Gear

10 of the Best Hand Soaps for Travelers

by Allie d'Almo  |  Published April 5, 2021

With the world more conscious of handwashing than ever, good hand soap is no longer a luxury, it’s an essential piece of travel kit.

(Photo: Rye & Co pocket tin of travel soap)

From bars to gels and from beeswax to glycerine, hand soaps come in more shapes and sizes than ever. But if you’re travelling, your soap requirements will be more specific than usual. The best hand travel soaps combine high-quality ingredients, antibacterial properties, convenient size and a great smell. Based on these criteria, we’ve selected ten of our favourite hand soaps for travellers.

Rye & Co Pocket tin of handmade soap slices

Made with essential oils and available in a variety of natural scents including Lemongrass Monsoon, Gentle Marigold and Boho Blush, Rye Botanicals has come up with one of the most innovative soap solutions on the list. Each reusable tin contains 85g of single-use soap slithers, from the off-cuts of the brand’s production line. Ingredients are all natural, vegan and free from plastics, and contain shea butter or olive, coconut or caster oil as the carrier. It’s an affordable, zero-waste solution for cleaning your hands on the go. 

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Friendly Travel Soap 

(Photo: Friendly Soap)

Friendly Soap is exactly that — soap that’s friendly for skin, customers and the environment. There are a range of heavenly scented soaps to choose from, but the Travel Soap is our top choice due to its space saving qualities. As well as cleansing and moisturising your hands, you can also use it as a luxurious shampoo and bodywash. Packed with lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and tea tree oil essential oils, it’s naturally antiseptic and anti-fungal, as well as an insect repellent. Packaging is recycled and recyclable and the brand is also registered with The Vegan Society. 

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Aesop’s Resurrection rinse-free handwash 

Leave it to Aesop to produce the perfect, pocket-sized product for keeping hands clean when water isn’t readily available. Rinse-free and alcohol-based, this hand wash effectively cleanses hands and combats contagions, without drying them out. The wash is available in 500 ml or a more convenient 50 ml bottle, which can be squeezed directly onto dry hands. Unlike other alcohol-based washes, it doesn’t smell like chemicals — infact, its citrus and herbaceous scent smells delicious. It’s sustainable and cruelty-free too. 

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Owen’s Acres Antibacterial Soap and Hand Balm 

best hand soaps for travellers

(Photo: Owen’s Acres)

This nifty twin-set is packed with essential oils and moisturising properties, meaning you’ll never have to worry about dry hands again. Ingredients include beeswax, lavender and tea tree oil, all sourced and produced at Owen Acres farm in Hawaii. The twist-up container looks more like a glue stick than a soap stick, but at just 3 x 5 inches, it’s ideal for travelling. Pop it in your purse or pocket for hand wash on the go. 

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Salvatore Tripi Paper Flakes

These compact portable soap sheets are ideal for those long car, train or bus journeys on your trip. Lightweight and sleek, each compact includes 20 single use sheets measuring 76mm by 64mm. All you need to do is grab a sheet, add water and watch paper turn into soap. The flakes are produced by Salvatore Tripi, a Devon-based soap and fragrance business that harnesses ancient Italian perfume-making techniques. A portion of all profits go to supporting social projects in Latin America too.

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Funky Soap Lemon and tea tree antiseptic handwash

Best handsoaps for travellers

(Photo: Funky Soap)

If you prefer using liquid soaps to bars, Funky Soap’s travel-size antiseptic handwash is an excellent option. Another all-natural product, the formula is slightly thinner than standard liquid washes since there are no added thickening agents, but it still guarantees to leave hands freshly clean and free from germs. The lemon and tea-tree scent is refreshing, without being overwhelming too. The wash is paraben and SLS free, so great for skin that’s easily irritated, and it helpfully comes in a 100ml clear plastic bottle.

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Sea To Summit Hand Wash 

These TSA-approved palm-sized packets include 50 leaves of dry soap that are super-light and easy to use. Simply add water and they’re ready to use. The flipflop pack fits easily into cabin baggage or a rucksack and the dry formula means there’s no risk of leakage or airport confiscation either. While the formula is PH neutral, phosphate and paraben free, it is also highly concentrated so isn’t recommended for travellers with sensitive skin. The soap has a pleasant light green tea fragrance too.

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The Baron Bar from Shower Bar 

best hand soap travellers

(Photo: Shower Bar)

The Baron looks like an ordinary — albeit stylish — bar of soap but once lathered it turns into a shower gel that cleans and softens skin. Designed as an affordable soap that satisfies modern requirements for sustainability, you can pick up your Baron guilt-free. All products are free from plastics and the packaging is made of recyclable paper. Small, light and compact, you’ll be able to take this in your carry-on luggage too. It lasts even longer than an average bar of soap due to its foaming qualities, which makes it a great option for longer trips. You can purchase a stylish travel pouch with waterproof lining to fit your soap in too. 

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Pyramid Travel Soap

best hand soap for travellers

This versatile, concentrated liquid soap is an excellent hand wash, but it can also be used for just about anything including your hair, body and clothes. An ideal one-stop soap solution for backpackers and outdoor adventurers, each 60ml bottle will last at least a week. It’s 100% biodegradable and can be used with either fresh or salt water too. It may not smell as appealing as some of our other recommendations, but Pyramid are experts in outdoor adventure so it’s guaranteed to do the job required. 

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Pears Transparent Amber Soap

Pears is a household name, having produced its iconic transparent soaps for more than 200-years. Cheap, moisturizing and travel-size, it’s still a hard-to-beat offering. Each bar is made with natural oils and filtered by eye for purity to create a gentle soap. The addition of glycerin makes it an excellent choice for those with delicate skin or who will need to wash their hands more frequently. The standard 125g size is still small enough for travelling, with the advantage of being suitable for body wash too. 

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