The great travel-size rip off

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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 TravelSupermarket.com, 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 TravelSupermarket.com 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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