Personal-Care Items for Travel
Pack light. This is perhaps the most often repeated piece of advice to travelers. But when it comes to personal-care items, how much can you really leave behind?
When choosing personal-care items for your trip, keep in mind that pharmacies all over the world stock things like soap, shampoo, deodorant and aspirin. Pack small, travel-size containers of these basics. If you’ll be traveling for several months, plan on replenishing your supply at some point in your trip, which is easier than lugging several large bottles around.
It’s usually best to leave appliances such as hair dryers and electric razors at home. These items take up extra packing space, and if you’ll be traveling abroad, you’ll also have to mess with electrical converters / adapters so that your appliances will work with foreign electrical sockets and voltages. However, if you’re traveling for business or if you don’t plan on going abroad, go ahead and pack them items if they’ll make life easier.
No matter where your travels take you, it’s a good idea to pack the items listed below.
For Your Protection
- Bug repellent: If you’re headed to a bug-prone area and are sensitive to bites, some type of bug protection is absolutely necessary. You don’t have to use a DEET-based lotion, although it’s very effective at keeping bugs away. Other options include protective clothing such as pants, long-sleeve shirts and headnets. Some natural repellents, such as mosquito coils and citronella candles, are modestly effective defenses.
- Sunscreen: Even if you’re not headed to the beach, pack sunscreen anyway. Reflective surfaces such as snow and water intensify the sun’s rays.
- First-aid kit: For travelers not straying too far off the beaten track, a few basics are all you need. Include a couple of items to take care of minor wounds, stings or bug bites. Also include items to take care of blisters, headaches and allergies. If you’re backpacking or trekking in remote areas, carry a more comprehensive first-aid kit.
To Keep You Clean
Travelers who plan on staying in nice hotels for their entire trip won’t have as much of a need for these items as budget travelers who plan on staying in hostels, huts or campgrounds.
- Antibacterial hand gel: This gel kills germs without water. It comes in handy for those times when you don’t have access to a sink.
- All-purpose soap: An all-natural soap such as Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap can be used for shaving, as shampoo or skin bath. It also works for cleaning clothes in a pinch.
- PackTowl: Made by Cascade Designs, these towels are absorbent, dry quickly and pack down small so they’re well-suited for travel.
- Toothbrush/toothpaste: Floss also can be used for emergency repairs on gear if you’re out in the wilderness and you don’t have a sewing or repair kit.
Here are the remaining personal-care items you should pack. Try to leave behind appliances and makeup, unless you absolutely can’t live without them.
- Disposable razor
- Contact lens solution (if you wear contacts)
- Prescription drugs in their original containers. Also bring a copy of your prescription.
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