Friday Tips & Tricks – Part 1

Never underestimate the amount of underwear and socks you will need:
It’s already difficult enough to find undies you like at home in your size, imagine abroad!  It’s not like underwear takes that much room anyway… You can also use packing cubes to help keep it tightly packed and easy to find as it’s all in a single place.

Solid as a rock:
Most toiletries (exception being antiperspirant!) that you normally carry in liquid/gel format can now be found in a light, compact, NON-LIQUID version: shampoo, conditioner, hand, laundry & body soap, even shaving foam/gel ! (Travelon sells all of those and more!) As compact as can be (2.75″ x 2″ x 0.75″), those are 3-1-1 compliant & carry-on friendly (for those who only carry hand luggage); a MUST to avoid unfortunate leaks and unpleasant security check at the airport!

Otherwise, a good old bar of soap (instead of fancy shower gel) will last longer, can’t  really leak and potentially doubles as laundry soap, even shampoo (if you don’t have needy hair) !

Segregate Clean and Dirty…
… unless you want your entire luggage to smell bad!  An inexpensive nylon stuff sack will do the trick.  It’s also useful to carry damp clothes so the rest of your luggage won’t get humid.  Considering the room it takes, bringing 1 or 2 is nothing!  Buy one that’s rugged enough to be machine washed; it will need to be thoroughly cleaned every once in a while to remove odors.

Sea to Summit Stuff Sacks

Don’t throw in the towel!
I love my long, thick, fluffy towel.  But it takes the size of 3 days of clothing in a backpack!  If you lodge beach side or plan on living in accommodation that provides towels, don’t bring it.  But if you must pack one:
1) Use a “travel” towel – much smaller and dries quicker so you can wash it often
2) Bring it long enough to properly cover yourself, especially if you live in a family that you connected with through hospitality websites (like BeWelcome or Staydu); it will keep you decent if you need to walk out of the bathroom!  (Also applies to hostels with communal shower facilities.)

Being a plus-size, I bought two MSR PackTowl Personal Towel, size XXL at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) and got some Velcro sown on one end of each towel, so I can use them together or separately. Attached, it’s long enough to wrap around the body and goes all the way down to the knees.  Separated, it does the trick for drying hair, wring clothes that are just washed and other not too extensive drying duties! This towel dries in about 20-30 minutes compared to hours (if not days!) for regular towels. (Once folded, my 2 XXL towels are about 11″ long x 8″ wide x 2″ thick.) Anti-microbial treated to diminish that “dirty old towel” smell.

MSR PackTowl Personal Towel
Rendez-vous sur Hellocoton !

2 thoughts on “Friday Tips & Tricks – Part 1

  • May 18, 2013 at 4:34 am

    I must admit I hated my travel towel – even though it was by a well known brand it never seemed to absorb much water – therefore leaving me wet after showering! In SE Asia we found most guesthouses gave us a towel to use, however in South America we ended up buying a towel each as we only rent them from guesthouses and that would get expensive quickly!

  • July 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm


    My name is KC Owens, I’m a college student and I love to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found your site and really enjoyed reading your posts. I have been to countries all over Europe with just my backpack and a camera. Since I am a college student and I have significant bills, it can be difficult to find ways to travel the world. However, I have done this several times, with less than ten pounds of luggage and while on a college dime!

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my tips and tricks with your readers. I put a lot of time into my traveling, it is my biggest passion and I would love to inspire others by sharing my stories, mistakes and triumphs. I look forward to hearing from you!


    KC Owens


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