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How many times have you settled for an inferior product just because it came in a travel sized container? Worse – the products are overpriced for what you get. Another problem is that these products come in the maximum size approved by TSA – 3 oz / 100 ml. It only takes a few 3 oz bottles to totally fill up your 3-1-1 bag. This is fine if you need all the product, but often the traveler only needs 1-2 ounces.  Do you really want to use all the room in your bag for excess product?

If you decant product into smaller bottles you can take “just enough” of your favorite product for the trip, saving space in your 3-1-1 bag. You save money by buying in bulk and transferring the product to a smaller container. This technique will also work for dry products such as detergent. The convenience gained and money saved will quickly counter the cost of purchasing travel sized containers.

Decant to the smallest amount needed

One example of this principle is my liquid makeup. It comes in a 1 oz container, and lasts for about 6 weeks. Technically I could just put it in my 3-1-1 bag and be fine. I didn’t like the big and bulky container so I put the makeup into a smaller 1 oz bottle. But I didn’t need 6 weeks of makeup, only 2-3 weeks. I finally put the makeup into a 1/2 oz eye dropper bottle. If you look at the picture below, you can see that the final container is significantly smaller than the original one.  Use an oral syringe to decant heavy creams and lotions.  It will save you from mess and frustration.

Picture of makeup in original container and decanted into smaller containers

Liquid makeup in various containers. Which would you pack?

I also used this principle for my cream blush and concealer. They both come in small containers, but I didn’t need all that product for my trip. In this case I used a contact lens case to hold both items. It is much smaller than the original containers.

A contact lens case holds concealer and blusher.

A contact lens case holds small amounts of liquids and creams.

Solids need repackaging too

This principle also works for solid products. Packaging can add to the size and weight of almost any toiletry. My deodorant crystal is a great example. It is fairly small, even in its original package. But if you look at the photo below you will see that removing it from the original container makes it take up less space (and weight) in my toilet kit.

Deoderant Crystal and regular deoderant

The deodorant crystal is much smaller and lighter when it is separated from its packaging.

Ideas for small amounts of product

What if you only carry a few drops of something, or will only be gone for a few days? Consider soaking any liquid in cotton balls and placing the balls into a small plastic bag. Technically it is now a “solid” so won’t have to go in your 3-1-1 bag. Also consider pre-loading Q-tips with your favorite product, such as eye shadow or makeup remover. Again, these are now “solid”, so won’t need to go in the bag.

It is worth the effort!

There was small investment of time when I first decanted all of my liquid and solid toiletries. It took about 2 hours to assemble the bags and bottles and get all the product into the right containers. It takes a few minutes to refill them after every trip. It is totally worth it. I have a lot more room in my 3-1-1 bag, and I don’t have to carry all that extra weight!

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