Posted by: AmbleAlong | February 16, 2012

Insider Travel Tip: Sample Simplicity

On August 10, 2006, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) put into place a restriction that each person (1) traveling the friendly skies could get through security checkpoints with just one (1) quart-sized ziploc bag full of liquids in containers no larger than 3.4 oz/100 ml (3) each. They call it “3-1-1 for Carry-ons”, and have nifty posters up about it in airports everywhere.

Since the implementation of this 3-1-1 requirement from TSA, many of us have had to change the way we pack and evaluate what we take with us for travel.  It was a tough-love lesson to learn that my high school geometry class was not terribly useful when packing my 3-1-1 ziploc.  However, I have learned some “tricks of the trade” for my carry-on that I am going to share in hopes that they help you fare better en route to your travel destination…   (As a side note, everything I take for travel now is carry-on after weathering a 9-day European vacation without luggage that was never seen or heard from after check-in at my starting airport.)

Let me help you go from this:


To this:

Tip #1 – Keep it simple.  Previously you could have cleaned out your shower for the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash to cram in your suitcase minutes before you departed for the airport.  Now, you’ll need to plan ahead.  When they say 3.4 oz, they do not mean the final 3.4 oz in a 12 oz bottle, rather they mean a maximum container size of 3.4 oz.  So, you need to either buy a travel size, or pour from your regular bottle into something smaller.  Whenever I find a product I use in the travel size, I snap one up.  (That way I don’t have to rely on duct tape and a Sharpie to let me know which purple bottle is Pantene shampoo, and which is Dove body wash.  Oh, and I also keep my travel size container to refill when I get home so it is ready to go for my next adventure!)

Tip #2 – Play devil’s advocate.  Just because you use moisturizer, sunblock, overnight cream, and a facial mask at home each week does not mean each of them deserves to take up valuable space.  You can find great 2 in 1 products – often on the cheap at drugstores – to save space and meet your needs.  Please note that you should always test drive these products in advance on a regular day to be sure and know they work for you before you travel.  As someone with sensitive skin, I would never want to leave it to chance to find out that a product makes me break out after I land in another country…

Tip #3 – Utilize the resources available.  I would expect that many folks like me purchase their department store makeup when it is “free gift” time.  Doing so allows me to find out if there is a new product that is awesome or a great perfume that I would never otherwise have tried.  Of course there are hits and misses, but these are always terrific (and small) items that are perfect for travel ease.  There are also a ton of stores where you can get a sample of a new foundation (up to a 10 day supply, sometimes custom made!), a packet of conditioner, or a small vial of perfume at no charge to you.  Magazine inserts for perfume, lipstick samples and advertising cards to turn in for free product are also good ways to try something new while packing compactly and saving your bottom line.  Again – and especially for folks with sensitive skin – test anything that might give you a problem before you travel.

Though these tips certainly don’t cover everything, I do hope they will be helpful to giving you creative ideas on how to be smart about what to take with you and how to fit it all in.   Also keep in mind that anything that does not slosh around (lip pencil, bar soap, etc.) does not need to fit inside the 3-1-1 packet, but can be packed anywhere it fits in your carry-on or checked bag.

Happy traveling!




  1. This is a very good post with valuable information. I travel with just a carry on and try to get by with just the basics. When I travel abroad and forget something, the hotel may have what I need.

    Keep traveling and forwarding along your travel tips!

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