By now, we've probably all had enough experience to know what to pack for an extended, or even not-so-extended, vacation. But what about a simple overnighter or weekend getaway? Is it really necessary to pack the 11-ounce can of hairspray? By the time you fit the contents of your bathroom into your bag, you've run out of room for your hair dryer, and - unless you're staying in a hotel that supplies one - that's kind of a necessity. For short jaunts, even some travel-sized products can be a little excessive. So, here's how to pack if you know you're not going to need an excess of shampoo (or if you want to be able to chuck it in the hotel trash and travel lighter on the way home.)
1. Take advantage of beauty and fragrance samples
Samples offered with purchase at Sephora.com
Now, I'm not promoting hoarding here by any means, but many stores (Sephora, Nordstrom and skincarerx.com, for example) regularly give out samples with every cosmetic purchase. Most of the time, they even let you choose from an array of provided products and brands. If you know you love a product, and you're offered a sample of it, take it. Save it and use it for your next getaway. Depending on the sample, you can use it two or three times before it's gone.
Many cosmetic counters at department stores are also good about providing samples of their products. If they give you a sample in a reusable containter, like a jar, hang onto it and refill it with your own stuff later. Beauty supply stores and salons typically have a stock of hair product samples on hand and are usually happy to give a few out if you ask nicely.*
*But hey, it's never OK to abuse the system. If you regularly ask for samples, someone is bound to catch on, and not only will you look cheap, but you'll be what I like to call super annoying and flat out rude.
2. Take advantage of gifts with purchase
Many cosmetic companies offer free gifts with purchase if you spend a certain amount or buy a specific product. Gifts with purchase typically consist of smaller travel- or sample-sized items, but you have to time it right. Establishing a good relationship with an employee of your favorite brand is a good idea becuase they'll keep you in the loop when there's a gift coming on.
3. Buy with lightness (and leak-proof) in mind
Towelettes are one of the best inventions known to man, but so is a ready-to-use, individually packaged toothbrush. That's the stuff that was born to be on-the-go. Pack along a single-use toothbrush (it's already equipped with toothpaste - just wet it with water to activate) and a single tan towel and no one will ever know you didn't have your vanity in your suitcase.
4. Subscribe to a monthly sample box
These days there are companies like Birchbox and Bluum (for moms + babies) that send out boxes of deluxe samples to subscribers on a monthly basis. Fill out a short personality profile and they'll even cater to your likes. Did I mention there's one for guys as well?