Summer Travel: 8 Tips to Pack Your Toiletry Bag More Sustainably

Summer Travel: 8 Tips to Pack Your Toiletry Bag More Sustainably

Summer has officially arrived and so has our OOO status. We’re breaking down 8 top tips for packing your carry-on (or checked bag!), including ones that will help you skip the bag snags, stay sustainable, and keep your skin clear, glowing, and hydrated throughout your journey.

1. Bring your (abbreviated) Routine!

Whether you're jetting off to a tropical paradise or embarking on a cultural adventure, one thing remains constant: your skincare routine shouldn’t take a vacation. 

Keep your skin on track, and your toiletry bag sustainable. Just stick to the basics - cleanse, moisturize and protect - and pack your hydrating cleanser, day-to-night moisturizer and a non-nano mineral sunscreen. If you’re an ultra-light packer and are thinking about leaving these basics behind, just don’t. Replacing your normal cleanser with a hotel hand soap bar is not worth the major stripping that becomes major blemishes. We also don’t recommend under-packing or assuming you can just “buy it there” - spare yourself the time and steep prices at airports and hotel shops.


2. Master Multi-Purpose Products

On the flip side, over-packers - we get you. We’ve all been there, gazing longingly at our multi-step routine, knowing we’ll have to sacrifice at least one product in order to fully zip our suitcase. While it’s tempting to pack your entire vanity, try maximizing space by choosing multi-functional skincare. 

Many products can do two jobs in a single formula. Take an inventory of your medicine cabinet - are there any two products that seem to serve similar functions, or have overlapping ingredients? If so, you may be able to leave one behind!  Our JUNI cleanser, for example, is tough enough to remove makeup so you can leave that extra makeup remover bottle and cotton pads at home. Other double dippers include products like tinted sunscreens (leave the foundation at home), and powerhouse serums or treatments (pick your favorite / the one that does it all).


3. Don’t Buy All New Products!

There’s something about traveling that makes us want to get fresh products and lay them out all nice and neat - but resist the urge! The first rule of sustainability is to use what you already have and avoid buying stuff all together. Similarly, it’s always smart to opt for products you’ve tested and loved, and those least likely to cause irritation in your new climate🌤️. If you haven’t tried a product before, do you really want the first time to be a gamble on your long awaited vacation? Not us. Stick to the products you know, the products you already have, and the products that work in all climates (retinols, it’s probably best you stay home).


4. Indulge in In-Flight Skincare (that doesn’t harm the planet)

Long flights can dehydrate your skin - cabin air humidity on airplanes is typically less than 20%, compared to normal indoor humidity levels of 30-60%. Instead of buying wasteful, single-use sheet masks, bring along your favorite heavy-weight moisturizer to apply on the plane.

Our overnight treatment, PALO, is packed with a mix of lipids and skin nutrients, so it’s the perfect way to lock in hydration and create a barrier against recirculated air during long-haul flights. Plus, by forgoing the sheet mask, you can skip the Jason Voorhees, à la Friday the Thirteenth look. If you feel like you need the extra “umph” upgrade to reusable gel under eye patches. Or, if you have the space, lip masks, and silk sleeping masks are just a few other ways you can make sure you land feeling and looking your best. Oh, and don’t forget to fill your reusable water bottle before you board! Drinking water on the flight isn’t just good for your overall health, it’s a great way to start your trip with hydrated skin.


5. Keep it Lightweight, Skip the Large/ Heavy Containers

If you’re checking your luggage, weight matters. Airlines typically charge $50-$200 for checked bags that exceed weight limits, with fees varying by airline and destination. Avoid these (and emptying your suitcase in front of strangers) by choosing lightweight containers like metal for your skincare. This prevents unnecessary bulk and potential breakage from glass bottles. Consider products like our CAMO moisturizer, which is made of aluminum, and travels effortlessly without risking breakage, while adding minimal weight to your toiletry bag. 

One of our favorite tricks to replace heavy liquid shampoo and conditioner is to travel with Dip solid haircare. We ❤️ Dip. 

6. Avoid the Travel-Size Toiletries Aisle - Go Reusable!

As much as we love a late-night travel-size haul at the drugstore, we don’t. Overpaying for a low-quality skincare product that comes in a plastic bottle with 3-5 uses, only to have it end up in a landfill for hundreds of years? No thank you.

Some of the biggest travel-size offenders are tiny toothpaste tubes and disposable plastic razors - which straight up can’t be recycled and are oftentimes left in the hotel trash to avoid carrying it on the trip back home. Instead, give space-saving toothpaste tabs a try. And instead of buying or bringing a new razor, opt for the one in your shower. (Or, when you’re ready, invest in a lasting, plastic-free option like the Leaf razor.) 

To keep your lotions and potions low waste, transfer your favorite products into reusable travel-friendly containers like this metal travel bottle set from Swell. Or, instead of buying new, repurpose empty beauty containers you haven’t recycled yet. Fun fact: JunkTheory aluminum containers fit exactly 1.7 fl. oz., and will zip right through security with zero issues. They’re perfect for decanting your full-size body lotions, thick creams, or other miscellaneous items like hair ties.


7. Don’t Let Your Skincare End Up in the Trash - Remember TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule

Getting through airport security and leaving with everything you came with can be a gruesome feat. That’s why it’s important to know the best way to get your favorite products to your destination, while staying compliant with TSA rules. If you prepare accordingly, you’ll breeze through without sacrificing your essentials.

TSA’s carry-on rules are as follows: “You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.”

That’s 3.4 ounces, in 1 quart size bag, and 1 carry-on bag per passenger.

Use clear, quart-sized bags for all your liquids, and make sure they’re sealable! Unlike most products with plastic pumps, JUNI’s aluminum bottle comes with a metal screw-cap, so you can be sure not to ruin any of your carefully-selected (or haphazardly packed) vacation fits during transit.


8. Take Us With You! 🌴

Both of JunkTheory’s moisturizers come in 1.7 fl. oz. lightweight and unbreakable aluminum containers that are TSA compliant and will fit seamlessly in your carry-on. CAMO, our daytime face moisturizer, is meant for gentle but intense hydration (7 molecular weights of Sodium Hyaluronate) which is exactly what you need when you’re living it up and soaking it up… life, sunrays, etc. Our beloved PALO is that perfect overnight medium-to-heavy cream that locks in moisture, softens and works to reverse blemishes while you sleep (we personally don’t leave home without it). JUNI, our daily face cleanser comes in a 4.0 fl. oz.  lightweight, compact aluminum bottle with a screw cap (remember, no plastic pump for clunky or messy packing). It will travel perfectly in your checked bag, but technically is just over the TSA size allowance (so unless you’re risky like the JunkTheory team, who frequently and successfully bring JUNI back and forth through airport security, don’t try this at the airport 😉.)

Summer travel is exciting, but it can be tough on your skin, and even tougher making it through the airport without hassle. With these tips, you can keep your skincare routine intact, while packing sustainably. Focus on incorporating multi-functional and lightweight products to save the most space in your luggage, and minimally-packaged or repurposed products for the least impact on the planet. 

And one final tip! Be present on your travels. Put your phone down. Appreciate the beauty around you. Hug a tree. Pick up some litter. And when you do make it through security with your JunkTheory products, know we’re giving you a high-five in spirit. #livejunkfree #traveljunkfree

-The JunkTheory Team