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I know many experienced travelers who still have a hard time packing or pack too much. I feel like I’m a decent packer, I’ve never been one to take five pairs of shoes anywhere, but I still don’t follow a lot of tips and tricks out there. I don’t use packing cubes, I don’t always carry-on, I hate using Ziploc bags and I usually decide not to bring (or forget) at least one item of the ’10 Random Things I Always Travel With’ and end up regretting it. I have picked up a handful of personal tricks and go-to products though.
Only a couple of the items below are used to for only one thing – most have multiple uses which help save space in your bag.
Lacy or mesh bras and underwear
I’m not saying you always need to travel with sexy underwear, but bras and underwear that are made of lace or mesh take up less space and dry more quickly if you’re doing your own laundry. (Also, make sure your underwear fits well, especially if you’re traveling long-term. Wearing the same seven pairs of ill-fitting underwear will slowly start to drive you crazy…)
Bring a small bottle of baby powder to use as dry shampoo and keep your skin (more) dry in hot and humid places. Sprinkle it onto dry hair in greasy spots and pat onto skin when you’re fresh from the shower.
Toilet paper or tissues
Always good to have on hand, especially in parts of the world where you never know what you’re going to find for a ‘bathroom’. Though I normally don’t like buying gimmicky products or things used for just one purpose, this Charmin ‘To Go’ toilet paper has actually come in handy several times and is much more compact than regular toilet paper rolls. You can also just take the tube out of a roll of toilet paper to save space, but I’ve found that the Charmin stuff doesn’t unravel when being smashed around in your bag.
Large scarf or sarong
Even if you’re going somewhere hot, I suggest carrying a long wide scarf or sarong. I have a great woven one a friend bought from South Africa that has been used as a blanket, towel, rag, cover up and, of course, scarf.
Long black leggings
Not just any long black leggings, I travel with moisture wicking yoga leggings. While they’re a bit of an investment, they are incredibly versatile and can be worn for different occasions like long travel days when you want something comfortable, when you’re doing a lot of walking or trekking, dressed up with a long blouse or dress for a night out and…yoga. I love wearing them in Southeast Asia, because though it’s always hot and sweaty, the special material helps you stay dry and fresh.
Rubber door stop
Have a rubber door stop to slide under the door from the inside at night. Simple.
Solid Perfume or Travel-friendly Atomizer
Perfume falls under the ‘I want to take it but don’t need it’ category – it’s unnecessary, takes up space, and can leak. But whether you’re on a weekend getaway or a long backpacking trip, it’s always nice to have a little ‘luxury’ that helps make you feel special (or smell better if you don’t have time to shower on the road). BUT don’t take the whole bottle of your regular fragrance. Instead, pick up some solid perfume or invest in a small atomizer to fill up with your usual scent, like these from Travalo. Either of these options will be both space and airport friendly to take with you on the plane.
Coconut oil is a great example of a multi-purpose product because it can used for…just about everything. Not just for cooking, the oil (eaten and applied topically) helps protect you and fight viruses, bacteria, fungi and infections. You can swab some on cuts, your feet after using that hostel shower, it’s even been suggested to help yeast infections. You can use it as a skin moisturizer, make up remover, hair conditioner, shaving lotion, chapstick…the list goes on and on. It also supposedly helps stop weight gain and can be taken as a natural energy supplement. Remember to put the oil in a leak proof container and bag it while in transit to avoid any accidents.
Dr. Bronner’s Magical Soap
Another go-to multi-purpose product is Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. While it doesn’t stave off infection and help you lose weight like coconut oil, it can be used on the road as shampoo, hand soap, laundry soap, body wash and shaving cream. The soap is certified organic and vegan…which means you could even brush your teeth with it if you wanted. It also conveniently comes in solid and liquid forms as well as a variety of different sizes. I like the small travel-sized bottles, especially since the soap is concentrated and you don’t need to use very much.
They come in eight scents, however I tend to lean toward the unscented or lavender. I’ve found that the soap is stocked in many places but stores specializing in natural and organic products tend to have the best selection. If you can’t find the size or scent you’re looking for, you can also purchase all the different varieties on Amazon or through the company’s website.
What have I missed? What are some of your favorite travel packing tips for women? Anyone know a good way to pack bras so they don’t get smashed? Let me know in the comments below!
Need more information or don’t know where to buy some of these items? The affiliate links below will take you right to where you can purchase them on Amazon. While you won’t get charged extra, I’ll receive a little commission to help buy my next plate of phad thai.