Travel Tote Packing List

May 17, 2011

Creating a sanctuary at home is something that evolves over time, but simply by deciding to travel one should not have to forgo a similar sanctuary that provides tranquility, comfort and a reminder of home knowing no matter where the train/plane/car stops, the passenger (you) will always look fabulous, present their best self and be in a genuinely pleasant mood.

Recently, I shared a list of ideas on how to transform a hotel stay into a luxurious occasion, and today I’d like to share a list of items to pack in your travel carry-on – the toiletries list that will ensure a fresh face, a calm spirit and the ability to be ready for any occasion or situation.

1. A Fabulous Tote 
First things first, a must-have is a travel tote that exudes style. While Louis Vuitton makes fabulous totes at exorbitant prices, why not seek out a vintage make-up train case? They are sturdy, unique and classic! Or choose something even more creative – a hat box? Simply place an organizer inside that holds all of your traveling essentials securely and voila!

2. Hanging Toiletry Organizer (Overstock.com has some inexpensive great ideas or a more luxurious and simple choice from Bare)

3. Facial cleansing pads Saves time and the mess, but more importantly, it does the job of taking care of your skin. (Click here to view of a review of the best ones to pick up at your local drugstore.)

4. Make-up necessities (tinted moisturizer, mascara, blush, concealer, lip color) Anything else is up to the woman – after all, we all have our own tricks of the trade.

5. Lip balm (rosebud salve, Beeseline or your choice)

6. Toothbrush, toothpaste & floss

7. Deodorant

8. Body Lotion

9. Facial moisturizer/eye lotion

10. Ponytail holders/bobby pins/soft headband

11. Shampoo/conditioner

12. Razor

13. Sunscreen

14. Perfume

15. Fingernail file/clippers

16. Hair brush

17. Hair products in travel sizes (hairspray, thickening spray, mouse, prep, etc)

18. Comb

19. Face wash (if you prefer rather than facial wipes)

20. Small carrier for jewelry

21. cotton balls/Q-tips

22. Bubble bath

23. Shower cap

24. Candle

25. Baby powder 

Optional Based on One’s Needs:

*Blow-dryer (The best investment in my daily routine, was to invest in this blow-dryer – hair is smoother, less frizzy, and time is saved)
*Contact solution & holder
*Feminine toiletries & necessities
*Reading glasses
*Allergy medicine
*Neosporin
*Pain medicine (ibuprofen, Advil or Tylenol)
*Band-aids


After just over a decade of traveling, I have finally fine-tuned my tote into something that I can just grab and go, feeling confident that I will be able to look and feel my best.  Trying to choose the right clothes is tough enough as it is, so it is a relief to know that my tote is stocked and ready to go as much as it possibly can be.

And if you’ll be staying in a hotel, create your own little tranquil sanctuary. Click here to learn more.
After returning home from a trip, try to make a list of the items that are low and restock them well before your next adventure.  This will save you time and stress as you plan your itinerary for your next get-away.

And while this is a list that has worked for me, I am always looking for more ideas, suggestions and additions.  Please do share what you’ve found to be the best packing list for traveling when it comes to your tote.

Bon voyage! And stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for a list of what to pack for your next flight and most importantly, the clothing packing list – a fail-safe list that will take you from Friday as you head out of town, until Sunday evening when you arrive home.



15 thoughts on “Travel Tote Packing List

  1. I’ve traveled with a vintage train case for YEARS as my vanity case, and it’s always fun and a marvelous conversation starter as well! Now, where are the bellboys of yore to tote them for us?
    Kay N., Rochester

  2. Shannon perfect list and a couple of things I must add to my bag! It is a relief to have everything ready to go!

    This is why I could never live on a boat! Ha!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my New Giveaway from Serena & Lily! You will love it!

  3. Marline – That is absolutely true! I have had more conversations with people while I’m traveling due to their commenting on my vintage Samsonite tote. So much fun.

    Karena – I’m with you – a boat would be tough to live on. 🙂

  4. Another great post! I have to say I can never travel anywhere without my hairdryer – although it takes up far too much room!
    A key tip is to always travel with a little space left over in your luggage bag as you undoubtedly bring back some gifts or souvenirs!
    I love vintage luggage cases – they always look so unusual yet sophisticated!

  5. Designing your travel inventory BEFORE you go is a good idea 🙂 I recently learnt this during a weekend hiking trip I made to Kent, a beautiful county just outside of London.

    I went o the Friday, stayed overnight and planned to go hiking the next morning. I woke up early and it was a gorgeous sunny day, but then as I was packing my stuff it occurred to me that my stuff was way too heavy to take hiking with me – doh! I couldn’t believe this hadn’t occurred to me earlier. And I couldn’t leave it at the guest house. I had to go home instead because my bag was too heavy to lug around and there was nowhere to leave it.

    Won’t do that again.

  6. Great work here, I am in total agreement. The best thing about your bag is this, the cattle class ottoman. What you say? Yes, because I have to travel cattle class I take a good strong bag just like the one you recommended. I take it as carry on, and then stow it above, (they make you) and as soon as we are off I retrieve it and use it as an ottoman to keep my feet up. I take a good cashmere pashmina from the bag wrap it around me for ultimate comfort and luxury. I sleep wonderfully and I have all my precious goodies at my fingers tips. Other travelers are envious. It will catch on – the cattle class ottoman.

  7. Great work here, I am in total agreement. The best thing about your bag is this, the cattle class ottoman. What you say? Yes, because I have to travel cattle class I take a good strong bag just like the one you recommended. I take it as carry on, and then stow it above, (they make you) and as soon as we are off I retrieve it and use it as an ottoman to keep my feet up. I take a good cashmere pashmina from the bag wrap it around me for ultimate comfort and luxury. I sleep wonderfully and I have all my precious goodies at my fingers tips. Other travelers are envious. It will catch on – the cattle class ottoman.

  8. Shannon, I am curious: how do you get all these items into one baggie that passes muster at security? And (assuming you do), how do you make 3-oz size toiletries last a full week? You must know something I don’t! Share please…

    1. Believe it or not, as long as all are in 3 oz containers (liquids, lotions, etc), it doesn’t take much space. I would actually forego face wash and bring face wipes as suggested earlier in the post (I love Dove’s and Ponds and Oil of Olay make great ones as well). Make sure the blow-dryer is travel size and foldable. I took all of these for my two week trip abroad and the only thing I ran out of was body lotion, so I just purchased a bottle at a local store. If you’re bringing your tote combined with your carry-on, just have the liquids easily accessible, so you can quickly take them out and then put them back.

  9. I am traveling to London in a few months and your travel posts have been invaluable in my planning. I just acquired a darling vintage Sky Way Train case in mint condition. Navy blue with red and white trim. I have planned a wardrobe with a vintage feel and this sweet train case is perfect. I feel that it will be very functional and still allow me to be myself in my travel style. xxxxxx

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