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A Guide to the Best Toiletry Bags for Long Term Travel

The Best Toiletry Bags for long-term travel

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.

*Remember that shampoo, soap and toothpaste can be bought across the globe – no need to pack it all.

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.

Victorinox Slimline Toiletry Kit, $43

best toiletry bags - eBags Victorinox Slimline Toiletry Kit
Victorinox Slimline Toiletry Kit

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.

Osprey Ultralight Zip Organizer, $35

best toiletry bags - Osprey Ultralight Zip Organizer
Osprey Ultralight Zip Organizer

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

best toiletry bags - REI Muy Grande Shower Kit
REI Muy Grande Shower Kit

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?

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Travel Resources

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Reader Interactions


  1. Svenja says

    Just as I’m always on the hunt for the perfect bag, I’m also constantly looking for the perfect toiletry kit…
    For the past couple of years I’ve been using the North Face Base Camp Travel Canister for non-liquids, a quart-sized clear zipper pouch for liquids, and a little LeSportsac 3-zip-bag as a medical kit. Works nicely but I’m always open for improvement ?

  2. Mandy says

    I’ve gotten years of use out of an LL Bean toiletry kit. It is possibly similar in shape to the REI above, but I can’t tell in the zipped form. Do you have any photos of the above products fully open? That would be helpful.

  3. Julie says

    eBag pack it flat bag works perfectly for me – tons of pockets, expandable, and it lays flat! Honestly the best purchase I’ve made! Easy to grab liquids out for TSA, also can be put flat in a hiking backpack as well.

  4. Sonya says

    katmandu toiletry bag all the way. super light. 2 zip compartments and one zippered waterproof which is velcroed on. I used the zippered waterproof compartment for my toiletries. the small zippered compartment for my hair ties, jewellery and makeup and the large zippered compartment for my laundry and miscellaneous items. cant rate this little bag highly enough.

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