Travelling on a budget is harsh on the number of objects you can stick into your luggage (or backpack). Your travel skincare routine has to get down to real, multi-purpose products that work if you are a female budget traveller as I am.

I never talk about my skincare routine (except for some stories on Instagram), but it is an essential part of my life, and I want to do all I can to preserve my natural features for as long as possible.

The truth is that, we all age. But it is up to us to choose how we age.

Nowadays, the industry of skincare is one of the most profitable worldwide, and women from around the world are testing everything they can get their hands on.

I don’t approve of this mindless consumerism of anything, especially of toxic products for me or for the environment.

I’m always trying to keep a balance between how much I buy, trying not to waste money on products, because I can use that money to travel longer and always researching the best products and practices to keep my body healthy and younger.

That’s why I want to share some real tips on what products to buy as part of your travel skincare routine, how to choose them and how to use them. All while still being able to travel on a budget.

So first of all, why is budget travelling an obstacle for your regular skincare routine?

Travelling on a budget requires travelling with less stuff. Most of the times, the cheapest plane ticket means no handbag or laptop bag. Budget travel means travelling light.

I talked about travelling light many times before, so I’m not going to go into that right now. But, as you have guessed it, travelling light means you won’t be able to carry all your face creams and products along.

When planning a trip or packing, think about the size and the number of containers.

Travelling with only a carry-on means that you will not be allowed with any recipient over 100ml and all the creams/serums/water-based products have to fit a 1L plastic bag.

So unless it is truly necessary to carry along with me, I buy the stuff that is easier to find (and cheaper) at my destination. But this is the last resort measure.

My objectives are to travel light and to stay on a budget. That means to use what I already have and not spend extra when I don’t have to.

The travel skincare routine of a female budget traveller

After testing at home numerous face creams and products combinations, I have an idea of what the skincare routine essentials are for me.

I am no expert in skincare and I do not pretend to be one!

Please consider this guide to be an inspiration for you when you choose and pack for your next trip, more than a skincare routine product guide!

I believe we are each different and each skin is different.

Yes, there are products are many women from all around the world love. But that doesn’t mean that your skin will love it too. The best way of knowing is to ask a dermatologist and to test some products and see how your skin reacts.

Also, as a reference, I have a normal to dry skin and just starting my 30s.

So this is my travel skincare routine for dry skin and the steps I use in my routine.

While travelling, I try to keep hydrated as much as possible. I also avoid oily, salty, or too sweet snacks. I keep my hair tied to avoid having it on my face and cause any outbreaks.

I try to keep my hands away from my face and to wash my hands as often as possible.

Evening Travel Skincare Routine

Make-up removal

When I travel, I try to wear make-up only when I arrive at the location, not while travelling (on the plane/bus/train).

I might be one of the last females alive to have discovered the micellar water, but I’m so glad I did.

I usually buy a big bottle to last me longer and because buying bigger sizes is cheaper and reduces plastic pollution. That’s why I put some micellar water into a smaller container (plastic or glass old serum bottle), so I can take it with me.

I use Bioderma Sensibio H2O micellar water and I will never go back to anything else! I even bought it for my mother.

Cleansing

Cleansing is so important when travelling, and I need to make sure I have just the right product.

But if I am away for just a couple of days, then I try to improvise and use the normal soap from the hotel. It’s not the best option, but it works for a few days, if I apply hydrating products afterwards (which I always carry with me, because I have a normal to dry skin and travelling makes it even dryer).

So I either bring a small soap bar with me if I know I will be staying somewhere where there is no soap, or I put some of my cleansing product into a smaller recipient. Of course, the normal size of what I buy is usually too large for a carry-on.

My go-to cleanser is CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser, but I also like CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser for dry skin.

So, if you have enough space in your already cramped backpack or carry-on, then pour some of this cleanser into a smaller recipient.

Serums

After I clean my face, I dump it up with some water (at home I prefer thermal water, but there’s no way to get a spray with you on a plane). I use normal tap water for that.

Then I use a Hyaluronic Acid and massage my face as well as I can. I’m trying to delay any wrinkles on my face for as long as possible and massaging the face helps. You don’t need any fancy equipment, your hands will do.

I like to use The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, which can be used both in the evenings and in the mornings (I’m all about multi-purpose).

Night Cream

I don’t usually bring along any oil-based serum when I travel, because I rely on a hydrating face cream, which I can use both in the evening and morning (before applying make-up).

I use CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM (the PM version).

I use this in the evening, and then I also use it during the day, after which I add another SPF cream, to make sure I am protected. There’s also the AM version of this lotion, which has SPF, but I feel like 25/30 SPF is not enough.

Morning Travel Skincare Routine

Cleansing

Over the years, I have developed the habit of always keeping my face clean and using less make-up. That’s why I am so invested in using products that work and do good to my skin.

I use the same cleanser as I do in the evenings, CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser, or I just use the normal soap if I’m on a shorter trip and didn’t pack the cleanser in a smaller container.

Serum

I’m always trying to ‘feed’ to my skin all the goodies, and I add a serum into the mix. I use the same The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, or The Ordinary Buffet can also be used if you have that one already bought and you like it.

Day cream

It always depends on your skin and your destination to determine which is the level of hydration you need.

But generally speaking, I use a cream for my skin type (normal to dry skin), and it’s the same one I use at night.

That’s why I recommend the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM. I apply it all over my face and neck, and even on my hands if necessary. If your face isn’t dry and it’s hot outside, maybe you can skip this step (or use a lighter face cream, although I find this light enough) in the travel skincare routine.

SPF Day Cream

No matter if it’s winter or summer, SPF day cream should be on your list of products when travelling.

I confess that I use only one SPF product in winter, and that’s usually the foundation, but in summer, I apply more products and try to aim to have at least one product with SPF 50.

What I really like right now is Bioderma Photoderm AR SPF50+, which is a bit like a tinted face cream, but you can barely see the colour. I use the light version, but the colour is almost non-existent. They also have tinted free options.

Other options I’ve tried and liked are: Bioderma  Photoderm Aquafluide Natural SPF50, Bioderma Cicabio SPF 50+

Make-up

After all this, I can finally apply my make-up. I won’t get into that too much, as you all have an already established make-up routine and it really depends for each one of us.

But I want to mention that I also try to use a non-comedogenic and an SPF foundations formulas, but again this is different for each one of us.

I use Vichy Dermablend SPF35. This is only a suggestion, and I really don’t want to get tanned or accentuate any spots on my face. So I will always choose the SPF options.


This is the skincare routine that I have in my 30s when travelling.

I try to bring to the minimum the number of products I use, but also to choose the products that benefit me the most.

Again, please remember that these products may not work for your skin type, especially if you have any other skin condition or skin type. I have a normal to dry skin and nothing more than an occasional pimple on my chin or forehead (Because I sometimes forget keep my dirty hands away from my face).

I hope this helps and serves as a starting point in building your own travel skincare routine. Don’t skip any of the skincare routine steps if you want a clean and radiant face, but make sure to choose the appropriate skincare routine products for your type of skin.

As we grow older, there are fine lines that appear on our faces each year, with every trip we take and every mile we walk in the sun. So always wear sunscreen and try to avoid the sun. Try to wear hats and clothes that protect your body from the sun, and you will have a younger-looking skin for longer.

What’s you travel skincare routine?

Save this for later!

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a traveller and her obsession started in her teenage years. Her aim is to discover as much as possible from this world and to inspire others to do the same! The ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth is travelling and this is what she discovered after years of depression. Now she shares her stories here. Describing experiences for others who might need them.

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