Travel Tips

What To Do With Those Extra Hotel Soaps & Shampoos

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I think even the most seasoned travel veterans can’t resist occasionally taking some of the hotel soaps and amentities home. I’m pretty disciplined now, but for awhile almost every 3*+ hotel I stayed at had better products than I used at home — I think LA Source used to be my favorite.

And then it was, “this travel size will be great for my next trip,” even as my hotel stays quickly overtook my nights at friends.

Park Hyatt Mendoza Kaua Bath Amenities

Even now, traveling internationally, I get sucked in by full size bottles of the wine themed hair products at the Park Hyatt Mendoza or in Bali where they bring fresh Acca Kappa supplies twice a day. And sometimes I can’t resist a particularly nice bar of soap — “this would be great when I have guests.”

In fact, I first got that idea years ago when visiting family friends and saw they thoughtfully had provided high-end, travel size toiletries for my use (and from their recent trips to nice hotels). So that’s definitely one use!

But, as I’m sure you guessed, my collection kept growing faster than I or my guests could use it. Even being highly selective about what I take back with me still left me with a dozen bars of high-end soap and more than a handful of brand new shampoos and conditioners. Not to mention all the mini packages of toothbrushes & tooth pastes that come in airplane amenity kits. It seemed a shame to throw them out, but it was clear I wasn’t going to use them.

That’s when my mom had a brilliant idea — why didn’t I donate them to a local homeless women’s or homeless shelter? Sure enough, I called and they’d be delighted to take any unopened items I might have. So if you too have compiled a collection of unused toiletries you won’t be using, consider taking a minute to drop them off at your nearest shelter.

I found these two national listings of shelters, but if you know of other directories, please let me know in the comments!

Homeless shelters, including a list of accepted donations

Women’s Shelters

Maybe this is a good project for the weekend if you’re not traveling? 🙂

Note: These places only take unopened, unused items. But if you’re debating whether the half used soap or shampoo you leave behind will be wasted, there’s hope! According to a recent USA Today article, more and more of the major chains are working with Clean the World to recycle and sterilize half used items and send them to the needy.


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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