Skip the Travel Size: How to Save 66% or More on Travel Toothpaste
Sometimes the obvious just hits you, and you can’t imagine why you hadn’t seen the answer before.That's what happened to me recently while shopping for travel supplies to take on a business trip. Turns out, I’ve been spending at least 66% too much on a basic travel supply for years.
The product? Toothpaste.
We all need to deal with oral hygiene on the road, just as we do at home. The problem is, toothpaste isn’t exactly something that’s cost effective to purchase in a travel size, and decanting is problematic. Smack dab in the middle of the dental aisle at my local Walmart, a simple solution hit me. It cost roughly 66% less than the option I had been using, and once I grabbed hold of the idea, I started thinking about other ways to save. (See also: Vacation Hack: 7 Tips for Single-Bag Travel)
Kiddy-Size Toothpaste Is Better Than Travel Size
This was actually the light bulb moment that inspired it all.
As luck would have it, the aisle where the travel-sized supplies are located is the same as the main toothpaste aisle. Since I had started with my cart at the other end, I had already noticed the children’s sized toothpaste options — and their price of 97 cents — near the full-sized adult selection. So when I got to the travel amenities bins and saw the same price for a smaller, roughly one-ounce tube, I immediately backed up to check the amount of product in the children’s tubes. I knew it was a cheaper solution, but would it meet the TSA carry-on standards for liquid toiletries? Indeed it did. Just less than three ounces, which was basically triple the amount of the smaller tubes further down the aisle for the same price. Score!
It’s important to note a few things about this option, should you choose to embrace the savings potential. First, if you are extremely limited on space, the smaller, more expensive tube may still be what you go for. But for most people on a 2-3 day excursion, there’s room to purchase the slightly larger, money-saving size. Also, depending on the store, it may be a challenge to find one that doesn’t sparkle or taste like bubble gum. We are talking kiddy paste, after all. I have noticed upon further research that Dollar Tree has the just-less-than-three-ounce tubes of plain white peppermint paste for a buck, if you find you just can’t embrace the child-approved flavor options. Dollar Tree, incidentally, is one of my favorite places to buy cheap travel supplies.
Travel Dental Kits Can Also Be Frugal
If the three-ounce tubes are still too large for your needs, another frequent item in the travel amenities bins is the dental kit, which includes one of the one-ounce tubes, a clear zippered storage bag, and a new, name-brand toothbrush. At my neighborhood department store, the price for these is also 97 cents, which is the same as both the three-ounce kiddy tube and the travel-sized toothpaste tube when purchased on its own. This is markedly less than you would spend even for a name-brand toothbrush sold separately, and it also gives you a see-through container you can reuse to carry things like flat-packed first aid supplies. Definitely a bargain.
Castile Soap Provides Extreme Penny-Pinching Potential
When you are packing for special events or a remote adventure, having multipurpose beauty products and hygiene items can mean the difference between overpacking and remaining within carry-on limitations. That’s when a bar of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap can come in handy. In a pinch, it can be used to suds up your toothbrush and clean your teeth, providing a flavor that is far more preferable to shampoo or regular bar soap if you...umm...say...travel to a remote national park and forget to pack your paste. (Just trust me on this one.) If you already purchase this type of item for skin care and hair cleansing, then using it instead of toothpaste actually provides you a solution that comes at no extra cost whatsoever.
Dehydrated Toothpaste Dots Travel Easy
Rather than spend big bucks on expensive tooth powders to avoid the TSA liquid drama, consider these DIY dehydrated toothpaste dots. Prepared in advance and stored in bulk, they can be a space-saving option for those times when you are opting for an extreme travel adventure when every ounce and inch is at a premium. Since you can make these with the larger, more cost-effective tubes of toothpaste you already purchase for home use, incorporating this strategy essentially eliminates the cost of travel-sized toothpaste altogether.
Carry Toothpaste in a Contact Lens Case
I’ll be honest. Most decanting solutions I’ve tried for travel toothpaste over the years have been complete debacles. Insufficient size on the transfer openings and leakage have made transferring toothpaste into smaller containers something I avoid. Which is why I was so glad to receive this hot tip from the folks at Wandering Educators — contact lens cases. Brilliant!
Since these pack flat, are designed to be leak proof, and come in a double pack for a buck at my local dollar store, they are my new go-to solution for paste-like products. Workable for everything from toothpaste and eye gel to diaper ointment and triple antibiotic ointment, their size makes extreme packing much easier.
Controlling costs on toiletries and travel cosmetics can contribute greatly to meeting your desired vacation price point. These travel tips for toothpaste assist in that endeavor.