Change Yourself…Change The World.

Packing Post- Toiletries
August 21, 2009, 5:47 am
Filed under: Travel Tip

Hey guys,

As a continuation from yesterday, I will continue with my ‘Packing Tips’ Post geared towards backpackers traveling in developing countries, using an example of what I am bringing for four months to South America. Today I will be covering toiletries (and anti-bacterial things to bring).

To summarize, the top 5 most essential items I use in my toiletries kit:
1) Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap
2) A Nail Cutter
3) The obvious things (Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap, Toothbrush, Deodorant, Hair Brush etc.)
4) Hand Sanitizer
5. o.b. tampons (or Divacup)

Please check out the extensive list if you’re interested!

I like to go a little hog-wild on Toiletries. By hog-wild, I mean, I like to bring small unnecessary ‘luxury’ items (like a pumice stone, or foot cream) in my bag. This is because I’ve realized that if you’re traveling in rural areas in a developing country, you will get worn out. There are many, many times when you will feel dirty, sweaty, and just gross all over. Then there are those times when you are faced with a bucket bath, or a cold shower, or on the rare occasion a hot one- and you feel so disgusting that you just want to feel CLEAN, which therefore makes you feel clean and more organized mentally. In this case, bringing these tiny ‘luxurious’ items goes a LONG way. So if I’m dead tired and just exhausted from traveling and being on the road all of the time, being able to pull ‘enriching foot cream’ out of my bag is really nice, as if suddenly the shower is hot, and I feel as if I’m in a spa… I think you get my drift. I like to have quite a few small ‘luxurious’ items so when I hit those times that I feel I need a thorough cleaning, I can go the extra mile with creams or nail polish or whatever it is I feel like at the time.
As I stated in a previous post, I will leave nothing out on what I’m bringing, so I will also include these small things I am bringing. However (again, like I said earlier), those options are totally personalized and it really varies from person to person on what they like. For example, I love taking care of my feet, so I have foot cream, a pumice stone, nail polish, etc. But if you like to take care of your hands, maybe you’d like to bring some hand cream and a nail filer… it’s totally up to you.

So, without further adieu, the toiletries list:
-Shampoo and Conditioner. Duh. Fortunately you can get these in any country you come across, and they have all of the big brands, like Garnier, Dove, etc. I usually bring a medium sized shampoo and conditioner bottle.
– Soap. Personally, I really like Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap, for a number of reasons. A) most importantly, it is SUPER concentrated, so a small bottle of Dr. Bronner’s will easily last you about 8 months if you wash yourself every day. B) It is made of hemp C) The writing on the bottle is hilarious D) There are about 16 different uses you can use for the soap, including using it as shampoo for your hair, for laundry, and brushing your teeth- if you really want to save money and travel lightly, this is the BEST soap. E) The Peppermint one is the best because it makes you feel tingly all over. Dr. Bronner’s is an all-around awesome travel companion.
– A razor with replaceable blades. I like Venus, and I generally bring one replaceable blade per week that I’m traveling with. Since you can use a replaceable blade quite a few times, this might be overkill- but it’s next to impossible to find replaceable blades for an American brand razor in developing countries, so I like to bring more than I need rather than run out.
– Shaving cream. If you take cold showers and shave, this is pretty quintessential. I have the smallest one available.
– Deodorant. You can get this in any developing country so I bring a small one.
– H2Ocean Salt Water. This is for my lip piercing, so if you don’t have any piercings then don’t worry about it. However, if you do have a lot and relatively new ones, this is a great thing to bring.
-A random lotion I got from India from Himalaya Herbal Healthcare, called ‘Deep Cleansing Milk.’ I don’t really use face wash because I have very sensitive skin, so I suppose this is my ‘face wash.’
– A pumice stone (this is a luxury item).
– ‘Cracked Heel Repair’ Cream (this is a luxury item)
– One small bottle of nail polish (this is a luxury item)
– ‘Nail Polish Removal’ Wipes (one packet, this is a luxury item)
– Nail Cutter. This is essential.
– Eye Makeup Removal Pads. I would categorize this as a luxury item considering I COULD use lotion to get off my make-up; I like to spoil myself a bit with these because they are much nicer to use.
– A toothbrush. I have one that folds into itself and closes, it’s a travel toothbrush and you can find them at any WalGreens, CVS, etc. It’s easy to find a toothbrush in a developing country, but not a TRAVEL one.
– Toothpaste. Small one, because you can replace it easily. You can also use Dr. Bronner’s if you want to travel really light.
– Dental Floss. Definitely not necessary for the average traveler, just necessary for me because of the state of my teeth.
– Lotion. Again, this is really easy to find. However, I also use this as a ‘luxurious’ item because I like to slather lotion all over my face, arms, legs, etc. so I usually bring a medium-sized lotion since I go through it rather quickly.
– Hand Sanitizer. This is important because if you are using public bathrooms (or pretty much any bathroom), they’re not going to have soap… and in many cases, no toilet paper either. So Hand Sanitizer DEFINITELY comes in handy. You CAN find these in developing countries but you would have to search for it. I am bringing four small bottles.
– ‘Thick Moist Wipes.’ Pretty much an alternative to Hand Sanitizer, but I still carry a few of these in my bag just in case I feel like switching it up.
– Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream (This is a luxury item)
– Tampons. You can never have enough of these as they are generally very hard to find. I use o.b. (you can find this in any pharmaceutical store) because they are the smallest tampons made. I have a separate bag that holds only my tampons (instead of taking the boxes). For four months, I am taking about 70 regular ones and 70 super ones. Generally this is personal preference, and you should calculate how many you usually use per day and, times how many days, times how many months. I am bringing more than I need to because like I said, I like to feel comfortable, and also other travelers definitely like to mooch.
I’ve heard that Divacup is a fantastic replacement for all of this extra space in your bag; I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard a lot of great reviews and I know a lot of traveler’s that use it, just in case you’re looking for an alternative that is also much less wasteful.
– Hair brush. Or comb. Whatever you need for your hair. Since I have such short hair, it rarely needs up keep. I only have a small hair brush.
– Basic make-up accessories. I have a small makeup bag from this that I keep separate from my ‘Toiletries’ bag, that holds some make-up, small ‘try me’ perfume vials and some ‘going-out’ jewelry. You don’t NEED to bring this, and these all could be classified as luxury items- I didn’t bring this on my trip to India and I was fine- but if you are traveling to a lot of different areas, it’s a nice thing to have. If you’re in a city and you feel like throwing on a dress and going out on the town- or if you happen to meet a cute guy while you’re hanging out in an area for a month or so- it’s definitely nice to have these things. I don’t wear this stuff ALL the time, but I like to have it as backup- you never know when you’ll need it.
I am bringing two different kinds of eyeliner, mascara, a small eyeshadow palette that has 8 different colors, a nice brush for eyeshadow, three different kinds of lip gloss (they are all sample sized), one lip balm, one chap stick with SPF, and three sample perfumes. I have four different kinds of earrings, three different kinds of necklaces, and two bracelets (all of them are pretty cheap, I wouldn’t want to bring nice jewelry or it would get stolen). Make-up varies in each country, and in some cases they’re better (one of my eyeliners is from India that I absolutely love), but it’s nice to have a few basic things just in case. You can also easily find jewelry in any city, so you don’t need to bring these things either.

For my toiletries bag, I use Eagle Creek Pack-It Wallaby II. It’s good because you can hang it up, and it also has a mirror on it.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Wallaby II.

Well my friends, I hope that was hopeful and helpful, and that is the update for the day. Tomorrow I will be posting Packing Tips: Randomosities. Tune in if you’re interested.

Much love,

1 Comment so far
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So funny that you are posting this after the first big travel journey you took… would you like a brown towel?

Comment by Vernji

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