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What Are the Different Types of Travel Mirrors?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Travel mirrors vary in their size, shape and type. Compact mirrors are often round with a clam shell style that features a back hinge, front opening, and two plastic or metal frames each containing a mirror. Some of these are self folding with a slide out mechanism. There may be a regular mirror as well as a magnifying version in compacts, while only a single one in a slide out folding variety. Some travel mirrors are used flat, while others have stands or hangers that fold down to save packing space.

Some travel mirror designs are versatile with a thinner metal section that may be used as a stand on a bathroom counter or as a hanger in a shower. Shower travel mirrors may have suction cups to adhere them to the tile or other wall surface. These are often used by men for shaving while showering. A fogless feature on this type of travel mirror makes it practical for this purpose. The frames are usually made of lightweight plastic that fold down compactly for traveling.

A woman looking in a travel mirror.
A woman looking in a travel mirror.

Some counter top mirrors also fold down. These may have an extending metal arm piece that allows the user to adjust the reach of the mirror. Most counter top travel mirrors have one side with a regular reflection and the other with a magnified one. Magnifying mirrors are often excellent for close-up tasks such as eyebrow tweezing. These double-sided travel mirrors with folding stands are usually one of the larger kinds of travel mirror.

Compact mirrors are generally the smallest mirrors with which to travel.
Compact mirrors are generally the smallest mirrors with which to travel.

Compact mirrors are typically the smallest of the travel types. Their two halves that close with a center hinge allow double the mirror size in half the space. While many compact travel mirror styles are round, others are in novelty shapes such as hearts. Many compact mirrors are housed in a solid plastic or metal case, while some feature decorative designs on the top such as flower or butterfly motifs.

Camping mirrors are often frameless, unbreakable and flat. The smaller versions of these may be added to a backpack when the emphasis is on traveling light. Most camping travel mirrors are rectangular and include a hole at the top or a hanging feature. An acrylic surface gives camping travel mirrors their unbreakable characteristic.

Fold-out mirrors usually have a metal part at the bottom of both a plastic cover and the framed mirror section. The mirror can then be accessed by pulling the top out to the side. Some plastic-framed travel mirrors don't have covers but are simply carried as is or in an envelope-like case or small drawstring cloth bag.

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Discussion Comments


I always take a little collapsible mirror with me when I go camping. I know what you are probably thinking, why would you need a mirror when go you camping? Who cares how you look?

It is not so much that I care how I look. I just like to be able to get clean and the only way to do that is to be able to check your face. Plus, you can always use the mirror as a signaling device if you have to.


A friend of mine just bought a travel make up mirror. It has lights around the outside just like a normal make up mirror but it is small enough to fit into luggage easily.

We took a trip together and she let me use it a few times. It was really nice to have. The lighting in hotel bathrooms can be so bad sometimes. You don't really know how you look walking out of your room. Having that travel lighted make up mirror meant that I could get the look that I wear at home doing it up in front of my own mirror.


I have a little travel shaving mirror that I always take with me. You never know when you are going to need to shave, or just need a mirror, and not have one.

It is only a few inches square but it fits easily into my toiletries bag.

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    • A woman looking in a travel mirror.
      By: Jakub Jirsák
      A woman looking in a travel mirror.
    • Compact mirrors are generally the smallest mirrors with which to travel.
      By: Popova Olga
      Compact mirrors are generally the smallest mirrors with which to travel.