Packing for long-term travel, whether that’s a round-the-world trip, a volunteer stint or a move abroad, can be tricky. If you’re visiting multiple destinations over a long time period, you’ll be unpacking and re-packing constantly so you’ll want to stay organized with your items. Toiletry bags will keep your toiletries list organized, which you’ll be using daily during your trip.
Features to Consider
Most of the qualities in the best toiletry bags for long-term travel also apply to toiletry bags ideal for traveling as carrying on. While you may not decide to carry on your liquids in favor of bringing larger ones in your checked luggage, you should still limit the size of your toiletry bag to use your space effectively.
1. TSA Friendly
It’s up to you whether or not you want to use your toiletry bag to carry on liquids with you onto the plane. While you might not want to so that you can bring more volume of liquids for your long-term trip, it’s nice to have these items with you in case your bag gets lost. You can also access items like lotion and toothpaste inside your toiletry bag to refresh during long haul flights and after red eyes. Choose a 1 quart clear bag to zip through security in any airport around the world.
2. Handles for Ease of Removal
Another feature to consider is some sort of handle. This way, you can quickly grab your toiletry bag to put in the bins for security rather than rummaging in your luggage. One side can have a clip or even a carabiner attached. This could also come in the form of a hook that will allow you to hang your toiletry bag from the back of bathroom stall doors, hostel dorm room bunk beds and even your seatback on a plane.
3. High Quality Materials
Skip the cheap Ziploc bag. It won’t make it past your first destination and it doesn’t have the features other toiletry bags have. They should be a quart or smaller in order to carry onto a plane and ideally will have a clear panel to see what’s inside. The plastic shouldn’t be easily punctured and should be waterproof to contain spills inside. Also look for high quality zippers because if it breaks, it’s pretty much useless.
Best Toiletry Bags for Long Term Travel
We’ve chosen a few toiletry kits that have the features we mentioned and are well tested for long term travel.
This toiletry bag is no larger than a standard packing cube and while it isn’t clear like traditional bags, the clamshell design allows you to open it up to breeze through airport security. It features a waterproof clear pouch and an additional pouch as well as pockets. The hook allows you to hang it up and sturdy handles are made for carrying to communal bathrooms.
Another bag with the ability to open for security, the Osprey version opens into three rather than two. It includes two zippered portions and one clear portion. It comes with a mirror and hook, ideal for anything from a summer in Europe to a few months hiking the Appalachian Trail.
REI Muy Grande Shower Kit, $39.50
While this product is larger than we would usually recommend, it’s good for long term travel because it incorporates multiple organizers into one. It’s designed to hold full size bottles, if that’s what you require, or it can be an all-in-one toiletry kit, medical kit, makeup kit and jewelry holder. In fact, the kit includes a removable jewelry roll and small TSA friendly bag. It also has the handle and all-important hook.
>> Minimalist travelers may want to check out our carry-on toiletry bag alternatives to a ziploc.
What do you look for in a toiletry bag for your big trips?