Hello. My name is Snarky, and I am a travel-size toiletry addict.
One of the many bits of travel advice from seasoned travelers is “don’t bring too many toiletries. There’s almost nothing you can’t buy along the way.” This may be true, but when you’re an addict, there’s a little voice in your head that constantly says “but maybe they won’t have it, and it’s so cheap, and it’s so small how much weight to your pack can it really add, and it’s so cute!”
The general exception to this rule, I’m told, is certain feminine products, certain prophylactics, and high-numbered sunscreen. I’m a little suspect of the last, as mostly Brits go to Egypt and Brits get sunburned under a 150 watt bulb. So, how can there NOT be 30+ level spf in Africa? The Brits would never make it out of the airport without it. Of course, these are people who eat Deep Fried Mars Bars, so who knows…. But nonetheless, that doens’t stop me from bringing way too much of it (lotion, not Mars bars).
Below is the result of my addiction, thus far. Combined time spent in the travel section of drug stores and Target – probably more than 2 hours to date (time yet again NOT spent on schoolwork). Note that some of the items below I already owned (this is not exactly a NEW addiction, but it not-so-surprisingly seems to come out of remission when I am about to travel). Now I do not intend to bring ALL the amounts listed below. That’s just how much I bought “just in case” I decide to take it with me. Nor does this does not include OTC meds such as asprin, pepto, and the like. That could be a whole ‘nuther list in and of itself.
All things travel size unless otherwise noted:
4 mouthwash. No, I am not really going to bring 4. Probably. Maybe. After all, they say you should brush your teeth with mouthwash rather than local water in most of the places I’m going, so maybe that merits a few bottles, donchya think?
2 dental floss. In case you think Dental Floss is only for teeth, you are sadly naïve. Dental Floss is the MacGyver Tool of Travelers. To quote from OneBag (an EXCELLENT travel site and must read for everyone who travels):
It makes excellent heavy-duty thread for repair work (make sure you carry an appropriate needle); the cutter on the box is handy for regular thread as well. As tightly knotted floss (especially the waxed kind) is generally very difficult to untie, it can also be used as a temporary luggage “lock”, to discourage pilferage. Other emergency uses include: shoelaces, cheesecake cutter, bead string, ukulele string, and replacement for a broken toilet tank chain. Finally, if a dripping faucet is keeping you awake, tie one end of a length of floss around the spout, put the other end in the drain, and arrange the floss so that the water flows quietly along it, rather than forming drops!
2 Sensodyne toothpaste. I have sensitive teeth, OK, so back off.
Now, here’s the weird thing. I am not particularly a germ-a-phobe. Actually some could make the argument I live life a little too closely on the germ-edge. I’ve worked in the food industry, I know what goes on behind the scenes, I have no delusions of cleanliness in general. Twice in my life I also have lived with as many as 3 cats at once. You give up the concept of true cleanliness in those circumstances. A friend of mine who is a bona-fide connoisseur of sanitizing products (read, germ-freak) would be horrified at this confession (you know who you are), but there you have it.
Despite this, I have somehow found myself prepared to combat every microbe in the entire continent. With regard to hand sanitizier, in case you thought sanitizer was simply those little bottles of Purell, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. Allow me to take you on a very brief tour of the many ways hand sanitizer can be found, in my very own travel kit.
4 re-sealable plastic bag of wipes, comes in many sizes from small to gigantic. In the interest of portability and cheapness, I got “Nice’n Clean” packages of 20.
30 “wet-ones” single packets each (it came in a box of 30, I won’t bring that many. Maybe. Probably. Maybe.)
2 hand santizer gels from GermX 2.5 oz each.
CVS brand “pen” container of sanitizer that is actually a spritzer. Very important when one needs to disguise your sanitizer as an ordinary pen. Germs think you’re just writing a post-card then BAM!
Along the same lines as hand sanitizers (or at least used in near proximity) is the bring-your-own toilet paper, as many places I’m going won’t have it. Or toilets (gross picture warning):
6-pack Kleenex tissues
2 Charmin “toilet paper to go” containers. Remains to be seen how useful this will be over the tissues, they were on sale.
Various Female Products
4 Gold bond powder (heat rash anyone?). No, I doubt I’ll bring all 4… Probably.
2 Lotion (1 high quality cetaphil I happen to have in travel size, 1 soy-product lotion given as a present part of one of those fancy-schmancy bath kits)
Pop-up brush with mirror
Shaving razor, cream/oil TBD
Shampoo/conditioner (TBD). I am currently testing out the possibility of using a bar shampoo. Early tests do not look optimistic. Look for future post on the subject.
Soap (also not bought yet, probably something universal like Dr. Bonner’s or CampSuds)
Woolite travel packets
Sunblock (60spf “dab on” stick and 8oz 50spf super-sport regular-size bottle, the largest toiletry I’m bringing, if I decide to bring it)
2 Lip balm with sunscreen
Deet Bug stuff (haven’t actually bought yet)
First thing I did is buy a cheap, lightweight, soft-sided ready-made first-aid kit (kinda like this but I got one at Target that was half the price). It has a ton of stuff it in, and because it is soft sided, I can then cram it full of additional travel-size things that it probably already has but I can’t be bothered to take the time to find out. The bag is actually pretty small (5” x 7” x 2”) and I could cram even more stuff in there if I needed to, um, I mean “wanted” to.
Aloe Vera Burn cream
Itch cream for bug bites
Chemical heat-pad adhesives
Tiger balm (thumb-size)
Anyone know if there’s a “mini” 12-step program out there anywhere? And if so, do they give away samples?
Tags: Africa, Egypt, Getting Ready, Preparation