a close up of a toiletry bag

When packing your toiletry kit, be sure to weed out those items you don’t use, don’t like and don’t need.

Growing up, my great grandmother Nettie was quick to say: “Always keep your passport up to date and ‘travel-ready,” as you never know when you might need it.” What she forgot to mention was the importance of having a well-thought-out and organized toiletry kit “travel ready” as well. Here is the only toiletry kit checklist you’ll ever need.

In my world, packing for a trip, no matter how long or short, comes down to two things, anticipation and preparation. If you know packing your toiletries is something you hate to do, why not prepare a toiletry kit that’s grab-it-and-go-trip-ready all of the time?

And don’t forget to replenish your toiletries when returning from a trip. This way, you’ll avoid the last minute dash to the drugstore in search of some obscure item  (which you can never find when you need it) before heading out of town again.

As a reminder, when packing your toiletry kit, be sure to keep in mind the prerequisite airline security restrictions for liquids and carry-on luggage. www.TSA.gov

Even you haven’t found the “perfect” toiletry kit (see information box), the following lists of toiletry bag essentials should help. If all else fails, Ziplock bags work like a dream.

Following is a list of essential items every woman should pack in her toiletry bag, no matter how long or short the trip:


  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Body lotion
  • Shower gel
  • Face cleansers & exfoliators
  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm
  • Day & night moisturizers and sunscreen
  • Day & night eye creams
  • Tweezers, nail file, cuticle nippers & polish removal packets
  • Travel-size magnifying mirror
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, toothpicks, dental floss & breath mints
  • Hairbrush & comb
  • Disposable razors
  • Q-tips & cotton pads
  • Perfume (department store samples work)
  • Talcum-free powder
  • Feminine protection products, if needed
  • Contact lenses & solution

For the record, I’m not one of those women who spend an inordinate amount of time fussing with make-up; my cosmetics, which consist of under eye concealer, mascara, a blush stick and 2 eye shadows, can all be gathered and stashed in a small cosmetic case at the last minute.

Not to make generalizations, but I know a few too many men who have no compunction about using generic hotel-supplied shampoo for everything – hair, body, face and socks – while traveling. A long list of toiletry essentials probably isn’t necessary, but just in case, a man’s toiletry kit should include:


  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Shower gel
  • Deodorant
  • Face moisturizer w/sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Shaving supplies: razors, brush & shaving cream or an electric razor (w/charger)
  • After shave lotion or cologne
  • Styptic pencil
  • Lotrimin
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, toothpicks, dental floss & breath mints
  • Nose & ear hair nippers – please!
  • Nail clippers, nail file & a pair of tweezers
  • Q-tips
  • Talcum-free powder
  • Hairbrush & comb
  • Contact lenses & solution

Essentials for both men & women:

  • Eyeglass repair kit & cleaning pads
  • Extra pair of prescription eyeglasses
  • Copies of all prescriptions, including eyeglass/contact script
  • Vitamins & medications
  • Sunscreen
  • Earplugs & eyeshades
  • Eye drops
  • Small sewing kit w/extra safety pins
  • Spot-removal stick or packets
  • Travel-sized lint roller
  • Hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes
  • Tissues
  • Birth control if needed
  • Extra batteries (shavers & toothbrushes)
  • $1’s, $5’s, $10’s and a $20 bill & some spare change for tips
  • Flashlight
  • Set of cords, plugs and charging stations for tablets, laptops & Smartphones
  • First Aid kit, including: Band-Aid adhesive strips, moleskin for blisters, Neosporin, aspirin, Advil, Imodium, cough drops, anti-acid pills, antihistamines and alcohol wipes
  • Pain Relieving Patches and/or cream

Lastly, while some people might have one toiletry kit for long trips and another, smaller kit, for short trips, I prefer keeping things simple by having only one kit, which is always “travel ready.” Simple is best! The quintessential toiletry checklist.