The Definitive Guide to What Is Travel Size

Traveling can be stressful, and the stress of a trip pretty much always starts with packing. So, how can you make the packing process easier? By knowing what type and size of liquids you can bring in your carry-on. 

Even still, it’s not always easy to figure out which toiletries you’re allowed to put in your bag — today, we’re bringing you the definitive guide to travel-size liquids and a list of essential travel-sizedtoiletries to make packing a breeze. 

What Does Travel Size Mean?

Before getting into the particulars of packing travel-sized toiletries, let’s talk about what travel size actually means in the first place. 

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), “travel size” refers to any liquid that is 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less. In other words, these are small liquids that can easily and safely be thrown into your bag. 

The TSA has a liquid limit for carry-on baggage known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule. This rule states you can bring one quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes onto a plane, and all containers in your TSA-approvedcarry-on bag must be 3.4 ounces or less. Packaging all your liquids in a separate plastic bag may also help you pass through airport security faster.

But what exactly does this mean for you and your favorite shampoo, hairspray, and fragrance? 

You can bring about nine 3.4-ounce containers in your carry-on luggage — which means all your go-to products are fair game as long as you can stock up on smaller versions of them. Different rules apply to checked bags, though, in which you can essentially bring liquids of any size. 

It’s important to note that you cannot bring any larger bottles in your carry-on baggage, even if less than 3.4 ounces left of the liquid is left. The only large bottles that are permitted through TSA are completely empty bottles. 

Some common toiletries that fall under the TSA rules include:

  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Cleanser and moisturizer 
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Gel hair products
  • Fragrances 
  • Hair spray
  • Lip gloss 

Breast milk, formula, and baby food don’t need to comply with TSA restrictions, but they will be checked by a TSA officer before you board.

Why Do You Need Travel-Sized Products?

We’ve covered what travel-sized means, and now you know how you should (and shouldn’t) be packing for your trip. 

Sure, you can stock up on travel-sized versions of your favorite toiletries with a quick trip to the drugstore, but when and why is it actually necessary? Here are the three most common reasons why you might want your products to be travel-sized. 


If you’re flying with only a carry-on or want to be able to access your liquids during the flight, you will need travel-sized products to get through the security checkpoint.

If you’re traveling for a long time and think you’ll need more of certain toiletries, you can pack larger versions in your checked baggage. 

Packing Light

Another reason to consider using travel-sized products is to help you pack light. 

Travel-sized toiletries can be useful when taking a train or driving, even if they aren’t required. The smaller bottles will take up less space in your luggage and can help you stay organized on the road. 

Working With Minimal Storage Space

You may also want to pack travel-sized products if you know you’ll have minimal storage space once you reach your destination. 

Unless you’re heading to a hotel suite with a walk-in closet and master bathroom, you’ll probably have less space than you do at home, so small products can be beneficial. 

Travel-Sized Essentials: What To Pack

From cosmetics to hygiene products to your 10-step skincare routine, which travel-sized essentials should you really be packing in your toiletry bag? We’re here to break down which toiletries truly deserve a spot on the roster. 

Your Signature Scent

Take a little bit of home with you when traveling by bringing your signature scent. All Snif fragrances are TSA-compliant, meaning you can bring any of our bottles in your carry-on bag (you’re welcome). 

If you’re going away for a long weekend, consider bringing a mini fragrance or two to fit your mini-trip. If you’re taking your signature scent on a longer trip, it’s probably best to pack the larger bottle. 

Either way, bringing your favorite scent along for the ride can help you feel put together, even if your suitcase isn’t. We don’t judge.


Bringing a travel-sizeddeodorant is a convenient way to stay fresh all vacation long without getting called out by a TSA agent. 

Besides, traveling can be stressful, and if you’re anything like us, airport security alone is a good enough reason to break a sweat. 


Toothpaste is another travel-sized essential, and there are plenty of travel-sizedtoothpaste options available. If you want to bring your specific toothpaste on your trip but can’t seem to find a travel-size tube, just squeeze some into a reusabletravel-sized container. 

Contact Lens Solution

If you wear contacts, pack a travel-sized contact lens solution. Remember that you can’t bring your large contact lens solution bottle, even if fewer than 3.4 ounces are left. 

Skincare Products

You’ll probably also want to bring travel-sized versions of your skincare products when you travel. 

If you’ve scoured the stores and can’t track down travel-sized bottles of your skincare go-tos, snag some reusable travel containers and transfer your products into them. 

Hair Products

We can’t talk about travel-sized essentials without mentioning shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, and all your other hair products. If you use tools like a blow dryer or straightener on your hair, you can also consider looking for travel-sized tools instead.

Think about it: blow dryers are pretty heavy, and a smaller version just might be the reason your suitcase stays under the weight limit. 

Travel-Size Made Simple

Preparing for air travel can be difficult, especially if you have to spend hours digging through the TSA website to understand its rules. Still, travel-sized products don’t have to be a mystery. 

Any liquid under 3.4 ounces is considered travel size, and you can only have nine 3.4-ounce liquid bottles per carry-on bag. Hopefully, these travel tips will make your next vacation seamless and stress-free. 

Plus, just because you pack travel-sized products doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on variety. With Snif’s Mini Bestseller Bundle, you can bring three of our favorite scents wherever you roam… without being scolded by airport security.


Liquids Rule | Transportation Security Administration

What is the 3-1-1 liquids rule? | Transportation Security Administration

Effect of shampoo, conditioner and permanent waving on the molecular structure of human hair | NIH

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