Support TFG by using the links in our articles to shop. We receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) so we can continue to create helpful free content. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made on Amazon in addition to other retailers featured on the blog. Thank you, we appreciate your support!
Worried that you won’t have enough space for your toiletries and beauty products in your carry-on? We have the answer and they’re not travel-size! These are the best travel containers because you pack only what you need. Find out what they are, where to get them, and how to use them!
Best Travel Containers
Table Of Contents
Set of 10/15/20 Gram Cosmetic Pots
These are my favorite type of travel containers! I love using individual pots for items like my concealer and foundation. I don’t need to use a large quantity and they usually come in a heavy glass bottle so decanting them saves weight too. I’ve found these to be the best travel containers for small quantities.
If you need to bring toiletries like soaked cotton rounds or makeup wipes, some TFG readers use these leakproof condiment containers which have a wider diameter. A super creative option that works really well!
Use a capsule wardrobe to pack light but create many outfits.
Set of 3/5/10/15/20 Clear Cosmetic Pots
- How to Use Them: Use them for makeup and beauty products that you won’t need often and to store individual products that you want to take in your purse. (A stack won’t do so well thrown around in your day bag or purse.)
- When to Use Them: Anytime. These travel containers can store your bath products on short trips or on longer trips for items you won’t use often.
- At home: Have you ever used a concealer container with a pump that gives you more than what you need? Stop wasting product. You can decant the liquid or gel into one of these containers so you only get a dab of what you’ll use.
I like using the 5 gram size for concealer, eye cream, and face scrub while I use the larger 20 gram size for toothpaste, foundation, or face wash
This is my ultimate secret for fitting various toiletries into minimal space. Stackable pots will work extremely well for women that use a variety of different beauty products or have an extensive skincare routine.
- How to Use Them: Use one stack for shampoo/conditioner/body wash and another stack for face moisturizer/body moisturizer/sunblock
- When to Use Them: Use this strategy for weekend trips and take just what you need or if you have a longer trip and plan on buying products as you go – use the stacks for products that last a long time such as foundation, eye cream, or face moisturizer.
- At home: Use these travel containers to store jewelry, crafts, or to consolidate half empty products and make more room on the shelves.
Available as an individual stack or in various sizes (better value!)
Cylinder Soft Tubes
I prefer pots to tubes but sometimes you need a little more product or a different type of cap. These are durable but soft containers and are a fabulous choice. They tend to be leakproof and long lasting making them the best travel containers in comparison to hard, plastic bottles. GoToob is the most popular brand and has a convenient 2 fl oz size. Other popular tubes are these from the Dot&Dot store. Or, you can also pick up this 14-pack travel set that has silicone squeeze bottles AND includes 3 pots and 2 toothbrush covers!
- How to Use Them: Have several of each container type so you can play Tetris and make the most of the room in your toiletry bag. Use them for runny, thin liquids or for products you’d prefer not to dip your finger into.
- When to Use Them: On trips of any length based on the products that just aren’t quite right in a pot.
- At home: Using the same principles as the pots, you can maximize limited storage room in your home by decanting any product – even cooking items too!
Flat Toiletry Pouches
Flat pouches are an amazing option, because they can fit a lot, but don’t take up any extra space if you don’t need to fill the container the whole way. They’re slim and flexible yet super secure and leakproof. What’s great about these handy space-saving containers is that the more you use, the smaller they get, so you’ll have more room in your suitcase on the way back!
These Kitsch pouches come in a set that can be bought on their own, or grab the 11-piece set that includes pots, pumps, and a spray bottle! Readers have also highly recommended this YSUOA 12-piece set of clear pouches that come in 30ml, 50ml, and 100ml sizes.
One reader says, “For decanting liquids, I used refillable pouches on my two last trips overseas. They worked well because they pack so flat.”
- How to Use Them: Use them for liquids that you’ll be using often, like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, as they’ll hold a decent amount.
- When to Use Them: Anytime, from weekend trips to long-term stays. They can store a great amount and pack slim.
- At home: Save tons of space in your drawers or cabinet by decanting product from your bulkier bottles into these cute ones!
Take a look at our top ten toiletry bags!
When using your own travel containers, remember these golden rules:
- Only fill 2/3 of the container in order to avoid compression leaks
- Use a piece of saran wrap under the lid for extra leak prevention
- Avoid water-like substances such as toner. The thinner the liquid the more likely it is to seep through.
Three more space saving “better than travel size” toiletry ideas:
- If you’re short on time and are always on the go, Convenience Kits sells one-time use toiletry sets. Buy a set and you’re good to go!
- These bulk packs are another good idea if you want to make your own one-time use sets.
- And when you don’t have any more room for liquids just use some of these liquid-free wipes!
Download Our Free Toiletry Checklist
Start by downloading our Ultimate Packing Guide for Toiletries. It’s FREE! You can click here or click the image above to open the editable file.
The list features unique categories to help you pack for your trip efficiently. It includes all the items listed in various categories and has spaces where you can fill in your own information.
With this guide, you can:
- Write in an item’s weight (lighter items means less overall baggage weight)
- Note if you need to purchase something or if you already own it
- You can organize where you’ll pack each item including suggested packing organizers like these
Read this post for a printable packing list that includes clothes, shoes, and more!
What do you think are the best travel containers? Please share in the comments below!
For more ideas on space-saving packing items, please read:
- How to Use Packing Cubes to Fit Your Stuff into a Carry-on
- Packing Organizers: The Luggage Accessories that Help you Travel Light
- The Ultimate Backpack Organizer: It Will Change the Way You Travel
- Random Travel Organizers: 4 Packing Cube Replacements
LIKED THIS POST? PIN THIS PIC TO SAVE IT!
I love the idea of using smaller containers for toiletries. My favorites are the chap stick containers and the contact lens cases. The contact lens cases are great because they stay closed and never leak. I’ve actually put clear gel Secret deodorant/antiperspirant in a chap stick container and it was enough for a 10 day trip! I am able to fit all my daily products and make up in my toiletry bag with no issues. I also have a set in my 5th wheel so I am always ready to take off in a moments notice! Thanks for all the great ideas and links!
I never thought about using these small pots for use at home, but that has now changed especially for tossing in my purse when I’m short of time. Thanks!
I love the idea of decanting products into the small pots. I was having trouble fitting everything in my 3-1-1 bag. After reading this post I ordered some different size pots to use for my facial moisturizer, hair styling cream, cream blush etc. it’s amazing how much space was saved by using these pots!
One of the first things I learned from this blog was decanting products into smaller containers for traveling light. It has been a game changer for me and one of my now normal things I do. Thanks for this amazing blog full of tips and tricks!!
After reading all of these suggestions, I actually purchased contact lens cases from Amazon and packed for my 3 week safari using them. Game changer!!
The packing list link isn’t opening for me.
Hi Rebecca, sadly we are having some access issues on the blog and are having problems solving it. 😕
But you can download TFG’s “Toiletry Packing List” right here 💻 : https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1993OivQaG9Nk4_Avu8Jzo-EzkIMfTiEM4ZXQ4CoKdGM/edit?usp=sharing&urp=gmail_link
To edit this packing list, you have two options:
OPTION 1: Go to “File” in the menu above and “Make a Copy”. Open the file you copied and edit that file.
OPTION 2: Go to “File” in the menu above and “Download As”. You can then download the file as an spreadsheet and edit directly in excel.
To print this packing list, go to “File” in the menu above and “Print”.
Hope this helps. If you have any other problems please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I decanted my spf facial moisturizer into a pot and when I was using up the last of it, I noticed the plastic had changed texture. Has this happened to anyone else? Should I be worried about continuing to decant into this container?
Hi Lindsey, I have personally never had an issue with this so I am not sure if you should carry on using the same container. I think this has happed to a few of our other readers though. I would highly recommend that you join our TFG facebook group and post your question there about: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelfashiongirls/ Its a fabulous community of helpful female travelers that have the best advice and recommendations to share. ?
Same thing happened to me. I read online in another forum that it’s the sunscreen that reacts with the plastic. I read suggestions that it won’t react with nalgene plastic (I have not tried this personally yet). They sell these in travel size at the Container Store and on Amazon.
Regarding packing liquids: I always use plastic wrap under the top. If it’s an “oily or greasy” type product, I use a snack size ziplock bag to hold each. I either use ziplocks in addition to cubes when I pack, or I take an assortment of them so I can easily pack for a day trip or overnight stay without having to take a large bag with me.
Hi Terri, thank you for taking the time to share how you like to pack your liquids with us, your travel hacks are fantastic!! 🙂
as im watching the packing cubes video, where are the socks, undies. bras packed?
Hi Sue, have a look at this TFG article for some help: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/how-to-use-packing-cubes-8-step-strategy-to-travel-carry-on-only/ Hope you find it useful! 🙂
Can anyone recommend small spray bottles that don’t leak for hair products?
Hi Cindy, thank you for your question! Have a look at the recommendation for small containers on this TFG article: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/how-to-travel-with-perfume/ Also I have gone ahead and published your question on TFG’s facebook page to get you the best suggestions. Our readers have the best tips so keep an eye out for their replies from Friday: https://www.facebook.com/TravelFashionGirl/ hope this helps!! 🙂
I am traveling to Ghana in June. This is my first international trip and I will be gone for 3 weeks. I’m anticipating checking 1 bag but want to pack my toiletries (shampoo, conditioner and stuff) but would rather not re-purchase them in Ghana. Any suggestions
Hi Sharon, thank you for your comment! We have a variety of articles featuring different ideas for travel toiletries. Take a look:
Hope this helps. Have a wonderful time 🙂
Does anyone know where to find lightweight swimsuits without the awful foam cups they all seem to have? I am trying ( rather desperately!) to find
a suit that will pack flat! I could also do without all the multiple heavy layers that most suits seem to have these days. HELP please???
Hi Connie, thank you for your comment! Take a look at this post https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/travel-swimwear/
Hope you find it helpful 🙂
I finally found those swimsuits at
“ Title Nine” last year. I think the weight was about half of those I’d tried before. I ended up with all mix
and match…with black or blue bottoms (one is the paddleboard short), and two colorful tops. All work very well!
Connie, have you looked at Lands End?? Their “tugless tank” swimsuit is just the ticket…comes with or without cups. Otherwise, if you want a simple one-piece suit, check out a sporting goods store for a Speedo or Arena swimsuit. During the warm months, Costco often has a large quantity of these suits for sale.
How do you label the containers? From one trip to the next, I do not remember what is in each container. Everything I have tried gets wet and peels off.
I have a Brother P-Touch labeler. It has several size choices for printing labels. The trick to keep the print from rubbing off is to put a piece of wide packing tape (like scotch tape, but wider) over the label. It works for anything, except items going directly into the shower.
Great idea Linda!
That was my question also!!!
I use a sharpie on the outside or top of the lid. Once I’m back home, I wipe it off with some rubbing alcohol.
I’m a nurse, and I use the white paper tape meant for wound dressing. It’s a great all-purpose tape for travel. You can write on it with a sharpie, and still read the words even after it has been in the shower. The tape is easy to remove when you are done. I normally keep a sharpie and a roll of paper tape in my kit instead of duct tape. Check your Dollar Store for paper tape in the medical section.
Hi, I usually use the P-touch since you can make the letters very small. I also leave a bit of extra tape on each end so
the ends overlap on round bottles and pots. Hope this helps….
Loved the tip on stackable and individual pots! I ordered them through the link – but got the ones with colored lids – pink and purple, woo hoo!
Great idea! Love using different colors 🙂
This is sort of a random question, but have you ever successfully packed coconut oil without having it leak and get your other toiletry bottles all greasy? If so, what containers have you used? I only need a very small container for it – it’s my face moisturizer and I use only a tiny amount every day. I’ve tried small pots, and I’m not sure what brand they are as I got them as a gift a long time ago, but they have leaked every time no matter how tightly I screw on the lid. Recently, I tried using a plastic travel bottle – the type you would normally use for shampoo – and just unscrewing the lid to dip my finger in… it only leaked a little, but it’s way too large, and it’s also not exactly convenient to have to try to stick your finger into one of those bottles when the oil is solid, haha.
Any thoughts on pots or other small containers that would be easy to access but leak-proof even when the oil melts?
Hi Joanna, I use the small pots featured in this post to travel with coconut oil. However, I have the cold pressed kind that’s in solid form not liquid. A tip is to place saran wrap between the pot and the lid – it keeps liquids from leaking 😉
get it as unrefined as possible and just freeze it in a gootube use the saran wrap trick. By the time it melts you will most likely be at the hotel if you pack it right. I made it on a 16 hour flight in a hot September (From Atlanta) this way. It was 75% solid when I used it the next morning, no leaks.
I have a few empty half-ounce bottles which originally held hand sanitizer. They have a secure top, and are tiny. If you were to warm the oil slightly, it would melt enough to decant into the container. Coconut oil is liquid at body temperature. If the oil is solid, you could melt it by running water from the hot tap over the bottle. I normallly use a one-ounce Nalgene bottle from the mountain supply store. I always use a piece of plastic bag or Saran under my caps for flying.
I use screw top contact lens cases for my eye and face creams, foundation, concealer, and any other “liquid” makeup item. They are small, typically won’t leak, and very packable. I have been doing this for years
Great idea Kimberly!
Ditto here! I mostly use tinted gel type make up, so one lens container has two colors of gel blush with the other carrying two shades of face gel. A little of this stuff goes a long way if ( as I do) applied with water and moisturizer at the same time. No leakes at all! For the rest I save every tiny bottle of eye drops etc. for lotions, shampoo and conditioner.
The GoToobs are terrible, actually. 🙁 They leaked from about the third time I used them, but I kept giving them another chance since I haven’t had time to find other containers. This time I arrived at my destination with the contents of all three containers everywhere. I’ve lost a huge quantity of product and had to clean up progressively larger messes.
oh no that’s too bad. the best way to avoid spills is to only fill any bottle 3/4 and add a piece of saran wrap in between the lid and the bottle. see if that helps out 🙂
I use 3 oz. containers from U.S. Plastics. Inexpensive, commercial grade, wide mouth/easy to refill.
Great tip! Thank you for reading!
I love the Go Toobs – after 3 years, the tops were no longer clicking shut tightly. I checked online to see if I could just purchase the tops. Turns out the Go Toob company has a lifetime guarantee for their products, so I emailed them and they sent me a batch of new tops! How amazing is that!!!!
WOW even more of a reason to love them!