The Ikea Trollfjorden – the best deal on the perfect travel toiletries bag?

I’ll be honest with you – I love Ikea. I love their $4.99 Swedish meatball platter, I love their kitchen accessories and my daughter loves their toys. Of course, I am still a European at heart, so perhaps there is something genetic about enjoying a trip to the local big blue box.

One of my favorite parts of a trip to Ikea is finding bargains I had not expected to find – like my find of the week – the Ikea toiletries bag. I’ve been on a quest for the ideal toiletries bag for some time, but until now I had never found the perfect solution. That was, until I picked up a Trollfjorden.

Why is the Trollfjorden the ideal travel toiletries bag? Well, for starters there is the name – like most other Ikea products, this thing got a killer name. But the best part is the size – unlike other bags, this one is thin and wide – making it perfect for packing. In addition to this, it isn’t too big – especially since most of us need to pack our wet items in a separate bag anyway (thanks TSA).

The Trollfjorden has five large mesh pockets, a zippered organizer and a hidden hook. Nothing more, and nothing less. It comes in black and red, and at a penny under $5, it is my travel bargain of the month. You’ll need to make a trip to your local Ikea to pick one up, because it is not available for online ordering, but that just gives you an excuse to have meatballs for lunch, doesn’t it?

Luggage liquid limitations to end – but only in Europe, and not till 2013

The European Union has committed to lifting the current restrictions on liquids carried by air passengers no later than April 2013.

It was back in 2006 when security staff at London Heathrow UK police foiled a terror attempt that planned to use liquids stored in hand luggage to blow up a plane – and since then, travelers have been limited in how much they can carry on a plane.

The rules have been a major hassle for everyone (except the makers of travel size toiletries). Thankfully, Europeans only have to deal with the rules for three more years, which is when airports should have the necessary equipment to detect liquid explosives. Once the rules are lifted, all liquids will once again be allowed in carry-on luggage.

Hopefully the next development will be a reliable shoe bomb scanner, because once we can keep our shoes on, and our toiletries in our bags, travel will be one step closer to how it was before the terrorists screwed things up for us.%Gallery-76818%

Collect hotel toiletries – Souvenir tip

It may seem strange, but something as simple as some hotel toiletries can be the best souvenir.

I still have my Mickey Mouse soap from the Old Key West Resort in Disney World, monoi oil from the Sheraton at Tahiti, and love using the spa quality Honey Mango Body Lotion from the Grand Wailea in Maui.

You don’t have to feel like you’re stealing as hotels want you to take those toiletries in your room, so you’ll remember the great time you had at their hotel. Plus, you paid for it in your room rate.

Don’t forget toiletries – Packing tip

On the morning of a trip, I keep my toiletry bag with me as I get dressed. After I use each item that morning, I simply drop each into the bag.

This eliminates my taking things that I probably will not need — and makes sure basics like my eyebrow pencil or my toothbrush is not left behind.

Before I zip the bag, I can always add in a few extras, drop in my jewelry pill box, and that bag has almost packed itself!

Gadling gear review – humangear GoToob

Regular readers will know that I’m a sucker for a good gadget. Granted, most of the stuff that grabs my attention is battery operated, and has at least one button.

So, it takes a pretty smart gadget to impress me if it doesn’t beep, buzz or blend.

The humangear GoToob is such a gadget. This little tube is designed to hold your liquids when you are on the road. Sure, the concept may sound really simple, but humangear did an amazing job of such a simple task.

The GoToob bottles are available in 1.08oz and 2oz sizes and are made of silicone rubber. The bottles feature a wide opening, which means you can fill them from a larger bottle, without spilling expensive products all over your sink. Since they use silicone in the bottle, they are BPA free (a big issue nowadays) and they are even FDA approved for food use. When placed in a correct baggie, they are also TSA approved.

The innovation doesn’t end there – each bottle features a special no-drip valve, similar to what you’ll find in some plastic ketchup bottles. The 2oz GoToob even comes with a suction cup integrated in the bottle, which means you can stick it on the shower wall and use it as a shampoo dispenser.

But wait – there is more! The bottles feature a nifty ID window, making it easy to determine whether you picked up the shampoo or the conditioner. The window has markings for shampoo, conditioner, soap, sunscreen, lotion and “…” if you bring something else.

The bottles cost just under $6 for the small and $7 for the medium. As I said – it usually takes a lot to impress me in a gadget, but the GoToob is just too smart to ignore. I used to buy travel size toiletries all the time (Target must love me!) but now I’m going to switch to GoToob’s and simply fill them with “real” products from home.

You’ll find GoToobs at or through one of the retailers listed at