The great travel-size rip off

Airplane taking offThe days where you could arrive at the airport with a passport, ticket, money and a case without a care in the world seem like a distant memory. Now it's a carefully planned operation involving weights and measures, particularly if you want to avoid excessive charges from check-in luggage and forgotten boarding cards.

However, a recent survey has revealed that if you decide to leave your toiletry purchases to the last minute, the charges can really add up too.
According to research by, you could be paying up to 750% more for airport-bought travel miniatures (past security) than their standard-size counterparts. The report reveals that customers are often paying considerably more for travel-sized miniatures (100ml or below) at the airport than the full-size equivalent. On the high street, a standard 150ml spray can of Dove Anti-Perspirant deodorant checks out at just £1.00. The airport travel-sized miniature rings in at £1.99 – almost double the price and at just 35ml.

A bottle of Johnson Top to Toe bath for babies saw a mark up of 645% from the high street to the airport shop. A 500ml bottle from Asda was priced at £2.67 whereas the W.H. Smith airport price for a 50ml bottle cost £1.99.

Prices appear to be inflating rapidly. Research carried out last year by recorded a maximum increase of 250%, compared to this year's maximum increase of 750%.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert from TravelSupermarket, commented: "Whilst security regulations are tight in airports in this day and age, consumers can easily get caught out paying over the odds for their toiletries.

"In some cases, you can completely ignore the travel-sized version altogether – for example a regular sized version of the most marked-up product – Charles Worthington hair serum – is 50ml, meaning it comes in under the regulations. So make sure you're not paying four times the price when you don't need to.

His advice to travellers is to invest in reusable bottles: "Savvy travellers can get around this and my number one tip is to invest in and reuse small bottles which you can decant your products into before you head off on holiday."

Following a vote by the European Commission in July, the ban on carrying liquids onto an aircraft is set to go on indefinitely. A survey conducted by TripAdvisor revealed that British Travellers are split on the issue – 48% feel safer with the current ban in place. How do you feel about it? Is it just an opportunity to make more money from airport travellers or are you happy it's being kept in place? Let us know in the comments.

TravelSupermarket's Top Tips
Don't buy minis. Buy large bottles and decant what is needed for your time away. As well as avoiding the prices, it will help keep your luggage weight down

Take advantage of offers such as 'three for two' and 'any item for a pound' – these will bring the cost of miniatures slightly more in line with their normal size counterparts

Even if you are travelling with hold luggage, still only take what you need – this will leave room and weight to take other items. If you use your decanted toiletries whilst away, this will free up space for anything you have purchased whilst away

Sprays and aerosols can't be decanted, so for things like hairspray you will have to use minis if you want to travel hand luggage only – however you can get round shaving foams by buying shaving cream and putting into a small pot or use a roll-on rather than a spray deodorant

Perfumes also can't easily be decanted if they are eau de toilette, so a small one bought in duty free will work for you

Always remember, you are only ever allowed to take a maximum of ten liquid items per person of no more than 100ml in a sealable clear plastic bag in your hand land luggage

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The great travel-size rip off

If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.

This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered. 

If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company. 

Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.  

Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.

If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.

If you are travelling within the EU you need an EHIC card, which gives you access to public healthcare. However, this won't necessarily be free, and if you need extra services such as accommodation for a carer, a helicopter home or a delayed flight, you could end up seriously out of pocket.

The only protection that will guarantee you will be looked after without running up a horrendous debt is by having travel insurance - which often covers up to £10 million of costs.

The most common form of theft is pick-pocketing, followed by theft from a car and bag snatching. Meanwhile, 752,000 of those surveyed had items stolen from their hotel room or villa.

If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.


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