiletries, is using contact lens cases to hold my toothpaste. I don't have to buy the little travel tubes, wasting more resources and money. I prefer the screw-on lid style of case because the "bowl" is bigger, so holds more toothpaste than the flip lid style -- and it's not likely to accidentally pop open.

I don't use lots of toothpaste when I brush so I find that the amount in one "bowl" lasts me for a week, brushing once a day. YMMV (your mileage may vary), but even if one entire lens case lasts you only a week they are small enough you can slip several in to your travel quart bag without pushing the limits. The cases wash nicely to be ready for another fill another time. One more plus of using contact lens cases, at least for contact lens wearers, is that we tend to accumulate lots of cases, so this is a great way to reduce waste and recycle plastic.

I feel I'm doing one more little thing to lighten my step on the planet by taking this approach to flying with liquids. That's what I do, get greener.


What a great idea for your toothpaste! Brilliant. Keep up the great work

Sherry Schwabacher at April 24, 2010 10:39 AM

If a cotton-ball applied lotion or toner is part of your routine, you can pre-soak the appropriate number of cotton balls, and put them in an smaller zip-lock, or other small repurposed jar with a wide mouth & water-tight lid.

Cat at April 26, 2010 1:07 AM

Cat, I like that.

Another thing I'm trying to perfect is traveling with a bar of soap. My Bigger Half likes a bar soap, unlike me, but we haven't looked hard enough, yet, to find a moisture-proof container for soap. This would also work well for the bar shampoo that's regaining popularity. I'll report back on that when I find a good solution for us.


Kit Cassingham at April 26, 2010 11:04 AM

Instead of reusing a travel-size bottle of contact lens solution, you can just bring your normal bottle along. That way it stays sterilized!
Contact lens solution qualifies as a "medically necessary" item and isn't subject to any of the restrictions.
I fly regularly with my 16-oz bottle in my carry-on, and I just take it out for screening. Once in a while they will squeeze out a few drops for testing, but mostly it goes by security without even a second glance.

Kelley at April 27, 2010 3:05 PM

Kelley, I didn't know that about contact lens solution. Good information. And while I appreciate hearing that, because of my various travel experiences, I won't trust every TSA agent I encounter to know that and leave my solution alone.

I'd love to hear from other contact-lens-solution-toting travelers what their experiences are. It would be nice to not have to fuss with putting my solution in a smaller bottle.


Kit Cassingham at April 28, 2010 8:12 AM

Bar soap traveling - ok don't travel much anymore so not sure if this is viable....but couldn't you put the bar soap in a ziplock bag? If you dried off the soap it would stay moisture free in there and be virtually only the size of the bar. Or, a small zippered non-porous cosmetic bag. Not sure if you use ziplocks.

Jackie G. at April 28, 2010 7:57 PM
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