Farewell to Mini Toiletries

I can remember when I first saw mini toiletries bottles in a hotel.

It would have been 1998 at Great Keppel Island, off the coast of Queensland.

20 years later I have started to notice more and more hotels are replacing them with pump shampoo and soap dispensers.

Its a great environmental move as there must have been billions of the bottles made every year. all to be then thrown away.

Taking Them Home

Did you take some home with you when you left the hotel?

I certainly did at the start.

Like most frequent travellers I rapidly acquired a large bowl of them in our guest bathroom.

For the last few years I have rarely bothered with them.

I like to keep a mini bottle of shampoo and a small tablet of soap in my toilet bag in case I find myself staying in a very cheap hotel, or to last me for the first night in a basic Airbnb.

Is it Worth Taking Them?

Although the contents might be expensive brands, in reality the small quantity of the shampoo, or conditioner means the value is probably only a few cents.

Is it worth taking them home if you run the risk of the bottle coming undone inside your suitcase? . . . I don’t think so.

Remove Old Luggage Stickers

Unless you want to lose your checked luggage!


Forty years ago, and more it wasn’t unusual to see suitcases like this.

I suppose that people regarded it as a harmless status symbol; to show how well travelled they were.

As everything was handled manually at a much slower pace there was less chance of luggage getting redirected.


When you check in a bar code sticker could be placed on your checked in bag.

Sometime there may even be a integrated circuit  chip inside the sticker.

These stickers allow the airports and airlines to run high speed baggage conveyors and sorting systems to get you luggage to its destination.

If you have got an old sticker on your bag then you could find your bag has been sent to your previous destination.

Often a check in agent will ask you to remove stickers, however they may not notice a sticker, or you might use self check in.

Travel Hacks

Before you leave for the Airport:

  • Check your luggage carefully and remove all stickers.
  • Put you own tag on the handle with your name, email address and destination airport. ( add a phone number if you know which phone number you will be using at your destination)
  • Add a sheet of paper to the inside with the above information.

Another Bad Travel Hack

I keep seeing these crazy ideas that don’t actually work such as . . . .

Board the Plane Last

The idea is; you don’t have to get in line and queue, and if the plane is full you might get an upgrade.

Here are three reasons why its a bad idea

Nowhere to put your carry on bag

These days airlines don’t seem to enforce their carry on policies.

That means its likely the luggage lockers near your seat will be full.

If you are really unlucky they will put your carry on in the hold.

You May Not Get On The Flight

Until you have got on the plane you are a candidate to get bumped if theplane is full, or the airline suddenly needs to get crew to another location.

Once you are on the plane these days you are unlikely to be removed. (You may remember United Airlines got a lot of bad publicity when they forcibly removed David Dao Duy Anh, a Vietnamese-American passenger, in 2017)

You’re Not Getting An Upgrade!

I have had many upgrades over the years. . . . . but not one of them was after I boarded.

When it has happened it has been:

  • At check in.
  • At the Airline lounge desk.
  • Called to the gate desk before boarding.
  • As the gate desk as boarding.

Airlines have sophisticated computers and they plan upgrades carefully.

Travel Vest

One thing I wear which helps me carry on more than the Airline’s 7kg is a Travel Vest.

There are several travel vests on the market but the one I use is a ScottEvest which has 24 pockets

Unlike a lot of photographer’s/fisherman’s vests the pockets aren’t really obvious.

The photo gives an indication of the pocket layout.

As well as carrying lots of extra weight it means that, if you put all your loose items in the vest, you can put the vest in the tray and walk through the scanner.

When I go through security, and get on the plane, the vest typically contains:

  • Tablet computer + charger
  • I -Phone + Charger
  • I pod + Cable
  • Power adapter for destination
  • Noise cancelling earbuds
  • Passport
  • Boarding pass
  • Keys
  • Coins
  • Folding umbrella
  • Wallet
  • Pen
  • Mints

It normally weighs 3-4kg!

Do you use a travel vest? . . . . which one?


I haven’t been paid or received any other benefit from this post.

My ‘Go To’ Checked Bag

Although I always have a carry on, which will keep me going for a couple of weeks, I still take a checked bag for long trips.

This enables me to take a few more shirts, and possibly some formal wear if required.

The bag is a Samsonite S’Cure cabin sized spinner case.

It’s only cabin sized so its easy to lift, and a bigger bag just encourages you to take more stuff that’s not really needed

I chose blue, rather than black, so it looks a bit different on the airport carousel.

OK for Long Trips

With this bag and a carry on I recently did 5 weeks around Europe quite easily

That included buying a few shirts and bringing back equipment from a Rotary Conference.

With two smallish bags it was easy to use public transport

I even walked a km from the station to my apartment with the bags.

Overall it saved me a fair bit of money in avoiding taxis or hire cars.

Why Samsonite S’cure

30 years ago I bought 3 Samsonite Oyster cases that have been round the world many times.

Over that time a couple of handles and a wheel have broken but each time Samsonite have provided free replacement parts.

The S’Cure cases are basically an update of the Oyster but spinner cases rather than trolley cases.

There are no zips, just strong latches that won’t spring loose and a waterproof seal between the two halves.

No 2 Carry On

Although the S’cure is carry on size the empty bag at 2.9kg is more than 2kg heavier than my Go To Carry On.

That means to stay within the 7kg weight limit for cabin baggage I can only take around 4kg rather than 6.5kg of contents.

OK for a weekend away but not really enough for a week or more as carry on.


I haven’t been paid or received any other benefit from this post.

Economy Seat Hacks

Flying long haul in economy can be a real trial, but there are some travel hacks you can do to help you get through the journey.

Using the Pillow and or Blanket

The typical airline seat is built for the average person, which doesn’t include me.

If a pillow or blanket is provided you can use it to modify the feel of the seat.

I have used these items to provide additional support to the small of my back.

Sometimes I use them at the seat fold to smooth the transition between the two components .

No pillow or blankets? . . . . you could try a jumper

Adjust the Head Rest

Headrest with wings folded forward

Although most budget airlines seem to have fixed headrests a full service airlines seats will probably have adjustable head rest. . . . although I don’t see many people taking advantage.

The typical headrest can move up and down several cms.

The side wings can also be folded forward to stop your head rolling sideways as you sleep.

Remove the Arm Rest

If you are travelling with a partner, or even if the seat next to you is empty you should be able to lift the arm rest up and out of the way.

When space is limited even a couple of cms can make a difference.