Taking a well-earned vacation—a.k.a. a break from the bad screen, our apartment, and our responsibilities—is one of our favorite hobbies. Renting an Airbnb in the sticks, going for a gondola ride in Venice, staying in your parents' spare bedroom for some free meals—all travel is enticing in its own special way. But temporarily fleeing your
shoebox apartment totally adult crib is all lollipops and gumdrops until you get to the worst part about skipping town: packing.
Ziplining over the jungle: fun! Stuffing a bunch of button-up shirts, underwear, and chargers into a duffle bag and hoping that you remembered everything you might need for eight days: less fun. We hate packing, and often do it the night before (or morning of, because we’re chaotic). And since we apparently have to bring miniature versions of all of our toiletries in carry-on bags forever, there can be last-minute panic when your flight is in a few hours and you realize that you have failed to get travel-sized bottles and have no way of stashing your sunscreen, skincare, or shampoo without potentially getting your bag pulled off the conveyor belt. Mercifully, so many brands make travel-sized versions of their products now that you have no excuse for showing up at your destination without a full arsenal of high-quality self-care goods.
If you, too, have the habit of leaving everything suitcase-related until the last minute, it’s best to have a handful of travel-sized, go-to products on hand to immediately throw into your luggage or carry-on. So, to lend you a hand on travel day, here are some of the best travel-sized essentials that won’t leave you scrambling.
After a long flight, our muscles are hurting. Walking up and down the aisle of the plane only helps so much, and we don’t want to be freaks and do dynamic stretching mid-flight. The Theragun Mini is portable and compact enough to travel with, especially if you plan on working out. It will get the job done with its basic three-speed settings. Just make sure to only store in your carry-on, as per TSA regulations.
Best travel kits
Supergoop!’s Sunscreen Kit
If you’re headed to a sunny destination, sunblock is a must. Supergoop! sunscreen may be a big-time cult-fave, but it’s also available in travel size. We have no room for wrinkles—or sunburns—in our lives, and want to age flawlessly, but thankfully we can bring all of our Supergoop! favorites with us (they even come in a small, neon-yellow travel pouch). The SPF Bestsellers Kit includes Glow Screen, Play Everyday Lotion, and Unscreen Sunscreen for when you wish to bask in the sun, worry-free.
The Art of Shaving’s Sandalwood Travel Kit
Disheveled is not the lewk for traveling. Avoid five o’clock shadow with this TSA-approved kit that comes with pre-shave oil, shaving cream, a five-blade razor, a signature shaving brush, and an after-shave balm. Just make sure if you bring the razor on the plane it’s only in checked luggage. If you only have a carry-on, that’s what the overpriced gift shops at hotels are for.
Origins’ Best-Sellers Set
Just because you're not at home doesn’t mean you have to throw your skincare routine out the window. Zits on a trip? Not on our watch. Keep your pores in tact with the Origins Best-Sellers Set, which includes [inhales] the Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash, the Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, the Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion, the Plantscription Multi-Powered Youth Serum, and the GinZing Oil-Free Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer. Whew.
Aesop’s Arrival Kit
There’s no need to deviate from your regularly scheduled, luxurious shower routine when on vacay, so instead of praying that your hotel is stocked with Aesop or Dyptique, bring the Arrival set with you and bask in the aroma of geranium leaf and bergamot rind from head to toe. This perfect grab-and-go set contains the brand’s cult-fave shampoo, conditioner, body cleanser and body balm. If you’re looking for the whole kit and caboodle, Aesop also makes specialized travel sets—named Chicago, Amsterdam, and Kyoto—suited for urban destinations, cool climates, and warmer climates; respectively.
Nécessaire’s The Body Ritual
If you have yet to try Nécessaire’s cult-fave products, chances are you’ve seen them on the bathroom counter of a close friend, or all over your timeline. This set of body-care essentials is the perfect way to experiment with a new brand and treat your skin to a spa day even while traveling. The set includes travel-size versions of The Body Exfoliator, The Body Wash, The Body Serum, and The Body Lotion, so you can stay soft and supple no matter where you are.
Grown Alchemist’s Travel Kit
For a complete set of toiletries (minus dental care) Grown Alchemist has you covered. You can just keep this eight-piece set stashed in your suitcase, and never worry about forgetting face wash or shampoo again. You’ll get an entire self-care routine including shampoo, conditioner, body cleanser and cream, a gentle face wash, an exfoliating face wash, hand cream, and face cream. Score.
Travel size toiletries
Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap
You use it at home for everything from washing your body to the dishes, and luckily the travel size is available in a ton of scents including peppermint, lavender, rose, and tea tree. Plus it’s super cost effective, and you can use it for a bubble bath, washing your hands on the go, and even washing clothes if you severely under-packed.
Marvis’s Whitening Mint Toothpaste
Talk about chic—if you’re toting around a tiny tube of Marvis toothpaste, people WILL be impressed. Aside from a ton of flavor options, you can also snag a set of three that includes the classic strong mint, whitening mint, and cinnamon.
Wet Brush Mini
Forgetting a hairbrush is basically vacation suicide, especially if your destination involves salt water and sand. This Wet Brush is the GOAT of hairbrushes, combing through soaking hair with ease. Stash a mini in your toiletry bag so you never have to go without.
The best travel size perfume and deodorant
Malin + Goetz’s Eucalyptus Mini Deodorant
Traveling is stressful, which means your pits will be working overtime. That’s where Malin + Goetz’s Eucalyptus and Bergamot mini deodorant comes in. This all-natural deodorant is aluminum-, alcohol-, paraben-, and residue-free, and comes in a compact travel size.
Le Labo’s Santal 33 Perfume
That’s right—just because you leave your apartment filled with all its creature comforts (like your weighted blanket, Brita pitcher, and massive bottle of Santal 33), doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to attract eligible hotties wherever you go. Pack the cutest little 15ml bottle of Le Labo’s cult-fave scent and maybe you’ll meet your soulmate on your next trip out of town.
Glossier’s You Solid Perfume
Why even worry about glass shattering in your luggage if you don’t have to. While Glossier’s “You” scent has a cult-like following, it’s the ingenious ingenuity of a solid formula that really makes it perfect for travel, the gym, or just stashing in your bag after a particularly stressful day of meetings.
The best travel sized makeup, skincare and haircare
Bioderma’s Hydrabio H20 Micellar Water
This super-popular, French hydrating cleansing water is *chef’s kiss* for when you need to freshen up quickly. Just squeeze a bit onto a cotton ball or pad, and swipe across your face to remove dirt and makeup and feel rejuvenated within seconds. It’s perfect for situations when you might need to wash your face but don’t want to have to go through the whole lather, rinse, dry process.
Nars’ Mini Radiant Creamy Concealer
The ultimate travel makeup product, Nars’ Mini Radiant Creamy Concealer specifically covers up dark circles and blemishes flawlessly with buildable coverage for up to 16 hours, while offering a dose of radiance—hence the name.
BaByliss Pro’s Nano Titanium Straightener
This hair-straightening iron has a 4.3-star average rating from over 7,000 reviews on Amazon, and will kick frizz to the curb if you’re traveling to a humid area. Its nano titanium plates help keep your locks smooth and shiny with its superior heat retention technology—all in a compact, portable size. It’s also a must-have if you have a thick mane that tends to need some textural help in different climates. “I have medium thick, naturally curly hair and this iron had no problem getting all of my hair straight,” a reviewer raved on Amazon.
Klorane dry shampoo
When the ugly side of traveling rears its head (layovers, delays, packed buses) it’s always good to pack essentials that can get you ready for whatever adventure may present himself, regardless of whether you have access to luxury accommodations. Klorane’s dry shampoo with oat milk is the perfect pick-me-up for greasy hair that’s been bathed in recycled air all day.
Race ya to the TSA line.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.