Traveling with beauty products can be tricky. Between overflowing carry-on bags and strict security rules, it is essential to do a bit of planning before you go.

While I recommend sticking with just a carry-on for any journey that’ll last less than a week, there are times when you’ll need to check luggage.

Here’s my list of which travel beauty products to Check vs. Carry On!

Pack in Your Carry On

  • Most Valuable Items

  • Important Medication

  • Computer and Photography Gear

  • Pack in Your Checked Bag

  • Liquids over 3.4oz

  • Other Medication

  • The Ultimate Carry On Bag

    Before you start planning your carry-on, double check the size limits. The average airline accepts 22x 14 x 9-inch bags, but that can vary. Some airlines, especially the budget ones, can be crazy strict. I’ve seen “oversize” bags penalties of $50 or more, so don’t try to sneak in anything too big.

    TSA Liquid Allowance Image

    As you’re packing, always be very careful with the sizes. Make sure everything is in 3.4-oz. (or less) bottles, and then stick it all in a clear one-quart bag.

    I love these reusable bags that are perfect for travel.



  • Essential Makeup

  • Carry your basic concealer, mascara, tinted moisturizer, and whatever else you just can’t live without.

  • This is a daily essential for me, especially after dealing with dry airplane air for too many hours.

  • A cool eye cream feels so good after (or during) a long flight. It’s the perfect treat that comes in a tiny tin.

  • Face Moisturizer or Serum
  • Of course! Never get on a plane without ample moisturizer. The air is drier and you need to up your moisture level.

  • Tray tables have an average of 2,155 bacteria colony-forming units (CFUs) per square inch. Public toilets have 6.6 CFUs per square inch. Enough said!

  • These are a good way to feel fresh, especially during long haul flights.

  • Never leave home without it!

  • These can also be incredibly helpful for preventing dryness during long flights. If you have contacts, be sure to bring an extra case.

  • Toothpaste and Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush: On long flights, brushing your teeth is so refreshing. Hog the bathroom for a bit and freshen up. It makes all the difference.

  • Prescription Medication

  • Be sure to triple check your essential meds. I usually bring a small pill case for general ailments like headaches, nausea, and allergies.

    People sometimes worry about going through security with pills, but you’ll never have an issue bringing normal quantities.

    READ MORE: The Ultimate Carry-On Packing Guide

    flight passport

    The number one rule for checked luggage is to only pack things that you can live without. While I have never actually had my luggage totally lost, I have had it arrive a week or more after I did.

    Be thoughtful with everything you pack and remember that there can be delays, and occasionally things do get lost.

  • Toiletries

  • Anything that you have over 3.4 oz. (or 100 mL) needs to go right into your checked luggage. Check all of your shower products, like body wash, shaving cream, shampoo, and conditioner.

    Even if your luggage gets lost, you can buy cheap replacements to hold you over.

  • Flat Iron and Curling Iron
  • Your carry-on space is just too valuable for this. You can go with au naturel hair until you are unpacked.

  • Stash the big bottle of your sunscreen in your check-in. Otherwise, it’ll take over your whole one-quart liquids bag.

  • Even though these loofahs are flat and easy to stash away, it is never worth the carry-on real estate for me– it’s best in checked luggage.

  • I typically travel with makeup remover wipes, but if you’re a fan of liquid and a security-friendly bottle wouldn’t get you very far, check a big bottle.

  • This is another beauty must-have that I go through like a mad woman. Those little airline-size bottles wouldn’t last me a long weekend, especially in the summer. I use this dry shampoo constantly to give my hair extra oomph.

  • Makeup Extras

  • Anything that you won’t need or miss during your flight can go in your checked luggage. You don’t need to carry five shades of lipstick through the airport.

  • Extra Medication

  • If you have any “just in case” medicine, pack it up. If you probably won’t need it on the flight and it’s not an essential daily med, you don’t need to carry it.


    Mumi Packing Cubes


    Kiersten Rich

    Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.

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