What’s in Your Travel Toiletry Bag? Slightly Troubling Things You’ll Find in Mine…

Posted by - April 3, 2011 | Category: Loot

Sleeping Pills and MouthwashThere are some fine lists out there on what you should pack in your toiletry bag when you travel. This is not one of those lists. These are simply some overlooked, perhaps questionable, items that you will find in my toiletry travel kit.

Mouthwash. I can see your eyes rolling. Oh yes I can. But please stay with me, and I shall explain. For years, I had what I like to call Far Side teeth. If you’ve seen the comic strip, you’ll catch my drift. More fangs than a Twilight werewolf. More crowding than a Black Friday Wal-Mart. So to remedy that situation, I finally broke down and got Invisalign. “Nine months,” said the orthodontist, “and you’ll have teeth like an Osmond.”

Well it took a little longer than that. Fifteen months longer to be exact. But it was well worth it. They are pearly, they are white, and they are rock and roll. (And a little bit country!) The downside is, they like to travel as much as I do. Staying in one place is not their natural state, so I have to wear a retainer at night to keep them at bay. I know. Retainer. That’s hot.

Now I’m not sure how many of you have ever worn a retainer, or maybe woken up with someone wearing a retainer, but it stinks. Literally. I call it “vadge mouth.” It’s like durian in a dumpster. So the mouthwash goes wherever I go. I’m willing to sacrifice the space in my toiletry bag for the greater good of those around me. Yes, I will do that for you. You’re welcome.

Sleeping Pills. If you’re a light sleeper like me, these are a must when you travel. I usually rely on ear plugs to aid in a good night’s sleep, but sometimes you need to kick it up a notch. I can usually spot the tell-tale signs that I’m going to need some Zoplicone to catch some Z’s. Party hostel? Pop a pill. Long flight? Pop a pill. Light pollution? Well, maybe a sleep mask will work in that case.

Compact. Yes I’m a dude with a compact. I tell people it’s a “travel mirror” but I got it in the makeup section of a dollar store. I use it while shaving in the shower, and to make sure I didn’t miss anything after I clipper my head. And maybe some other places too. It’s rectangular shaped so it rests nicely against a wall or on a shelf in the shower. Did I mention it was a dollar?

Liquid Bandage. I used to think that this was the medical equivalent of squeeze cheese, but after actually trying it, I was sold. It works great in bendy places. It doesn’t get grubby like regular bandages and it doesn’t fall off. And it’s one-size-fits-all. Not to be confused with liquid courage.

Ziploc Bags. If it can leak, it will. If it can get wet, it will. Let it be written. For this much I know to be true. Save yourself the heartache and use these to organize your travel kit.

So what’s in your toiletry bag? I’m always looking for great travel tips. And sharing is good karma. Really good karma.

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65 comments - add one
  1. Um… so you travel with a teddy bear, a bottle of alcohol and little blue pills? That IS an interesting travel kit.
    My Darling Man travels with a razor and a single serve of shampoo (as sold in Vietnam). It takes much pestering from me to get him to add spare shirts and boxers. He is the ultimate minimalist.

  2. We have always carried hard core sleeping pills (just in case) but never anything like Advil PM. This trip to Prague we decided it would be a good thing, what with jet lag and all. Boy howdy have those been a lifesaver.

    One of our “secret weapon” dop kit items is a small spray bottle filled with watered down spruce oil. It works like a charm to remove the stink from clothes you have worn to many times. Wouldn’t travel without it now.

    1. I’ve heard of sprucing up your wardrobe before, but never like that! Probably seems much better than the Bounce fabric softener sheets I stuff in my bag too…

      Thanks for the tip!

  3. I always carry a small bottle of Dr. Bonner’s magic soap in Lavender. It’s the best castile oil soap out there and a little goes a long way. You can use it to clean anything! Also, don’t forget the eye mask.

    1. I have not heard of that soap. But it does have the word “magic” in it, so I know it has to be good. 🙂

      I shall Google it right now…thanks!

  4. Haha, great list! I particularly love your description of the smell of your retainer. Well done. Everyone needs different comforts while on the road, and I don’t think yours are particularly odd. Well, maybe the teddy bear. 😉

    1. Thanks Adam! I debated whether I should use the “v” word. Now that I know it’s power, I shall pepper my posts accordingly…Hee hee…

      The teddy bear was a gift from a student many years ago. She actually cross-stiched my initials into it, so I call him R-dubyah. Like the mouthwash, he goes where I go. 😉

    1. I’ve only recently discovered the joys of sleeping pills. My friends were raving about that brand ad naseum, so I finally took the plunge. Sleep has never been more peaceful…

      And the liquid bandages are fun too. I don’t recommend them as a sleep aid though. 🙂

  5. I love the honesty and the laugh out loud humor of your travel toiletry bag piece. I love the liquid bandage but would have to go for a natural sleep aid such as melatonin. Ziploc bags, amen…how about an antibiotic cream and advil?

  6. Excellent list!! I can’t travel without sleeping pills or mouthwash — both things I never use when not on the road. And of course you need a mirror, er, compact….

  7. I carry Ziploc Bags too. Mouthwash is great. Fresh breath and clean teeth after a long day of travel can make you feel like royalty. And sleeping pills for sure. I also have lip balm in mine.

  8. I’m with you on the mouthwash and Ziploc bags. ESPECIALLY Ziploc. I only discovered it last year on my way to Burning man and now I Ziploc everything. I love keeping everything fresh.

    Hey I’m not weird, you’re the one carrying a compact 😛

  9. I’m vain enough to carry a full skin-care regimen, including pre-wash, wash, scrub, moisturize and a clay mask. My toiletries bag is almost bigger than my regular bag. But I’m still not vain enough to carry a compact 🙂

    1. Is it weird that I keep my Ziploc bags inside a Ziploc bag? 🙂

      I haven’t tried carrying liquid bandage in a carry-on yet…but I’ll ask around! Thanks for commenting!!

  10. Hmmm…I am not familiar with Germoline. Did a quick Google search of it and looks like it’s a UK thing. Do you know if there is a Canadian/US equivavlent. I need a good cure-all!

    1. There used to be an ointment available in the UK called Medol. I don’t know if that’s something you can get in the US/Canada? It’s iodine-based and it’s MAGIC. It draws out nasties (as does Germolene) and it smells gert lush, too. Brilliant!

  11. Everything I ever wanted to know about what’s in Raymond’s travel kit! Good point about leaking items. I use the shower caps that you sometimes get in hotels to wrap around things like shampoo, etc. (What else would you use a shower cap for anyway?) An item I always pack is a Band-aid Friction Block stick to prevent and heal blisters. I’m constantly recommending this product.

  12. Sleeping pills are an absolute must, must, must!! Funny that the NVR guys mentioned a spruce spray – I laughed when Pete packed a bottle of lavendar spray, but then really appreciated it when on a Bolivian pee-smelling bus. Sprayed a few shots on my scarf and wrapped it around my chin to sniff at my pleasure (so, all night).

    1. I will have to get a bottle of spruce or lavender for my next trip. I used to just haul out a bottle of cologne and spray the bejeezus out of the offending odour. Like Pete’s and the NVR guys idea much better…

      Thanks for commenting!

  13. Liquid bandages – brilliant. Will definitely tuck those in from now on. That along with a bitty tube of Polysporin (an antiseptic cream, likely similar to your “Germalene”.)

    The spruce oil sounds interesting too, but… as what will fit into that single qt./ltr. “liquid” ziploc for airport security is mighty limited – I think the dryer sheets are a better way to go.

    And though not technically a “toiletry” per se, my number one gottahave in my travel kit is a set of EAR PLUGS (actually several sets as I seem to loose them along the way.) For starters, for sleeping on flights, but also essential for noisy late night partiers in hostels, as well as waytooearly oclock (your choice): barking dogs, crowing roosters, 4:30am calls to prayer.

    1. I am so with you on the ear plugs Dyanne — I even sleep with them at home some nights. And multiples of anything is always good. I had a spare pair I lent to a Kiwi couple in Turkey as the boat moored next to ours was partying hard. They put one in each ear with the other ear pressed to the pillow. Voila — good night’s sleep! They went out and bought multiple pairs the next day.

      Thanks again for commenting!

  14. It’s wonderful that your teddy bear is one of your travel companions! It’s always comforting to have something that is familiar and that brings good feelings.

    I’ve been carry similar things with me, such as:
    – $5CAD and bus tokens from home, as a symbol I’ll find my way home after
    – A red envelope my mom gave me before my trip, as a symbol of good fortune and having abundance
    – A bracelet from a close friend, as a symbol of them watching over me in spirit

    Oh, and I had a packet of Oil of Olay face wipes, which I’m now out of, but definitely another mental comfort 🙂

    1. Those face wipes are an awesome idea — I may just have to invest in some. And I really like your list of personal things that you travel with. It’s nice to know that those you care about are with you in spirit…

      Thanks for taking the time to share!

    1. You know I have never tried one of those neck pillows in all of my 29 years

      Teddy is also handy for avoiding those single supplement charges. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by Corinne!

  15. I hated my teeth for years, finally got braces after paying for them for our two kids and got them off when I was 50. I didn’t care how old I was – I have straight, beautiful teeth!! I also have the retainer at night issue and if I forget for a few days – man, those teeth can travel!! It really hurts to put the dang thing back in!

    1. I know that feeling all too well. I never smiled until I got my Invisaligns — one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m willing to put up with the retainer stink if it means pearly whites for the rest of my days… 🙂

  16. Hey, you forgot to mention your teddy bear…or did I miss it somewhere in the post?:p Can the teddy fit into your toiletry bag???:) Amazing…
    Your list is not that troubling….fascinating would be a better word;) The liquid bandage sounded really cool and interesting to me, maybe I should check that out and get one for myself too…just in case;)
    Oh ya, go easy on ’em sleeping pills too!!:)

  17. Totally agree with ziploc bags – don’t leave home without a variety of sizes.

    Liquid Bandage is my friend for assorted reasons. Good with sealing/protecting wounds for sure. But, as a diver who also uses estrogen patches, using the LB around the patch edge (once the patch is placed on the skin) helps keep it there for it’s 7 day duration. Between diving, snorkeling, swimming and showers (basically being in water almost all day every day of a trip), a patch wouldn’t last 48 hours. LB definitely fixed that problem.

    1. Thanks a great use for liguid bandage! I never thought of using it for something like that. Could help with smokers using the patch as well. Can’t take it off if it’s glued to you. 🙂

  18. Well, clearly I am obsessed with my toiletry bag! I search out sample items like little mouthwash strips (they dissolve in your mouth and are the size of one stick of gum for 40 strips! They take up so little room. I collect handi-wipes from bars and restaurants, I have a little hotel mending kit, a tiny sample bottle of cologne and have found these tiny paper like liquid detergent strips and shaving gel strips too. My kit is 4 x 5 inches and I fit everything in. Plus almost nothing uses zip-locks which are a MUST for liquids. However what I cannot do without is Visine. I find traveling makes my eyes dry and drops are essential – it’s my luxury. PS You can also get these cute pencil top teddy bears at the dollar store which saves space and gives you comfort.


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