Travel sizes: The ultimate guide for business women to get through security with hand luggage only!

Most business travel is between zero and four nights and there is no time to waste. You can minimize your transfer time considerably by checking in online and taking only hand luggage, avoiding the wait for the baggage drop and pick up. Here is what you can do:

Get your Milliliters right
If prepared correctly, it is easy to take all you need in tiny sizes. Some securities are easy with it, others are not (London Stansted/Manchester).
In order to make all happy you should buy a transparent zipper bag that has roughly the same volume as the infamous plastic bags that security hands out. It has to close completely and in theory, you can fill it with no more than 10 times 100 ml max (1 liter in total). The number of items is less important than the milliliter limit.
The reason I’d recommend you to buy a sturdy one is that the plastic bags are flimsy and rip very easily.

How to get travel sized products
You can buy travel-size products in drugstores in airports or train stations, by now many companies have caught on that there is a need for it and sell their products in travel size.  Alternatively you can buy empty travel-size containers on Amazon. They come in a wide variety for different sorts of liquids and you can refill them as you need it. (Search for “travel size containers” on Amazon)

For perfume I love to use the Travalo refillable sprayers. I’ve had my oldest one for 5 years now and it’s still working perfectly. You can buy it on Amazon as well, the only ‘downside’ is that it only works with a few aerosols, because the opening can’t be too large in diameter. Here is a little video showing you how the fill & refill works: Travalo refill clip

Deodorant is a challenge. Sure you can use a roll-on, but it takes a lot of space in the bag and there are people like me, who just want sprays, no roll-ons. The two solutions I’ve found so far is to find a deodorant spray that works with a Travalo and to find travel-size deodorants in shops. Not so easy, but there are more and more.

The other challenge is toothpaste. If you can’t find a travel-sized one, there is actually one German brand of tooth paste that comes in a 100 ml size as a standard, it’s name is Ajona.

Whenever you buy toiletry, ask for testers. Testers are great for one business trip, especially if you don’t want to refrain from using shampoo AND conditioner. It’s super difficult already to limit the amount of tiny containers, so testers are your friend!
Whenever you are in a good hotel and they have small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel or body lotion in the bathroom, take them with you. You have paid for them with your room and they can come in very handy.

travel sized liquid products
Travel sized liquid products

Lipstick is a liquid!
The super tough security officers (male and female) even find your lipstick in the depths of your bag and tell you with conviction it is a liquid. And then it has to fit into that plastic bag, otherwise it is binned. They once wanted to bin my favorite and expensive lipstick, so I decided to let go of my toothpaste instead. Priorities – and chewing gum!
And no, arguing makes no sense at all, however senseless it appears, you just make it worse with arguing. They have the power and they are not afraid to wield it!

Make-up items – liquid or no liquid – that is the question!
The other mean thing is that make-up, concealers, mascara and basically anything that is not eye-shadow counts as a liquid too. What can I say – it’s a mystery. Here’s what you can do about it:
Make-up: Get a tester or fill them into a small container, if you have lots of tiny ones, that are visibly a lot less than 100 ml, Security tends to allow you more than 10 containers in your transparent satchel.
Concealer: Tough one. Take it as it is, they have rarely more than 100 ml. Or be daring and leave it at home!
Mascara: You’ll have to take it as it is.
Liquid Eye-liner: Avoid it or get one of those that look like a pen and put it with other pens into your business gear bag.
Make-up remover: They also come as soaked pads. Get those instead of a liquid and you save one spot in the bag!
Nailpolish /-remover: They will find it. Try to do your nails the day before you leave with three layers, so it stays the whole time.
Beauty facial mask: If you are hell-bent on having one, there is powder that only becomes liquid for a mask once you add water.

When you are done assorting your travel-sized stuff and pack your transparent bag, check it. On your next trip, get one of the plastic bags from security and test-pack it in there. The lid has to close and stay closed on its own accord. That’s the point where you will start appreciating travel sizes, because the smaller and the more efficient, the more you can fit in there.

So far no Security have added up the milliliters to check if they are below one liter in sum. The worst they did to me, was to force me to empty my nice transparent satchel into a plastic bag, to check whether it really really closes and stays closed on its own (Manchester Airport – worst Security so far).

So yes, it is a challenge of decisions and preparation, but I believe it’s worth the time you save and the queues you avoid, especially if you are a frequent flyer.

Non-liquid travel sizes to save space in your hand luggage

Travel sized non-liquid products
Travel sized non-liquid products

Venus offers a travel sized razor. Ok, you don’t need to have it, but then again it is handy, small and really cute. Take sealed blades with you. In order to kill somebody with a Venus shaver blade, you’d have to get really really creative (and you would probably accidentially apply shaving lotion instead of doing any damage), but if you catch a security guard that’s having a bad day, you could loose it, and those blades are not cheap.

Mirror & charger from Pearl
Mirror & charger from Pearl

There are cute travel-size tooth brushes out there, hairbrushes and little boxes for any meds you may need. Those won’t affect your milliliter count, but they do save space and if you go on a 4-night trip with hand luggage only, space is precious.
Speaking of precious – why not combine your beauty mirror with a power charger? Get it from Pearl. It comes in different colors. 🙂

Finally, pack the non-liquid stuff in a different satchel than the liquids, never mix them up! I made that mistake once, and was forced to hand-pick it apart. I’m now putting the non-liquids into a transparent satchel as well, so the guards can see at one glance that the second satchel contains non-liquids only. So once you are done it could look like this:

Travel sizes packed
Travel sizes packed

Here is a check list for you:
Toiletry Liquids:
– Face wash
– Shower gel (unless you stay at a hotel, this is a basic feature)
– Day facial cream / foundation with UV filter
– Night facial cream
– Body lotion / Sun-screen (sometimes they come with the hotel room, but are rarely good quality)
– Shampoo & Conditioner (sometimes they come with the hotel room, but are very rarely good quality)
– Toothpaste
– Make-up
– Deodorant
– Perfume
– Hairspray

Make-up Liquids
– Mascara
– Concealer
– Lipstick

Non-Liquids to save space
– Venus travel shaver
– Travel tooth brush
– Travel Hairbrush
– Box with meds
– Pads with make-up remover
– Eyeshadow
– Eyeliner
– Powder/Rouge
– Nail file with round edges

I hope you enjoyed this little guide and that it is helpful to you in your future travels. If you know any great and/or cute travel sized products and where to get them, please let me know.

Also if you have more tips on how to save time during business travel, please share.

Thank you

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