Don’t pay huge prices for travel-sized toiletries

January 2018, 2018

By Cathy Toogood

Are you one of a growing number of people who tend to travel hand luggage only in an attempt to avoid the cost of checked-in bags? If so, you may be throwing unnecessary money away by paying over the odds for your travel-sized toiletries.

Regular travellers will now be au fait with the 100ml liquid rule when passing through security but if, as a result of these restrictions you tend to buy mini versions of your normal toiletries at the airport, did you know that you could be paying as much as 750% more for the privilege?

Research by TravelSupermarket uncovered that travellers can end up paying 753% more per millilitre for mini toiletries than for their standard-sized counterparts and, in some cases, can actually end up paying more for a smaller version.

For example, a standard 150ml spray can of Dove deodorant can be bought for £1 on the high street whereas a 35ml travel-sized version costs nearly double the price (£1.99) in the airport. And for those travelling with children, mark-ups are just as steep. For example, a 500ml bottle of Johnson’s Top-To-Toe Bath for babies usually costs £2.67 from your local Asda whereas a small 50ml version from WHSmith in the airport costs £1.99. This is a huge mark-up of 645%.

And, unfortunately for holidaymakers, prices of these toiletries seem to have rocketed over the last 12 months – some number crunching from TravelSupermarket shows that, last year, mark-ups on travel-sized minis were a maximum of 250% more in airport stores beyond security whereas this year several products were 400% or more higher.

It may seem like you are in a no-win situation – you either pay to put your bags in the hold or travel hand-luggage only and pay out for minis – but there are ways around the extra costs and to avoid buying anything in the airport.

TravelSupermarket’s top tips

  • One top tip is to avoid minis altogether and instead to buy large bottles and decant what you need for your break before you set off - not only will this save you money on toiletries, but taking what you need will help you to keep the weight of your luggage down whether you are travelling with hand or hold luggage. Plus, if you use all of your toiletries while you are away rather than bringing half-full bottles back, you’ll have more weight and space in your bags for souvenirs and gifts
  • Items such as aerosols and sprays can’t be decanted, so if you do need to buy travel-sized versions of these, keep an eye out for three-for-two/buy-one-get-one free offers on the high street in the run up to your break. You can avoid buying travel-sized shaving foams by decanting larger shaving creams, and consider roll-on deodorants instead of a spray.
  • Avoid any extra charges at the airport by taking your own clear sealable plastic bag for your toiletries and remember that you are only ever allowed to take a maximum of 10 items in this.

Read more advice on saving money when travelling with cabin baggage only in our blog post ‘Hand luggage tips’.

Follow Cathy on Twitter at @CathyToogood

Please note: All prices were correct as of July 2012 and were compiled at Manchester Airport compared to high street prices in the city.  


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