There are things that are important for every man to carry in their toiletry (aka Dopp) bag. Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s easier to just have a separate bag that I rarely (if ever) remove from my luggage because there’s a good chance I’ll forget it if I do. However, in the interest of keeping things light, minimizing what can/can’t be taken as a carry on in terms of liquids, and things that you should carry as a male traveler, I’ve come up with a list of things I carry. After years of traveling solo, I think I’ve come up with a pretty definitive list of what to have with you. Remember that I always travel with only carry on luggage so I’m working under the assumption that you won’t be checking bags either.
It’s nice to have your Dopp kit with you in your carry on because you never know when you’ll want to freshen up on the plane and IF your bags get lost, you’ll be at your destination and have to scramble to get the basic toiletries at the store. This is one less thing to worry about. So here is my list of 11 things I consider travel kit essentials:
- Nail Clippers
- Hair Wax/Pomade
- Lip Balm
- Surgical Tape
- Pepto Bismol
This is pretty obvious and it’s a good idea to keep them together. Make sure you take the travel size toothpaste so that you don’t have to take an entire regular sized toothpaste tube with you. You’ll need to remember that you keep liquids and gels to under 3.4 ounces and that includes toothpaste so there’s no point in taking a huge tube with you.
Again, travel size is what you need. If you’re going on an extended backpacking trip, you’ll just have to go to the store and buy a new stick. However, at that point, you’ll probably need to stock up on other toiletries as well. Remember under 3.4 ounces!
I don’t know about you but I hate traveling for a few weeks and having nails that look like talons. I also hate having dirt and grime underneath my fingernails so I like to have nail clippers with me. It’s so easy to forget but nail clippers never seem to be available when you absolutely need them. Side note: don’t be an animal and clip your toenails on the plane. That’s just gross.
This is optional but if you want to put a little something in your hair before heading out, try to make it a hair wax or pomade. You can take gel but it’s been my experience that gel doesn’t last as long and you need a lot more of it. Also, you don’t want it accidentally opening in your bag and exploding everywhere. If you have hair wax, they already come in relatively small containers (meaning meet TSA requirements) and you don’t have to worry about it exploding.
Try to have a small bottle of lotion in your bag. This is mainly for use on planes because the air tends to be really dry and it certainly helps for your hands and face. I will say, it’s also nice to have because if you’re traveling to a climate that‘s drastically different, you skin may not like it too much. I’m not a big fan of lotions especially because I don’t like the filmy residue feeling on my hands afterwards but it does come in handy. What’s nice is you can just swap out a new container at the hotel.
For the same reason of having lotion, lip balm is a great idea. When you need it, it’s great to have and when you don’t have it, finding it can be kind of difficult. It’s really nice to have on planes because the air is dry and again, if the climate is different from where you’re departing.
Don’t bring a full box of them but have a few of them packed away. It’s for small cuts and what not. They’re nice to have and you never know when you’ll fall or cut yourself. Also, if you’re not in an area to quickly the cut, it’ll be nice to throw a bandaid on it until you can get to a place to property clean and take care of it.
I love this because you can use it for all kinds of things. If you get blisters on your feet and you don’t have bandaids that are big enough, you can get some tissues and wrap your foot with the tape to make a makeshift bandaid. I’ve also used it to tape my bag to make it stand out when I’m forced to gate check my bag or if I need to put it in storage so I can identify it quickly. It’s also easier to cut and lighter than duct tape so if you need a quick fix for something, you can just bring it out and rip off what you need.
Just take your handy razor with extra blades. I would stay away from disposable razors because they aren’t that good and depending on how thick your stubble is, probably pretty useless. But most men should be fine with taking a couple cartridge razors with your for a month long trip. Notice I don’t recommend taking shaving gel here. Although you can pack it if you really want, I’ve noticed it typically adds weight and takes up spaces as well as being another item you need to pay a premium for in order to buy the travel size. I’ve noticed that in a pinch, lotion works as a good lubricant for your face and can take the place of shaving gel.
Just buy a bottle and have it with you. It doesn’t matter what kind or type. Just have it and throw it in your bag. Remember that if you get a headache on a plane, the flight attendants CAN’T give you any medication so if you need it, you need to have it with you.
Ever travel to a new place and get some sort of stomach virus that makes your insides determined to come out of your body? If not, you probably haven’t traveled much. WHEN this happens, to say you’ll be uncomfortable is an understatement. The last thing you’ll want to do is go to a store in a foreign country and try to explain what you need to someone who doesn’t understand you all while trying to get to the closest bathroom. Just have the tablets in your bag (not the liquid stuff). I like the chewable ones because it feels like they work quicker but have them in your bag.
Depending on what you need, you’ll want to have a few extra things packed away:
I keep a week’s worth of extra contacts just in case. You never know when you’ll lose one or if it rips on you.
Obviously any medication you need should always be included but if traveling with prescription meds, you might want to have a copy of your prescription as well. Also, you’ll want to keep your prescription meds in their original container because if you’re stopped, you could be arrested for possession.
Condoms are also a good thing to carry because you never know who you’ll meet and finding those in foreign country can be tough and depending on the country, impossible.
Remember that if you do run out of items, you’ll probably have an opportunity to buy whatever you need in the country you’re if you forget something, it isn’t the end of the world. To be honest, it’s kinda fun to walk around a store where you don’t understand a thing and try to decipher the packaging. You might get toothpaste or you might get something completely different. It’s actually a fun guessing game and makes for a fun story if you’re completely wrong.