Well duh, size and shape. Well OK. Travel size bottles thus the name. They must be TSA approved, which means that they should exceed a certain size of 3.4 ounces (100 ml.)
The reason why so many organizations tout travel size bottles as the’student friendly’ variety is because students are always on the move and are thus required by the schools to take along their personal toiletries – that include everything from their shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste, to moisturizer, lotion and shave gel. Most brands of travel size bottles meet the standard requirements for these requirements but there are a few that do not, such as the Revlon colorsealer. There are also other companies like Aquavita that make travel size bottles that are approved for airline travel, but they do not have the same security clearance as toiletry bottles. So don’t assume that just because the label says ‘travel size’, it’s actually going to fit in your luggage.
Now onto the features of travel size bottles. First, they can’t break or explode and that’s a good thing. It’s a well-known fact that liquids that explode or leak are very dangerous to swallow. That’s another reason why we always recommend looking at the reviews of a product before you buy: what do other consumers think about it?
Also travel size bottles are more durable than toiletry bottles, which can be very bad news if you drop them and break your teeth on them. But here’s the real kicker: how do they fare in the ocean, specifically salt water, where corrosive chemicals and microorganisms are a constant threat? Believe it or not, they’re even better than regular liquids! Regular liquids won’t last very long against seawater, and toiletry bottles can easily corrode in high pressure. But regular liquids just won’t cut it when it comes to cleaning up a spill. Sprinklers and jet wash chemicals can also damage regular liquids and they often come out more sticky than they were when you poured them in the first place.
Travel size bottles are also very convenient because they often come in ‘extenders’ so that you can take them on longer trips. This means you won’t have to carry a whole lot more than you would with a large travel toiletry bag, and it makes packing light an easier task. In fact, it’s sometimes easier to pack a small bottle than a large one. And it’s much easier to carry a small bottle than several extra larger ones.
Most travel size bottles also come in re-sealable bags. This is good news for those who use liquids like nail polish and lip balm often because these liquids can be messy if left in their original containers. These re-seals make it easy to take the liquids out of the bottle without having to re-cork it. Not all brands, but the best travel bottles do come with this option, so look for a brand that includes it.
The third advantage to re-sealed travel toiletry bottles is the ease with which you can grab them and open up the tops without having to worry about damaging the seal. Many brands have cap-locking mechanisms that lock the lid closed until you’re ready to open it. Others allow you to lift the cap just enough so that the seal can be removed without damaging it. If you only need the cap removed for short trips, this might be fine; if you travel regularly and want to open the tops of your bottles and containers frequently, this feature is definitely worth considering.
Finally, the best bottle for travel is the travel size bottle with an expanded lid. These bottles are easier to carry than regular sized ones because they don’t have the narrow necks of regular bottles. Some brands have expandable lids, but many don’t. Either way, you’ll be able to carry a lot more liquid toiletries if you use one of these. And you’ll have room for more once you get the carry-on bag.