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The Frugal Traveler: How to Fly with Fewer Liquids

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By Myscha Theriault

(MCT)—Reducing your overall travel liquids and making your storage solutions as compact as possible are highly valued skills on the modern-day travel circuit. Follow these handy travel tips to keep your supply situation under control.

Storage: While there are times when heading straight for the travel-sized toiletry aisle at your local pharmacy or department store will be your best bet, it pays to consider all of your decanting options in advance. I’ve found that depending on which empty travel bottle kit you purchase, the containers might actually be smaller than you can find elsewhere. This greatly increases the number of essential liquid items I’m able to carry with me on the plane. Nail polish remover, toner and even hairspray are items I’ve been able to store more efficiently by searching out bottles that were smaller than the typically-purchased miniature sizes of the same products. The editors over at Wandering Educators, a travel site for teachers, take a different approach. Their top choice? Using watertight contact lens cases for small amounts of things like moisturizer, diaper ointment and even toothpaste.

Solids: Bar soap and lip balm aren’t the only personal products available in solid form. Choosing as many solid solutions as possible cuts down significantly on the number of items you have to cram into that quart-sized bag. Two of my favorites are facial sunscreen and concealer. I purchase them in retractable tubes and toss them in with my other cosmetics for liquid-free coverage on demand. Other options include solid body butters, face makeup and even perfumes.

Sheets: Opting for products in sheet form is one of the most space-efficient packing strategies for liquids. When extra luggage room is limited, I choose wipes rather than liquids for things like hand sanitizer and stain-removing solution. They store flat and still allow me to customize the amount of product I need for the length of the trip. Jeanine Barone, author of “The Travel Authority: Essential Tips for Hassle-Free Travel,” favors the dissolvable sort for things like shampoo, body wash and other consumable hygiene products more typically purchased in liquid form. Thegoodtravellife.com’s Tiffany Karabaich Pence maximizes facial cleansing cloths from companies like Pond’s and Oil of Olay by cutting them into quarters. Says Pence, “This gives me four times as much and they don’t weigh anything.”

Supplies: Familiarity with your chosen hotel’s regularly-stocked toiletry amenities can save you significant travel stress when it comes to deciding upon your carry-on liquids. For example, I’ve noticed a number of hotels stepping up with more than the typical shampoo, conditioner and body lotion lately. Toothpaste, mouthwash, shave cream and even shower gel have all made an appearance on my various hotel bath counters within the past two months. If your employer allows you to select a favorite chain, their liquid personal care products might be just as important a factor to consider as free Wi-Fi and fitness facilities.

Theriault is the best-selling co-author of the book “10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget,” and founder of TrekHound.com, a website for independent travelers. She also founded TheLessonMachine.com, a website for teachers.

©2012 McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Distributed by MCT Information Services (http://www.mctdirect.com)

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