I've noticed that the older I get, the more beauty products I use in my daily and nightly routines. This poses a problem when I'm packing for trips — and as a travel writer, I take a lot of trips. Despite my best efforts, somehow my toiletries always end up taking up more space than my shoes and clothes put together. Then, when I finally get to my destination, I usually discover at least one thing has leaked and made a total mess.
Fortunately, I found a smart and affordable solution. Here's why this 4-in-1 leakproof toiletry container is my top travel hack of 2022.
I don't need travel-size bottles anymore
For just $18, or about the cost of a sandwich at the airport, I received two of these cleverly designed containers that hold four refillable product dispensers each. At 1.4-ounces, the dispensers are TSA-approved and the perfect size for packing in carry-on luggage. They obviously fill a fraction of the space that my full-size products would normally take up, but I've also noticed that they actually save more space than most travel-size products.
That's because while traditional travel-size products are short, fat and round, these dispensers are long, slim and triangular. Together, like pie slices, the four of them form a circle that takes up a lot less space than four separate cylindrical bottles would. Instead of having multiple bulky vessels of liquids or gels floating around my bag, I now only have one container to keep everything in one place.
It saves me money
Even if I was to go the travel-size route, those products aren't cheap. The best value is to buy my products in a bigger size and portion out what I need for my trip. Amazon has many containers that attempt to do this, but I opted for this 4-in-1 container because of all the five-star reviews I had read — one reviewer went so far as to say, "I don't know how I traveled without this for so long!"
I also save money because I'm not dealing with unwanted mess or wasted products anymore. (There's nothing worse than opening my bag to find my lotion or self-tanner spilled everywhere.) Each dispenser has a traditional pump top that you push on to get the product out, but the container's durable ABS shell and leakproof lid keep the pump from inadvertently being pressed by loose luggage items.
It saves my sanity
A few years ago, I bought one of those travel kits of empty plastic bottles. They worked fine, but the main problem was that I didn't label them. Because many of my go-to products are fragrance-free, I couldn't identify them all by smell — and trying to determine what they were based on consistency was nearly impossible.
What I like about this container is it comes with pre-labeled stickers for things like shampoo, conditioner, day cream, night cream and more. Admittedly, some of the labels are misspelled (or else I need to learn what "foral water" is), and the stickers can be hard to peel off the label pad. But once they're on, they're on for good.
Furthermore, the container has a little side window that shows which bottle is in the dispensing position. To change dispensing positions, all I have to do is rotate the leakproof lid, which has a built-in button I can press when I'm ready to use the products inside. In other words, I don't need to remove the lid until the dispensers need refilling. I also don't need to worry about losing multiple lids or caps.
Since I travel for a living, I try to be more conscious about the carbon footprint I leave behind. For example, the first time I tested this container I was staying at an LEED-certified property (and one of the most sustainable hotels I know of in Montana). I would have felt like a hypocrite if I had packed mini throw-away plastic bottles instead of this eco-friendly, BPA-free tool.
It saves me time and energy
With this container, I only have one thing I need to remember to bring with me into the shower. Few things are worse than being mid-shower or bath than reaching for your conditioner only to remember it's still in your bag outside the bathroom door.
If you're now convinced you've been packing your toiletries wrong for way too long, look on the bright side: At least you don't need to spend time trying to figure out a solution. After giving this container a spin, it's not something I will ever likely leave home without.