Packing Light: Dopp Kit

A lot of you have asked me how I fit everything in one tiny carry on. One of my big tricks was a tip from Gwen, who suggested putting liquids in a see-through bag with a clip, like this one. It hooks on to the zipper of your suitcase, and it has changed my life. Life altering! You just pop it off at security, pop it back on once you’re through, and BAM! You have room for an extra pair of shoes in your bag. Bwahahaha.

Once I’m at the hotel, I empty that bag into the dopp inside my suitcase that has all my “dry” stuff in it. My dopp kit is easier to get into, and I prefer to have that on the counter.

I love to share hotel rooms with friends so I can see the little luxuries they take with them on the road. Lots of you ask for photos of my bag when I pack, so I thought I’d start by showing you my dopp kit. Here are some lists of what’s inside. If you see awesome stuff I’m missing, let me know.

Hair bands and bobby pins. As you can see, I like to contain things in sandwich bags. Makes it easier to find stuff and to restock.
A mini-container of John Frieda Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Creme for dry hair
A mini-container of Curls Rock Curl Amplifier for wet hair
Tweezerman mini tweezers, which are so tiny and precise, and less apt to get nabbed by security, though they are potentially very stabby indeed.
Baby oil to remove my long-last lipstick
Fashion tape— this is skin-friendly double-sided sticky tape, to tape clothes in place over cleavage or keep bra straps hidden. Toupé tape works too.
Benadryl, because I have food allergy issues.
A wide-tooth comb for combing wet curly hair.
Marvis travel toothpaste, I can’t believe how long this teeny tiny tube has lasted.
A toothbrush
A lint roller
Gilette Spa Breeze razor — have you used this? It has little soap bumpers on it so you don’t need to soap up before you shave. Killer.
Natural hand sanitizer
A travel candle and matches
Panty liner to buy me a few minutes while I run to the drugstore for supplies if necessary.
Single-use eye drops — Love these. They save space in little purses when you’re going out, and I sometimes tuck them into my bra if I don’t want to carry a purse.
Safety pins
Handy-wipe — For washing my hands if I decide to go thrift store shopping.
Dental floss
Cuticle scissors, which I mostly use as real scissors.
Nail clipper
Nose hair trimmer (ahem)
Jewelry I keep in the exterior zip pockets.
Face cleansing towelettes — I didn’t get a photo of these, but I travel with two kinds: pre-soaped ones that you wet to wash your face, and then the damp ones you can use to wipe off your makeup. I keep those in the night stand in case I realize I forgot to wash my face after I’ve already climbed in bed. I do that a lot.

Revlon Creme shadow in Pink Petal
The Naked Bee sunblock stick This was a Mighty Goods submission, so I’m testing it out and I like it so far. Makes it easier to get sunscreen onto Hank.
Burt’s Bees Peppermint Lip Balm, so tingly. This is the only lipbalm I use, and I have sticks of it everywhere. I even have one specially marked to soothe my nose and upper lip when I have a cold. There’s also a version with sunscreen.
Cover Girl blushes in Classic Pink and Natural Rose
A full palette of Maybellene Superstay Lipcolor, which never, ever comes off. I just made a lunch date with a friend for the specific purpose of teaching her how to apply it, and I don’t even care if that sounds nuts.
A lipstick I picked up at the airport and now hate. It’s that bright orangey red that’s so hip right now, but I can’t find a brand that doesn’t bleed, which makes me look like a pack-a-day circus clown.
A brush for blush and powder
Eyelash curler, which I never, ever use. Why do I pack this?
Eyebrow pencil, which I also never use. I have Yeti eyebrows.
Shadow brushes
Nosehair trimmer and tweezers, which I apparently photographed twice.
Perfume — the type varies because I like to associate trips with particular scents.
Clinique tinted sunblock, which I use as foundation.
Concealer with sunblock
Liquid eyeliner
Face powder
Mini-container of DDF Daily Protective Moisturizer
Atopalm moisturizer
Philosophy Help moisturizer. I use that so infrequently that I think I’ve had this tube for years. Which is… gross.
Neutrogena sunblock/moisturizer — I just use this as sunblock, because I have dry skin and like the extra moisture.
White eyeliner — I use it to put that little dot on the inside corner of my eye that’s supposed to make your eyes sparkle. Is that still a thing?

This is my nail kit, and it’s mostly for touch ups. The cork bag was a Mighty Goods submission. I didn’t love it when I got it, and now I realize I was dreadfully wrong. Do you know who makes it? Let me know and I’ll update.

Orange stick
La Occitane Pure Shea Butter — I think I got this as a hotel amenity, but it’s great cuticle cream.
Cotton balls
Revlon Strawberry Electric nail polish — I usually only paint my toenails and I think toenails look best in comparatiely garish colors.
Seche Vitte fast-drying top coat — You put this on while your polish is still wet. It gives an at-home pedicure the professional sheen. Also good for stopping runs in your tights.

That’s it! Typing all that makes me want to take a trip. Or head to a Sephora. What about you? What are you willing to squeeze into a mini tube so you can take it on the road?

39 thoughts on “Packing Light: Dopp Kit

  1. Don’t bother buying expensive make-up removing wipes, just use baby wipes! They do just as good a job, are obviously very gentle on your face, and cost about a third of the price!


  2. This is amazing, I dont know how you got your travel kit to look so aesthetically pleasing laid out like that, but it looks awesome. I have found that if you have a phone that lets you slide off the back to access the battery that you can fit tiny things in that area that come in handy. Mine has a needle and thread and two bobby pins, because you never, ever know. I also pack double sided tape just incase a hem comes undone and I dont have time to fix it 🙂


  3. This gave me so many ideas for my dopp kit! But the real benefit of this post, for me, was that you included the detail about applying Seche Vite to wet nails. I bought a bottle about two months ago, and I stupidly just thought it was normal for sheets of it to peel off my nails. Pah.


  4. You didn’t include your awesome Flight 001 dopp kit in the shot! That’s the best (material goods) recommendation you’ve ever given me, and that’s saying a lot. I love mine.


  5. Oh man, get rid of the baby oil. I use coconut oil to remove all makeup, including waterproof mascara. It’s better for your skin, smells good (isn’t made with mineral oil!) and doesn’t sting your eyes. It stays solid until you put it on your skin (or it’s summer). I will also use it as a body moisturizer in dry climates.

    I repurposed a sample jar of some Burt’s Bees thing or other because you can’t really travel with the giant 12oz jar of coconut oil.


  6. I’d love to hear more about that lipstick tutorial. I am having a heck of a time keeping it on. 1/2 the time it’s great and I have to crowbar it off and 1/2 the time I end up with color only along the outside edge of my lips because the inner circle disappears.


  7. I fly 100,000 miles a year, and I can say that you’ve got a pretty perfectly stocked kit. The one thing that struck me as BRILLIANT is the pantyliner. Why haven’t I ever done that??

    I also load up my clear baggie w/a couple of Zicam swabs and a little teensy spray bottle of water. I use it for spritzing in-flight, or for spraying on a paper towel to breathe thru when my nose gets REALLY dry.


  8. Video tutorial request for this lipstick class of yours, pleeease.

    Also is it odd I was like “ooh she uses the same comb as me!” uhm. don’t answer that.

    and.. Orange stick? Do I have to hand in my female card if I say I don’t know what that is.. other than an orange..stick?


  9. I need a lipstick tutorial! I have this thin little uppper lip and Ive always been afraid of lipstick.

    Wearing lipstick is on my life list!


  10. What struck me most here was the term “dopp kit.” I call this a “toiletry bag.” Dopp kit? Where does that come from? (Also, we use a lot of the same stuff. I like the Burt’s Bees Pomagranate lip balm.)


  11. I need more info on the lipstick, too. I recently bought some longwear stuff, and I have two problems – it dries so fast I can’t get it on correctly in time without putting on way too much, and by the end of the day it’s only on the outer edges of my lips. Ugh.


  12. Reading this post was mesmerizing and relaxing at the same time! (Not in a weird way but in a good way!) These packing posts are fab!

    Each bag is perfectly specific and comprehensive. Each item is thoughtfully chosen! Oy…I realize I’m packing like the Tasmanian Devil.

    So, I didn’t know what a Dopp kit was either–but even the research is fun!

    Is not learning about the “sponge bag” so cool too?!


  13. Oh girrrrrl. I knew I liked you for a reason, Mason.
    High five to everything here and as a fellow frequent flier there are plenty of things from your list that I’m making note of. Everything that I fly with stays in its own little baggie at all times. When I run out I just fill back out. From hair product to body cream and washes and face wash, it’s all there all the time.

    Which reminds me; it is high time for me to do a packing post of my own. You’re full of good ideas.

    P.S. I wrote this on BlogHer yesterday because there’s nothing like being able to get in and out of security swiftly.


  14. I love love love this post! Very helpful.

    And yes, the white eyeliner trick is great. The best thing you could get though? EyeBright by Benefit. It’s a pinky white that you can use for the inner corner of your eye, under the brow for a highlight, or even as a liner. It makes eyes POP and it’s one of my ultimate beauty treasures!


  15. I know this may require a whole lifestyle change, but I recommend the Diva Cup to all women. It’s perfect for light traveling (and actually, traveling in general), and avoids the panty-liner-until-store-for-more-disposable-products dilemma. It’s eco friendly and comfortable and overall a great alternative to the cotton/plastics.


  16. Yes, Daria, I love the diva cup too. It took me a month or so to get used to it, and I’ve had smooth sailing ever since. I honestly forget that it’s my time of the month because I can go 6-8 hours without changing it. Definitely my favorite travel accessory, it stays with me in the travel kit.

    Maggie, thanks for the info. You are much better prepared than me! I don’t use as much product, so I can fit all my toothbrush stuff into a tiny eagle creek bag and all my other stuff into an eagle creek bag the size of your liquids bag. But I obviously still need to work on packing, since saving space with toiletries has not allowed me to get away with carryons everywhere. I think it’s the shoes that still baffle me. I have yet to find a shoe that is dressy enough to be my one weekend shoe yet is comfortable enough for miles of sightseeing.


  17. The baby wipes are a good substitute for all your wipe needs, but you should spring for the no-chlorine seventh generation kind. There are also little mini plastic pouches for wipes that you can get.I work in theater and always have on the horrible grease makeup, and I use the wipes first before cleansing and moisturizer, but they are great for that night stand 2am thing too.

    I bow to your packing skills! The only think I wouldn’t want is the blush. I have a l’occitane lipgloss that looks right on the cheeks and is much sheerer- with a little sparkle, and doesn’t require anything but the tube.


  18. I am really glad you posted this. I am attending Blogher this year and I know this going to sound Hicksville, but I’ve never been to New York City and I’ve never done a trip like this on my own. My husband I usually share a suitcase and check it. But I don’t want to check a bag for this trip. I used to consider myself to be pretty minimalist, but for some reason, this trip has me thinking that I’m going to need the kitchen sink. Toiletries were beginning to plague my dreams. Now..not so much.


  19. So many awesome tips! I love this. Answers to some questions.

    Alyce, it’s probably coming off in the middle because you ate a salad or something with oily dressing. Oil takes it right off, so you have to re-apply.

    Megan, the matches are contraband. I just don’t care if they get confiscated, and they’re surprisingly hard to find when you land.

    Jen, orange sticks are for pushing cuticles and getting crud out from under your nails:


  20. “…makes me look like a pack-a-day circus clown.” That is effing hilarious.

    I don’t travel much (sob) so I don’t really have anything to add. I do know I’ve learned to pare down what I take, especially in my carry on- reading material, tissues, lip balm, snacks, motion sickness pills…that’s about it.

    And I totally love that you buy “drugstore” makeup. I’ve never been a makeup counter person- just not convenient.


  21. I’m amazed that you can get a razor through. I’ve had both Tweezers and nail clippers confiscated so I would assume a razor (or scissors) would be a no-go.

    I LOVE the clip-on bag suggestion. I am always fighting to pull my bag out of an outside pocket and it gets beaten up or torn, and I get frustrated. Perfect solution!

    Your kit looks great, and way more comprehensive than mine. I’m too lazy to bring all the nail stuff. I just paint beforehand and hope it lasts! A couple of additions: I always bring a few band-aids, particularly the blister kind, for feet that have walked too far. And I can’t live without hand lotion, especially on a dry plane, so I have a travel size of my usual Aveeno fragrance-free. I also have a travel size Clinique 3-step kit, which I bought in Germany, and just tried to find online, but I don’t think you can get it here. Boo. Instead of the pantiliner, I throw in a couple of Natracare applicator-less tampons which take up no space at all. For meds, I throw in motion sickness pills (I’m prone to it) in addition to allergy/ibuprofen.

    I love these packing posts! Thanks!


  22. I’ve gone int’l twice this year, and I leave again in 8 weeks. My bag is much smaller: Diva cup, toothbrush & toothpaste, floss, wide tooth comb, Burt’s Bees lip balm, allergy meds, Excedrin migraine, lotion, travel size deodorant, shampoo & conditioner. I clip all my nails down to the nub before I leave & tweeze & shave everything that might bother me. You can always buy something there if you need it.
    If the husband & kids are coming then we just add in kid’s tylenol & maybe kid shampoo. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.


  23. Yes on the Diva cup, but I never thought about it as a travel accessory. I use it on a month-to-month basis.

    The only addition is saline nose spray stuff, especially for long flights.


  24. I think I’m the only person on the planet who finds Burt’s Bees lip stuff to be waxy and non-moisturizing and entirely unpleasant. (I use the Smith’s Rosebud Salve, myself. I also have some Weleda stuff that is tube-of-chapstick-shaped, and it works really well, too.)

    I feel like a moron admitting this, but even though I travel with a carry-on sized suitcase, and my dopp kit is no larger than yours…I always, always check the damn bag. I took four 8-14 day international trips last year, and even though sometimes waiting at baggage claim takes awhile, I always prefer that to having to rush through busy European airports with a suitcase, or having to move my hair goop or my face cream into littler containers, &c. Plus, this way I can just move some of my clothes to a tote bag and carry that on during the flights home, with my checked bag full of stuff I acquired during the trip (boxes of my preferred tea from the UK take up a surprising amount of luggage space). But I take a quart-sized baggie of the stuff that is definitely small enough to be carried on, or things that I would be really unhappy to be without if my bag was misplaced for awhile — toothpaste and toothbrush and lip stuff and the makeup components, mostly. However, I have never ever had my bag get lost or delayed or anything, so I guess I just don’t worry about it much at all.

    I’m also a bit surprised you get away with having scissors and a razor in your carry-on, only because I had my freaking nail file confiscated in Geneva this past November. Ridiculous.


  25. Strawberry Electric!! I love that color for toes during the summer. I saw that in your nail kit and loved your site that much more.

    I’m planning a trip to Vegas in the summer. Keep the awesome packing tips coming! Thanks, Maggie!


  26. I also keep benadryl at the ready in my purse, nightstand, and travel bag, as I also have food allergies and there is nothing worse than being out & about with hives and other related food allergy problems. Although, I break mine in half as a whole one will put me to sleep for half the day.


  27. I always bring at least 1 spare contact. Hardly matters if it’s the right prescription. What matters is if I lose or rip one, I need something in that eye. Learned *that* in Mexico.


  28. My favorite item for everyday purse and especially for the travel kit is a small bottle of a yummy essential oil (rose is my choice). It’s perfect a perfume (substitute if you have something else you like, though I use this daily instead), in the bath (love!), and can be added to a tea light to make it a scented candle. I also like peppermint because it’s a nice pick-me-up after a long day of travel and helps if I’ve got a headache.


  29. I used to travel for work all the time. I never needed more than a small shoulder bag. At first I thought checking my bag was convenient, until the check-in counters became “automated” and they started charging for your first bag.

    Of course, I would use the hotel soap and shampoo. So I only had a few liquids. Then again, I’m a guy, so no makeup allowed.

    Here’s a tip: bring an empty nalgene through security and fill it up at the water fountain.


  30. OMG – totally with you on the Maybellene Superstay Lipcolor — that stuff ROCKS. Although it’s not necessary -because it never wears off – I do keep a stick in my bathroom, my cosmetic bag, and my car (less so in the hot summers)!!


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