Searching for travel-size sunscreen

It really shouldn’t be that hard, but finding the right travel-size sunscreen is one of my least favorite things to do before a trip. Though it’s often more cost-effective to go for the larger bottle, sometimes all I need is a small tube for a quick beach trip or weekend getaway.

Unfortunately, my local drugstore never seems to have the size I need in the brand that I prefer. Yes, you can easily find a 1 oz. tube of Banana Boat SPF 30 on for 90 cents, but shipping is $4.67. No, thanks.

So I find it refreshing to learn that last month, Neutrogena rolled out a men’s line with 1.7 oz. sizes. (See the black tube in the center of the photo). I’m told there are plans to add even more travel-size versions of its skincare products by the fall. Small innovations, but a surprisingly big help when it comes to last-minute packing. Since a 1 oz. tube doesn’t last long enough and a 3 oz. bottle hogs all the space in a Ziploc bag (how can anything else fit?), I welcome the happy medium of 2 oz. or 2.5 oz tubes. And if these travel-size sunscreen tubes become easier to find at the drugstore, perhaps I can finally stop my hoarding.

Other travel-size sunscreen solutions

Find reliable D.I.Y. containers
I usually end up filling up a travel-size container with sunscreen (lately I’ve been using these squishy GoToob bottles). But I know it’s just a matter of time until the contents explode in my carry-on bag.

Consider sunscreen sticks or sunblock wipes
I’m not a huge fan of sunscreen sticks or sunblock wipes (so far), but I’ve resorted to packing them in a pinch. To be fair, I think I could grow to appreciate these travel-friendly products, especially whenever I end up with a spilled bottle of sunblock all over my stuff.

Buy your sunscreen on arrival
After running out of sunblock, who hasn’t shelled out for an overpriced bottle? Save yourself the trouble of packing a travel-size tube and just plan to pick up a bottle at the drugstore once you get off the plane. Just don’t be surprised if the $8 bottle at home now costs double. Justify it this way: Is buying some toiletries at your destination still cheaper than paying the checked luggage fee?

Mooch off someone.
You’re either the ultimate cheapskate, or you’ve cleverly worked out an arrangement with your travel partner(s). “You bring the sunblock; I’ve got the toothpaste.” Personally, I don’t mind sharing my sunblock, but I’ve noticed that some people can be very picky about the SPF (30 or 100?) or sunscreen formula (sport, waterproof, sweat-proof, scentless, no-grease, etc…). Ok, so maybe I’m one of those people.

Got any other sunscreen tricks?
I’m all ears.

[Image Credit: Amy Chen]