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Cost of living crisis: Top tips to save money when travelling

Cost of living crisis KIGALI, RWANDA - JUNE 24: Toiletries inside a bedroom area ready to accommodate asylum seekers as seen inside Hope Hostel on June 24, 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda. Hope Hostel is set to host asylum seekers sent from the UK in the coming weeks. An initial £120 million deal between the Rwandan and UK governments was agreed by UK Home Secretary on a recent visit to the hostel that will see refugees who arrive in the UK illegally flown to Rwanda for processing and re-settling. (Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images)
Cost of living crisis: Some hotels and Airbnb rentals will provide toiletries. Photo: Luke Dray/Getty (Luke Dray via Getty Images)

Flights are vanishing from the schedules amid the travel chaos but that isn't stopping travellers from booking a holiday even as the cost of living bites.

For those getting on a plane this summer, being crafty with travel toiletries can help you save. Here are some top tips from consumer group Which? on how to save money on travel toiletries.

1. Decant regular toiletries into small bottles

Holidaymakers could avoid paying for mini toiletries altogether by making their own instead.

Which? suggests decanting regular-sized toiletries into smaller bottles, which can then be taken through security.

Reusable toiletry bottles can be bought cheaply, for example, a set of seven empty travel bottles is £1 at Poundland — or you could reuse old ones to avoid the added cost and help protect the environment.

2. Get toiletries delivered to the airport

Those wanting to take toiletries that are larger than 100ml on holiday with them could use a click-and-collect service to get them delivered to an airport branch of Boots.


Read more: Cost of living crisis: Top tips to cut costs on holiday

These can be picked up after passing through security. Customers can order and pay online but the must remember to place the order three days in advance and to choose the date of their flight as the pickup date.

Check whether there is a Boots at the airport by using its store locator online. They can be found at several UK airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Manchester.

Boots’ click and collect service costs £1.50 for a spend less than £15 — otherwise, it's free.

Which? looked at the prices of some of the most popular toiletry brands, comparing the price of the miniature with the full-sized version in the same shop. List: Which?
Which? looked at the prices of some of the most popular toiletry brands, comparing the price of the miniature with the full-sized version in the same shop. Image: Which?

3. Buy abroad and/or share the cost

If travelling in a group, you could buy your toiletries when you arrive at your chosen destination and share — rather than buying individually.

Consider coordinating and sharing full-sized items. For instance, one person buys the sun cream, while someone else brings toothpaste.

If one member of the group is taking a bag for the hold, consider splitting the cost of full-sized toiletries to go in their bag.

In its price analysis, Which? found that a full-sized Dove body wash, costing £1.15, was cheaper than the travel-sized version, which cost £1.50. In the case of the Tresemmé Moisture Rich Conditioner, the miniature 100ml size was £1.50, nearly five times the cost per 100ml for the full-sized product.

4. Use shampoo bars and solid toothpaste

Many brands now offer shampoo and conditioner bars. They are easy to travel with as they don't count as a liquid, gel or aerosol and won't need placing in a see-through bag to pass through security.

Read more: Cost of living crisis: 10 top tips to save money on eating out

It's also possible to buy things such as solid toothpaste and deodorant sticks, which won't count towards your liquids allowance either. These kinds of products are growing in popularity as they often use less packaging and may be more sustainable.

5. Earn or spend loyalty points

Supermarkets and beauty stores that offer holiday-sized toiletries often have loyalty schemes, allowing customers to earn points on what they spend. People who tend to spend a lot of money at the same shops throughout the year might have enough points to get their toiletries for free.

ARLINGTON, VA - NOVEMBER 21: A traveler waits in the security line holding a plastic bag with liquid necessities at Reagan National Airport November 21, 2006 in Arlington, Virginia. Some travelers will try to beat the rush on the busiest travel day of the year which is the day before Thanksgiving.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Liquid, gels or aerosols carried in hand-luggage must be under 100ml and placed in a see-through bag to pass through security. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty (Mark Wilson via Getty Images)

6. Check if your hotel provides toiletries

Some hotels and Airbnb (ABNB) rentals provide shampoo, conditioner and shower gel for guests.

See if you can find out whether they offer these products before you go so you don’t buy products you won’t need.

It can also be worth keeping the bottles to reuse for your own liquids in the future, as they’re often travel-sized and many hotels will just throw them away when you leave.

7. Use cashback sites and reward cards

Cashback offers a way to make a percentage of money back on your purchases — whether that's using a cashback debit or credit card, or shopping via online cashback sites such as Quidco and TopCashback.

Read more: Travel insurance: The 10 mistakes stopping you from getting a payout

If you make purchases with a cashback credit card, just remember to pay back your full balance each month to avoid cashback gains being wiped out by interest charges.

8. Get rewarded for recycling your toiletries

After returning from holiday, check if empty bottles can be recycled before throwing them away, as some retailers offer vouchers for empty beauty products. For example, John Lewis has a "BeautyCycle" scheme, where customers can get £5 off their next purchase for bringing five or more empty beauty products to a branch and showing their My John Lewis card.

Lush has a "Bring It Back" scheme offering 50p off your next purchase for returning qualifying, empty, full-sized Lush products. The Boots Recycle scheme offers up to 250 Advantage card points, worth £2.50, for putting five empty products in its in-store recycling bins. However, shoppers also need to make a purchase of at least £10 to qualify for the extra points.

Watch: Airline refunds: What are your rights as a consumer?