​​I am often asked by my friends how do I always manage to have a small bag when going on trips. This applies both to business travel, and also to my personal trips and vacations.

Over the years, the content of my bags has changed a lot, from large trolley bags filled with stuff that I did not even use, to a small, correctly packed cabin bag. My toiletry bag also evolved a lot, from a few items stored in one of the backpack’s pockets, to a small but complex set of products.

First of all, let me share a few general tips to start with:

• If you are traveling with carry-on luggage only, you need to be aware of the rules for carrying liquids on board: Passengers are allowed to carry liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes that are 100ml or less per container.
• Check what items you can leave behind or decrease the quantity (if you are on a 2 days’ city break you do not need to take on huge bottles of shampoo, shower gel, etc)
• Use small re-fillable containers. You can purchase travel containers that can be found in various sizes and fill them with your desired products.
• Pack multi-purpose grooming items. There are a lot of 3 in 1 products like shower gel/shampoo/face wash.
• Shop for the basics at your destination. I won’t pack an item in my bag if it can be purchased for less at my travel destination.

Now, let’s get to the detailed content, of what I currently use, and based on that you can create your own personal version of the perfect kit:


• Deodorant: This is probably the bulkiest item in the kit. A roll-on deodorant is preferable because it’s smaller and lighter. My personal favorite is the Vichy Extreme Control Anti Perspirant. Its plastic container is very light, and it gives you the sweat protection that you need on hot summer day.
• Perfume: You should always pack your favorite perfume in a 30 ml or 50 ml bottle. Most designers also have travel packs which are lighter.


• Toothpaste: There are a lot of tooth paste brands that you can choose from. I use one for sensitive teeth and almost all brands have small travel versions. Also, you can find toothpaste in any super market around the world, so if you run out you can always buy one.
• Toothbrush: At home, I use an electric toothbrush, but when traveling it will take up too much space so I go for a regular, slim handle toothbrush.
• Pack of gum: To keep my mouth fresh. I’ll keep this somewhere accessible like in one of the backpack’s pockets
• Travel floss: A small-size dental floss kit is very handy to keep with you.
• Lip balm: I Choose one made of all natural ingredients and preferably in the smallest size available.


• Face Moisturizer: Independent on where you are traveling, in hot or cold climate, your skin needs protection. I always use the Vichy Hydra mag c+ anti-fatigue hydrating crème. It helps moist dry skin and if you put it on before going to sleep, you will feel refreshed when you wake up.
• Sun screen: Wear sunscreen. Even if it’s in a hot climate or when you are snowboarding on the mountaing top, you skin needs to be protected.
• Wet and dry wipes: You never know when you spill something on your pants, or you are going to a meeting and your shoes need a little cleaning.
• Shaving supplies: Depending on your preference, you can take a disposable shaving blade or an electrical shaver, plus a small shaving cream. I personally wear a beard, and I only take my electrical shaver when I travel for more than 1 week. If not, my tip is to trim your beard before you leave and let it grow during your trip.


• Medication: I always take with me a few painkillers, band aids and hand sanitizer Don’t forget to take with you any prescription medication you are taking at the moment.


• Shampoo: Shampoo is very important, especially if you have sensitive hair. For example, I use an anti-dandruff shampoo and only a few brands work for me.
• Comb: if your hair is medium or long you need a small comb for a perfect fix.
• Styling products: Depending on your need and preference, you can get a small tube of hair spray, gel or foam.

The man essential list is not that long, and all of it can fit perfectly in a small toiletry bag in order to stay organized and be able to pull it out at the airport security check.

Grooming and personal products are available pretty much anywhere, so if you forget anything or if you are traveling for a long period, you can buy them from your destination and you can use the freed up space in your luggage for other things you need to carry.

Text: Costin Nicolae

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