Retail

Where To Buy Travel Toiletries

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

In order to feel confident and comfortable on the road, having the proper equipment is essential. I really enjoy doing so since it frees up more of my vacation budget for other activities.

Here are my three go-to stores for low-cost materials and some recommendations on what to buy there.

Dollar Stores

Packing cubes for one dollar? That’s a fantastic idea, and I’m all over it. My experience has been that Dollar Tree is the best place to acquire all of things at once, allowing me to save both time and money. Listed below are some of my favorite items available at local dollar stores.

  1. Overcoats for the rain
    These are fantastic for both leisure and professional trips. They’ve accompanied me to Machu Picchu with my spouse and replaced the need for cumbersome clothing bags while transporting my pricey work attire. Because they are sold in pairs, you may get twice as much moisture protection for the same price. Score!
  2. Umbrellas
    The only time I wear a rain poncho is during a monsoon. I adore them dearly, but I often get some funny stares when I show up at a conference wearing my complete rain gear. Fortunately, for a buck, you can pick up an umbrella and make a more understated statement.
  3. Eyeglasses Service Kits
    Having everything you need in one convenient package makes dealing with all of those small tools and screws much less of a hassle. When we go on vacation, my husband always brings his glasses and an extra pair, plus one of these dollar repair kits.
  4. Straw Bags
    These are available in a range of sizes to accommodate a variety of packing needs. The lime green ones from the car area at Dollar Tree are fantastic for organizing little objects. (For instance, you can safely grab some food out of your backpack if you become hungry on the bus.)

    Lingerie bags with zippers come in packs, so you may securely clean your underwear whenever you find a public laundry facility. They can pick up where you left off when you return from a short business trip.
  5. Sunglasses
    In other words, I totally realize that you can’t wait to break in your über awesome ones on your next weekend vacation with your significant other. But let’s be honest: when the monkey in Indonesia steals your sunglasses and tosses them down a cliff (it’s happened), you’ll be sorry you did. Get some low-priced stuff for yourself and the kids. If they get lost on the beach, at least nobody will be in any danger. Also, everywhere.
  6. Toothbrushes
    There are single toothbrushes and little bottles of toothpaste available at dollar stores for the solitary traveler, as well as multipacks with enough toothbrushes and toothpaste for a whole family. Returning after a summer trip to the beach can leave your cleaning brushes looking a bit worse for wear, but you’ll be prepared with a handy stockpile (i.e. think bathroom sink handles and the glass threads around the tops of canning jars).
  7. Exercise Books
    At the dollar shop, you may find a wide selection of activity books, including those with large coloring pages and word puzzles for kids of all ages. This is a one-stop store for inexpensive fun on the road because they also sell cheap school supplies including pencils, sharpeners, and notebooks.

Hardware Retailers

You might not associate hardware stores with travel, but my husband and I have found that they provide a surprising quantity of useful and reasonably priced travel necessities. Places like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace, and even several aisles at Ikea are frequented very often. A few examples of the low-cost things that could be included in our packs are shown below.

  1. Tags Critical to Know
    My go-to place to get them is Ace because they’re so cheap. Instead of shelling out a ton of cash on fancy luggage tags, I just put my email address on them and attach them to the bag zippers for further protection. They are less likely to get snagged and damaged than bigger ones, but may be easily and cheaply replaced if they do.
  2. S-hooks
    These are some of my favorite items for transitioning from a backpack to a briefcase while traveling. S-hooks are useful in a variety of situations, including the everyday commute, dealing with luggage in airport toilets, and hanging your toiletries bag when showering in a hostel. You may quickly and easily store one by hooking it over a doorknob, handle, or pole. Although s-hooks may be purchased just about anywhere, my personal preference goes to the ones sold in the kitchen hardware area at Ikea. Their broad, rounded surfaces and flat profiles make them an excellent choice for use as shower poles or bunk bed rails, among other hanging applications.
  3. Wedge Bolts for Doors
    Commonly used to prop open doors, they are also useful for closing the doors of shabby motels (i.e. cheap accommodations). As is the case with the common toilet at the dingy hotel where you end up sleeping since you didn’t research the possibility of a convention being held in the area before you chose to “fly it” without a plan. Each pair cost me less than $3, and I keep them in my backpack’s additional zipped pouch.
  4. Drain Covers
    You’ll have to do your own clothes in the sink at some point, and it might not even have a drain. When you can’t locate a laundromat, you may hand wash your delicates and other goods using these rubber disks, which fold up flat for easy transport. Even if your “rustic” tub doesn’t have its own drain stopper, you can still enjoy a relaxing soak in style with this solution.
  5. Protective plugs for the ears
    In the travel area of the department shop, ear plugs cost a fortune, but in the hardware store, they cost peanuts. Every time we travel, whether it’s on an aircraft, a noisy hostel, or a hotel room that just so happens to be next to the local bar, we stock up on a few to ensure we have a fresh supply. If you’re taking a trip with someone who tends to snore loudly, they are a must-have.
  6. Power Converters
    You could either pay at one of those stations, or you could just find a single outlet and plug in an adaptor to make it work for several devices. Voila! You can charge all of your devices at once and still get some work done. It’s a good option among many others for reducing airport spending.

Pharmacy Coupons

I have a few additional favorites that I like to get at drugstores like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, in addition to travel-sized toiletries. Some of the things on the list may have escaped your attention.

  1. Lip pencil or liner
    To be honest, I’m tired of worrying about whether or not my makeup and other toiletries will pass muster with airport security and then having to second-guess their decision. Can I count on the support of the ladies here? When I find beauty pencils on sale for three for a dollar, I buy a neutral-colored lip liner to use as a lip color, blush, and liner. Considering the value, the pricing of 33 cents per unit is hard to beat.
  2. Small, Convenient Emery Boards
    For just 69 cents, you can get a pack of them and get a manicure whenever you need it. Because of the high quantity included in a single purchase, it’s simple to stock up on a supply in case of any unplanned excursions.
  3. Pads for Cosmetics
    You learn to appreciate things like space efficiency when you’ve spent six months living out of a daypack. Whenever I need to pack lightly but yet appear presentable, I opt for round, flat cosmetic pads rather than bulkier cotton balls. They’re more compact, yet just as effective, in meeting the need.
  4. Packages for Medicines
    I went to my local CVS and bought a three-pack of little tubes of different pain medications from popular brands. When I run out, I can just use what I have in my bulk jars to restock the tubes. My wallet and the security team both like this tactic, as it clarifies the contents of the containers without incurring unnecessary costs.

Bottom Line

Can you get by without breaking the bank on your vacation essentials? Absolutely. Use your imagination and stay away from overpriced “travel” sections. This will allow you to save money for other important vacation expenses.

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