The Simple Straw Hack That Makes Traveling With Liquids Even Easier

There's an art to packing, especially if you're traveling with a carry-on and adhering to TSA's limitations on liquids, gels, and aerosols. Anything greater than 3.4 ounces, or 100 milliliters, is out of the question in your carry-on bag. The struggle is that many travel essentials are liquids, and so travelers have to get inventive with ways to pack what they need in their carry-ons without having anything taken away by airport security. Fun fact: You can actually get some of your TSA items back if they've been taken away. Nevertheless, it's best to be on top of packing ahead of time, so that you don't run into any snags at the airport. 

Keeping this in mind, we've sourced several hacks to better pack your toiletries and essentials. There's one travel essential that makes packing makeup a breeze. There's also a brilliant plastic wrap trick to keep toiletries from spilling in your luggage. Thankfully, we've found another gem of a hack that both prevents spills and keeps you under the TSA limit for carry-ons. Using plastic straws and a few other household tools, you can create your own single-use containers for liquids.

Turn plastic straws into single-use toiletry tubes

What you'll need for this travel hack are plastic straws, a pair of pliers, and a lighter. You'll also benefit from a marker so that you can label the straws. While plastic straws are notoriously hard on the environment, this is a good way to recycle straws that you've already used so that they serve more than one purpose. In the weeks leading up to your trip, save plastic straws from your drinks and wash them out. Take one end of the plastic straw, pinch it closed with pliers, and seal it by melting it with the lighter. Then cut the tube so that it's about 4 inches long. Fill it with the products that you need on your trip, such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, face moisturizer, and face wash. 

For thicker consistencies like toothpaste, it's often easier to use a wider straw, like a milkshake straw. Or you can use a syringe to fill a narrower straw. Tap the straw on a countertop as you go in order to collect the product at the bottom for easier filling. Leave a little space at the top of the straw, and once it's full enough, pinch the other end with tweezers to seal it with the lighter. Take a marker and label each straw container so that you know what you have. Or, use a color-coded system; blue straws mean conditioner, pink straws are face wash, etc.

How to mindfully use plastic straws for packing

In an effort to take care of the environment and lessen individual waste, this hack works best if you're reusing straws. A pipe cleaner or a straw cleaning brush can give a used straw new life. Plus, since you're cutting the straw into small, 4-inch segments, you'll get a lot of life out of the recycled straw. Think of it as Pixy Stix candy, just with your toiletries inside. Once you arrive at your destination, use a small pair of scissors or small clippers, like cuticle clippers, to open the straws. You can also use the same method to secure bobby pins while traveling. 

Recycled plastic straws are also useful when packing delicate necklaces that would otherwise get tangled. Thread the necklace through the straw and then clasp it shut so that the chain can't interlace with other necklaces in your luggage. You can also use a straw to cover your razor head by cutting a 2-inch piece of straw and then cutting the straw open. Slide the straw over your razor to keep the blades from cutting and catching on other items.