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Packing Hacks: Items to Share with a Travel Partner

sharing with travel friends

Traveling light can be tricky sometimes. You have to get creative. One of the ways you can cut down on the amount of stuff in your bag is to share certain items with your travel partner. This will lighten your load and leave room for more important things.

Share accessories

Accessories, like a cute scarf or a fun necklace, are a good way to dress up an outfit. Instead of packing several of each, split the number in half and swap with your friend while you’re traveling. Even though these items don’t take up a lot of room, every little bit helps.

Share items to avoid duplicates

Even for a trip that involves a lot of beach time, you and your friend don’t each need a big bottle of sunscreen. Pack one bottle that you can both use.

A bottle of bug spray goes a long way too. If you’re traveling to a place where you need bug spray, only one of you needs to bring it. I shared bug spray and sunscreen with a friend for three weeks in Southeast Asia, and it worked out fine.

A travel first aid kit is often a good idea, but you don’t both need one. Decide which pieces you want to bring and split them between the two of you.

Share shoes

Well, maybe. I’ve already written about sharing clothes with a travel partner, but you might even be able to share shoes too. If you and your friend wear the same size, or you’re only a half size different, consider each packing one pair of shoes to go with a nicer outfit, and then you can trade shoes when you want to change things up.

I recently traveled with a friend who packed several more shoes than I would normally pack. I wish I had planned on borrowing her black flats for the one night we had to dress up instead of lugging around my wedges for almost three weeks.

I wouldn’t recommend doing this with athletic shoes, hiking shoes, or flip flops, and it won’t work if you wear vastly different sizes.

items to share with a travel friend

Share toiletries

This depends on how long your trip is, but even 100ml (3.4 ounces) goes a long way with certain items. That amount of shampoo lasts me about 40 showers. (Your mileage may vary, so test this out before you leave.) If you’re taking a shorter trip with a friend, one of you can bring shampoo and the other can bring conditioner.

Toothpaste also lasts longer than you think. Just pack one tube to share. But please bring your own toothbrush!

Sharing and long term travel

Some of these tips are easier to implement on short vacations rather than on long term trips, but it’s not impossible. If you’re traveling on a year-long round the world trip with a friend, you will have to replenish things like shampoo and sunscreen along the way. You can still share items to keep the weight down, even if it means having to buy shampoo or toothpaste a little more often.

Traveling with a guy

No, your boyfriend/husband probably doesn’t want to borrow your sparkly necklace or your sexy-but-totally-uncomfortable shoes. But he can share your toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, wound cream, and many other things in your bag. You can probably steal his sweatshirt if you get cold too. My husband and I always share toothpaste, dental floss, sunscreen, and lots of other things when we travel together.

Get creative and look at all the items you’re packing. You probably only need one flashlight or bottle opener. Just about anything you both need but won’t need at the same exact time can be shared.

What items do you share with a travel partner to save space?

Written by Ali

Ali Garland is a freelance writer, blogger, and travel addict who made it to all 7 continents before her 30th birthday. She enjoys travel planning, encouraging others to see the world, and packing carry-on only. She and her husband are expats living in Berlin. You can find Ali at Ali's Adventures and Travel Made Simple.

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Travel Resources

HPL Learnables

Handbag Packing Masterclass – Learn to pack your lightest bag ever in this revolutionary packing class run by HPL founder, Brooke.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Zoe says

    Great ideas here! My partner and I usually share chargers – we have the same types of phone handset and iPad, which is handy! We also have a universal charger which has changeable ‘prongs’ for travelling internationally and a USB input, so we only need to bring that and two USB charging cables. Saves a bit of space!

  2. Jessica Lippe says

    I usually travel on my own, but having a travel buddy makes packing so much easier! If one of us forgets something, we can usually manage between the two (or more) of us. I think the best thing about plane travel with a partner is getting to split the cost of checked luggage. Im usually carry on only to avoid this expense, but sometimes I miss out on bringing home drinks, sharp objects, or other TSA unapproved souvenirs! I’d be more likely to check a bag for fun extras like these if someone else shared the cost with me.

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