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What Are the Different Types of Travel Bottles?

By Bethany Keene
Updated: May 23, 2024

Many people don't wish to take full-size versions of toiletries, medications, or other items when they are traveling, so they purchase smaller travel bottles to carry these items instead. There are a number of different types of travel bottles available to store these different items in, featuring different types of caps for convenience. Though they are also available in many different sizes, it is important to check airline regulations before attempting to carry any bottles on a plane; they generally need to be under a certain size and stored in a clear plastic bag if they will be carried on as liquids, otherwise the airline staff at the gate will simply throw the items away.

The most common types of travel bottles are simply small, clear plastic bottles that will be able to store a few ounces of liquid, such as shampoo, conditioner, or body wash, among others. Most have simple twist-off or snap-off caps, but are designed not to crack or come open with heavier use, such as when a bag is stored in a plane. Other types of travel bottles are available as well for storing different types of liquids; these include spray bottles, pump bottles such as those used for hand soap, or bottles with a dropper or squirt top. Squeeze bottles are also available.

For items such as medication or vitamins, small plastic jars exist as well. These may come with childproof lids, or lids that are easier to remove for people who have trouble with twist-off caps. If traveling internationally, however, is is better to keep medications in their original packages together with any relevant prescriptions. It is also important never to mix different kinds of pills in the same container.

Though all these different types of travel bottles may be purchased individually, it is also possible to buy them in kits, which will come with numerous bottles in different sizes and styles. These are often designed to be ready for airline travel, and may even come with the standard sized plastic bag to store them in if they will be carried on the plane. Keep in mind that these size regulations generally do not apply to bags that will be checked.

Travel bottles exist for other purposes as well, such as holding beverages. These are typically also made of sturdy plastic or aluminum, and are often now free of bisphenol-A, or BPA, which is a concern in some plastic bottles. Travel versions of baby bottles exist as well. Larger bottles can typically only be taken on airplanes if they are empty, but they may certainly be used for other types of travel, and are better for the environment than constantly purchasing new bottles of water.

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Discussion Comments
By irontoenail — On Jul 25, 2014

If you want a designer water bottle for travel, make sure you get one that is going to be worth the price. There are some bottles that look very fancy, but are actually quite slippery to hold and aren't particularly convenient to fill either.

Then you have the ones that leak chemicals into the water if they are exposed to sunshine, and the ones that encourage bacteria to breed around the rim.

If you are going to be drinking questionable water, you might want to look at bottles that have UV sterilization incorporated into their design, or at least making sure that you've got more than one bottle so that one can be left with water to be cleaned with iodine while you drink from the other.

A water bottle can be a valuable travel accessory or it can be a hindrance. For something so important you really want to make sure you get the right kind.

By Mor — On Jul 25, 2014

@browncoat - Generally you shouldn't take bottles on a flight anyway. I think the safety standards are kind of ridiculous myself, but I never pack anything now that won't fit in either a very tiny bottle, or in a clear plastic bag.

It's just not worth the hassle at customs. I've been made to go and check a bag because I had a tiny snow-globe in my carry-on that they said was over the regulation amount of liquid. I'd rather not take any chances.

By browncoat — On Jul 24, 2014

If you aren't using a hard shell suitcase, I'd go with screw-top bottles rather than ones that can pop open, or spray bottles. I've done a fair bit of traveling and no matter how well you pack bottles will somehow work themselves open and spread all over your stuff if you aren't careful.

It can actually be kind of dangerous as well. I was once on a bus that was stopped by police searching for drug smugglers and the dogs were interested in my bag because of a spilled bottle of something from my toilet kit.

Nothing happened but it was a very tense moment to be hauled off the bus to identify my bag. And the same thing could happen at an airport where a delay might cost you a flight.

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