Clothes, footwear, gadgets…your sanity – that’s all a given when packing for short breaks or indefinite, soul searching trips.
I want to share with you items that have managed to sneak its way into my backpack/luggage in the last couple of years. Perhaps some of you already carry these and can vouch for their various benefits, uses or applications.
And the best thing about these items? They’re compact/small size, which means they won’t take up any valuable real estate in your backpack/luggage!
1. Lavender Oil
There are a gazillion benefits and uses for this fragrant beauty.
- Anxious about flying or long bus rides? This helps relieve nervous tension and sleeplessness
- Can’t quite get over that jet lag or adjust to the local timezone? This helps improve sleep quality, thus giving you a more restful sleep
- Helps alleviate stress
- Forgot to pack headache tablets? This provides temporarily relief to headaches
- Helps to relieve symptoms of eczema
- Provides relief to tick, wasp and insect bites
2. Tea Tree Oil
This stuff is magic!
- Helps heal and soothe sunburns
- Heals skin infections naturally
- Relieves itchiness from rashes
- Helps with treating acne/pimples (Tip: I usually add a couple of drops in aloe vera gel as applying pure tea tree oil directly on acne/pimples hurts like hell!)
- Great for treating toenail fungus and getting rid of foot odour
- Use it as an all purpose cleaner or antiseptic on small cuts (Tip: read the bottle for dilution instructions)
- Helps to prevent lice (Tip: add a few drops in your shampoo)
- Soothes insect bites
3. 100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel
Make sure it’s PURE. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to the real plant. But if you can get hold of a real plant, then that would be better. Sometimes, 100% is hard to find so I opt for 90%+. I use this mainly:
- As face moisturiser – very hydrating, fast absorbing and helps even out skin tone (after consistent use) such as Rosacea, dark spots or decrease pigmentation
- Treat and cool sunburn
- Soothe itchy skin
- Helps heal minor wounds
- Mix with a few drops of tea tree oil for acne/pimple treatment
- Soothe sore muscles/aches
- Treat insect bites or stings
- Eye or face makeup remover
DISCLAIMER: Like any blog posts, articles and other useful tips you come across, make sure you read the product label and definitely speak to your doctor, pharmacist or health practitioner before using any of the above products. I have tried and tested many brands in order to find ones that agree with my skin.
4. Unscented or fragrance-free baby skincare wipes
You can find these anywhere most of the time, but my skin can be sensitive so I usually stick to one or two brands. I can’t tell you enough how many times baby wipes have saved me from long treks and places where water was scarce and showers are not readily available. I use these mainly to:
- Clean/wipe my face and body
- Multipurpose wipe
- Freshen up…errr…down there
- Clean off messy, greasy food off my hands
- Clean makeup brushes
DISCLAIMER: Please dispose of these properly. Don’t flush these down the toilet as these can clog pipes and drains.
5. Silk sleeping bag liners
Hard core travellers will probably frown on me for this, but hear me out. I’m not talking about those expensive sleeping bag liners either. As a last minute packing decision before leaving for South America a couple of years ago, I bought these off a Vietnamese eBay seller (AUD$3) and decided to pack it anyway. And boy was I grateful! It’s lightweight, compact and dries quickly.
Most places will provide clean sheets. But when I got stranded in the middle of Bolivia, I found myself in some middle of nowhere shack, in a room with severely soiled mattresses. These silk liners proved its worth and I used it to line the mattress and pillows. Problem solved.
Another situation was when I was on a 17 hour bus ride across South America and I felt a little chill. These liners helped add a layer of warmth.
In Brazil, there were tons of mosquitos so I slipped into my liner, preventing any further mosquito bites.
6. Zip lock bags
Great for protecting precious devices and important documents from getting wet. Also great for organising small items such as cables, power plugs, cards, liquids, etc.
Fave brands: Any – as long as it has a water tight seal
Do you already include these items in your packing regime? What other items do you recommend?
Also, here are some useful links for more information: