Miniature Travel Toiletries with a Not so Miniature Price Tag

We reveal the real cost of miniature holiday toiletries and how to avoid the little holiday essentials that may be costing you big.

The 100ml rule

The days of the hand luggage holiday are upon us, as airlines offer cheap flights but charge extortionate fees for hold luggage. However, carry-ons do come with a catch – the strict law regarding liquids in carry-on luggage.

Any liquids must;

  • Not exceed 100ml
  • Not be in a larger bottle with only 100ml measured inside
  • All containers need to fit in a small clear bag provided at the airport.

These are the security requirements which retailers have exploited by selling miniature versions of full-size toiletries, from shampoos to sun cream, at huge price markups.

The big cost of buying small

Research conducted by Travel Supermarket revealed that travelers could be paying up to 750% more on mini toiletries per ml than the same product in its full-size version. Particularly when buying at an airport, but even in local supermarkets, you could be paying double or more for the same product just in a smaller size. Research conducted by MyVoucherCodes shows that on average, the price increase from regular to travel size is 177% more per 100ml. One example, as featured in an investigation by Money Saving Expert, is the retailer Boots who sell miniatures of Original Source Shower Gel for seven times the price per ml than the full-size version.

Miniature toiletry assortment

What are the alternatives?

First of all, don’t be tricked by mini travel versions of products that are already under 100ml in full size! Miniature toothpaste can cost up to 50% more, but many of the original full versions are only 100ml, so can go in hand luggage anyway! If your favourite products are over 100ml, unfortunately, you can’t take the full-size bottles, even if there is only 100ml of liquid measured left inside. The best alternative to expensive travel-size toiletries is using cheap reusable containers, within the correct measurements, which will allow you to decant what you need from budget-friendly, full-size bottles.

Environmentally friendly, purse-friendly reusables

Reusable containers can help save the planet and save you money at the same time. Win-win! You can get 100ml bottles from Wilko from just 50p, or sets of multiple smaller 50ml bottles from Sainsbury’s or Primark for less than £2. If you’re on a tight budget already, our short term loans may be able to bridge the financial gap, over a short period of time.

How can you save money if you’ve already purchased miniature toiletries?

If you’ve already bought mini versions, don’t worry, you can still save money and be eco-friendly by reusing them in the future! Just because the rule is 100ml doesn’t mean you have to purchase the products at that size, but if you have, you can continue to use the bottles for your future holidays by refilling from full-size versions.


Now you know our top travel tip to save money on your holiday toiletries, our Love to Shop vouchers could make budgeting even easier for you as you prepare for your trip.
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