No one can forget the across-the-board liquid ban after the thwarted bombing attempt at Heathrow in 2006.
Once the ban was lifted, our government’s solution was to force air travelers to shrink down our toiletries into tiny travel sizes … crammed into Ziploc bags.
To speed up the screening process at the airport, the TSA is hammering it into our heads with its 3-1-1 slogan: “3-ounce bottle or less (by volume); 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin.”
Not only is it annoying, it’s style-less!
So we’ve test-traveled three TSA-approved toiletry cases that claim to be both cute and functional to see which one gets our vote.
Clear Bag System
Company: 3-1-1 Travel Bag
The Clear Bag System was our choice for the most practical 3-1-1 containers.
It comes with a plastic bag with a zipper and five reusable containers with airless pumps, which neatly dispense liquids.
Best of all, the containers are environmentally friendly: They’re reusable, and they are economical because you don’t have to stock up on “travel size” items.
This option is also the most practical because you can fill the containers with your favorite brands of lotion, sunscreen, shampoo, etc. $24.95; 866-969-1740, www.clearbagsystem.com
The prettiest of the bunch, the ESPA Traveller is designed specifically to meet the needs of your skin.
The plus side is that you can mix and match which products you want in the bag. Our sample came with a tempting array of Hydrating Cleansing Milk, Floral Spafresh tonic, 24 Hour Eye Complex, and 24 Hour Complex. The Floral Refresh tonic, for example, has essential oils, like rose, neroli, tangerine, and geranium, and it claims to hydrate and refresh your skin. Yum.
The drawback is that the products are skin-related (ranging from $12-$24 apiece). So if you’re only concerned about hydrating your skin, this TSA-approved bag is right for you; however, it is not the most practical choice because if you’re only traveling with a carry-on, you will be shampoo- and toothpaste-less.
Now, there is room for your own shampoo, toothpaste, etc. in the ESPA bag. The bag is not for sale for individual purchase, but you can pick and choose what spa-pampering product(s) you would like, and the TSA bag comes along with the purchase of any traveller item. The products range from $12-$48. 415-391-7265, www.espaonline.com
Men’s/Women’s Grab & Go
Just as the title suggests, the Grab & Go bags are convenient for those who haven’t the time to pack their own toiletries. The bag includes shampoo, conditioner, shave cream, deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, and SPF 30 sunscreen.
There are bags specific to men and women (i.e. Secret for women, Old Spice for men). All of the items fit nicely into the clear, plastic bag with a zipper.
You can’t, however, choose which brands you would like to accompany the set, so forget being able to use your favorite lotion.
This product may also prove wasteful, as you can’t easily refill the containers, but it lives up to its claims … just grab and go. $16.85; 800-962-4943, www.magellans.com
By Monique-Marie DeJong for PeterGreenberg.com
For other TSA approved toiletries, visit Dry Toiletries for Flights.