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18 Must-Have Travel Toiletries, According to AFAR Staffers

By AFAR Editors


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Use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate for extra facial hydration. 

Courtesy of Kiehl's

Use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate for extra facial hydration. 

Our well-traveled team reveals their favorite toiletries to take with them wherever they go.

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Toiletries can be a pain to pack. Unless you’ve mastered a bunch of life hacks—or love checking a ton of full-size toothpaste and shampoo into your luggage—it can be a hassle to find items that will keep you feeling fresh on the road. To make your next trip a little easier, AFAR staffers share the tried-and-true items that they always bring in their dopp kits.

First aid and health

Tiger Balm can relieve itching from mosquito bites.
“I do not travel without Tiger Balm. It is hands down the best product for mosquito bites. It relieves the itching and—I swear—makes them go away faster.” —Maggie Fuller, associate editor

Buy it: $10, amazon.com

Aesop's Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash won't dry out your hands the way other hand sanitizers might.
“I’m very attached to Aesop’s Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash. It’s aromatic (citrus with some earthy notes) but not overwhelming and won’t dry you out like a lot of other hand sanitizers do. Plus, you can dab some on a paper towel to sanitize your armrests and tray.” —Aislyn Greene, senior editor

Buy it: $10, aesop.com

“Made in Australia, Lucas’ Papaw Ointment is a real workhorse of an ointment—it can soothe any travel ailment, from a rash to mosquito bites—packed into a small, smart-looking package.” —A.G.

Buy it: $8, amazon.com

Hair care

Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo keeps you looking fresh without having to wash your hair every day while traveling—plus, you can get it travel-sized.” —Anique Halliday, product director

Buy it: $9, amazon.com

Hask Coconut dry shampoo has a subtle scent that's not too overpowering.
“I’m obsessed with the Hask Coconut dry shampoo. Great for travel when you don’t have the time or aren’t able to bring all of your favorite hair products with you. This one makes your hair look just washed and keeps you feeling fresh for an extra day or two. Love the scent, too—not overpowering.” —Yolande Heller, director of West Coast sales

Buy it: $19, amazon.com

The Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil in the luxe travel size is one of my beauty travel essentials.  It's perfect for your daily hair care routine, and I love to use a few drops on my locks before a long flight or to protect my hair before a beach day.” —Veronica Baesso, director of travel sales

Buy it: $45, us.gisou.com

“I love John Masters Organics argan oil for styling my frizzy hair. It’s not the sexiest item necessarily, but it’s one of the things that helps me feel a bit more ‘put together’ while traveling.” Maria Stegner, senior UX designer

Buy it: $38, amazon.com

Skin care

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“The Sephora Collection eye masks ensure you emerge from your 16-hour flight looking better than you feel. I slap them on, moisturize, put in earplugs, and I’m down for the rest of the flight.” —A.H.  

Buy it: $15, amazon.com

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate is carry-on friendly at 1.7 ounces.
“I use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate for moisture every night, and on long-haul flights after I’m done with my eye masks. By nature it’s carry-on friendly—only 1.7 ounces—and it just feels luscious. Three drops can give your face all the hydration it needs.” —A.H.

Buy it: $49, kiehls.com

Thayers witch hazel with aloe vera comes in pad format, so it won't take up room in your baggie of liquids.
“I use the bottled formula of Thayers witch hazel with aloe vera at home, but on the road, the pad format gives me one less thing to worry about in my baggie of liquids. I use them as toner after washing my face—strong enough to keep me breakout-free, gentle enough that my skin doesn’t dry out. They’re also good for bug bites and other skin irritations.”—Nicole Antonio, associate managing editor

Buy it: $8, amazon.com

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Aromatique hand balm is super-hydrating—the perfect thing to apply after using that moisture-sapping hand soap in airplane bathrooms.” —A.G.

Buy it: $41, amazon.com

Use Evian facial spray after a long plane ride for some much-needed hydration.
“One of my favorite travel beauty toiletries is Evian facial spray. I might feel like a dried out twig when I get off the plane but at least I won’t look like one!” —Christine Corvalan, digital sales planner

Buy it: $18, amazon.com


“I always have my Gucci Bloom fragrance roller; it’s the perfect pick-me-up when you don’t have time to freshen up after your travels.” —Laney Boland, manager, luxury sales

Buy it: $34, sephora.com

“Instead of packing a makeup brush and container of loose powder, I always have one of these Supergoop 2-in-1 setting powders in my toiletry kit. Takes up way less space and also includes SPF 45 for more protection.” —Lyndsey Matthews, destination news editor

Buy it: $30, sephora.com


Quip toothbrushes are both compact and visually appealing.
“I’ve been traveling with my Quip toothbrush for the past two years and love that it’s both compact and easy on the eyes. It’s not as powerful as, say, a Sonicare, but it offers a timed brushing experience (buzzing for four intervals of 30 seconds), which keeps me from getting lazy on the road.” —A.G.

Buy it: $40, getquip.com

Marvis travel-size toothpaste is available in a three pack on Amazon for $15.
“I know spending more than $1 on travel-size toothpaste is ridiculous, but I stayed at a hotel once that included a 1.3-ounce tube of the Italian cult brand Marvis in their amenity kit. I took it home with me and it lasted through my next three trips. You can pick up a three pack on Amazon for $15 (and it makes for great gifts!).” —L.M.

Buy it: $15, amazon.com


Mack’s soft foam ear plugs are ideal for sleeping through anything that may come my way.” —M.S.

Buy it: $11, amazon.com

“I have a Japanese tenugui cloth that is always in my toiletry case. I use one every day to keep my hair back while I’m washing my face, and when I’m traveling it’s a great backup to have on hand: It’s an impromptu shower cap, a washcloth, and I’ve even used it once as a towel in an emergency at a hostel. (They’re also beautiful gifts if you need souvenirs from Japan.)” —Chris Pacheco, data analytics manager

Buy it: $18, amazon.com

>>Next: 9 Essential Tips to Help You Get Better Sleep on a Plane

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