You Should Ditch These Travel Items for the Full-Size Versions


Travel-sized items have their place. I swear by my little dopp kit that has a travel toothbrush, mini tube of toothpaste, pint-sized deodorant, and a short-handled razor in its own protective case. These items last nearly forever, take up very little space in my suitcase, and work just as well as their full-sized brethren.

But then there are the travel-sized things that just aren’t worth it—whether you buy them at home or use the freebies from hotels. Those little coffee pods and tiny bottles of shampoo are more struggle than they’re worth. If you’re packing for an airplane trip in Basic Economy, it makes sense to fit everything in the smallest space possible. But if you’re checking luggage or taking a road trip this summer, use that extra space to treat yourself to the luxury of a few full-sized items.

A real laundry basket

I used to stuff my dirty clothes into a plastic bag in my suitcase, until the time I went on a family vacation and packed a collapsible hamper for all of us to share. It was so convenient, and took so little space to pack, that I’ve brought it on nearly all my trips ever since—even solo ones.

This way, when I take my clothes off at the end of the day, I can toss them into the hamper in the corner instead of carefully packing them away (or leaving them in a pile on the floor). The airflow keeps them from getting too stinky and having a hamper also makes it easier to use a laundromat on long trips.

Our managing editor Meghan Walbert takes this idea a step further. “I bring a laundry basket when we go to the beach,” she says, meaning an actual plastic laundry basket like the kind you would use at home. She packs clean towels and pillows in it, then uses it for laundry on the trip. The whole basket of now-dirty clothes and towels can then be simply loaded into the car for the trip home.

A big ol’ bag of coffee

Getting coffee on the road can be annoying. Sure, your hotel will have some, but usually in the form of little pods that you use with paper cups in the room. If you’re lucky, there’s also an urn in the hotel lobby. Failing that, you’ll have to look for a Starbucks.

But you can also bring your own coffee for a nearly unlimited supply. I like to travel with a plastic pour-over funnel, a pack of filters (pro tip: you don’t need special pour-over filters, just use the cheap kind and fold them to fit), and a bag of pre-ground coffee—whatever kind you like. If you’re a coffee snob, bring something fancy; if you’re not, pick up a bag of whatever at the nearest grocery store or cafe. I’ll use the in-room coffee maker to make the hot water, and then pour it from the paper cup right into the funnel set over my full-size travel mug.


If you prefer a neck pillow for the plane, then fine, bring a neck pillow. But if you’re packing a miniature version of a regular pillow to camp or to crash on a friend’s couch, do yourself a favor and bring a real pillow from your bed at home. You’ll be so much more comfortable.

And if you’ll be using the pillow in multiple places—like on the train and then in your bed—consider packing a few extra pillowcases so your pillow always has a change of clean clothes.

The toiletries you use more than a dab of

I began this post by singing the praises of my tiny toothpaste and deodorant, but itty-bitty toiletries only work for things where you use an itty-bitty amount each day. If you have long hair, do yourself a favor and bring a normal sized bottle of shampoo. If you have dry skin, bring a full container of lotion. You definitely don’t want to skimp on sunscreen if you’re going to a sunny locale, so pack the big tube.

When you’re flying, the maximum size for carry-on liquids is a 100 milliliter container (3.4 fluid ounces)—which is significantly larger than what you may be used to thinking of as “travel size.” Bring bottles in that size instead of saving those one-ounce hotel freebies from your last stay.

And if you truly don’t have room for more than mini toiletries, consider that you can simply buy full-size toiletries when you get to your destination. I showered with French shampoo when I vacationed in Paris, which made the trip feel just a little more special than if I ha

You Should Ditch These Travel Items for the Full-Size Versions

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