You may or may not have heard this, but there are some wonderful travel products right in your own kitchen!
The first is a tried and true traveller’s tool: Baking Soda (aka Sodium Bicarbonate). It can be used for:
- brushing teeth
- washing your face (yay exfoliant!)
- washing your hair (be careful though, it dries it out)
- washing dishes or laundry or vegetables if you are camping
- deodorant (under your arms or in your shoes!)
- dry shampoo (be sure to brush it out else you look gray!)
It’s unscented, safe, kid and animal friendly, bio-degradeable, cheap, and easy to obtain anywhere in the world. Best of all, it’s not a liquid and therefore totally carry-on friendly. And powders weigh less than liquids in general as they are more condensed. If you can’t get behind this trick, or prefer something with a scent, checkout solid shampoo/body bars. There’s some great ones by LUSH and they too are fairly multipurpose (except brushing your teeth maybe).
Another item you may have in your kitchen is Coconut Oil. Many people have already raved about this, but here are some of the many uses to travellers:
- hair conditioner (especially if you wash it with baking soda)
- health supplement (a teaspoon a day!)
- body moisturizer (especially in extreme cold or after a lot of time in the sun)
- light scent (most people enjoy the scent of coconut, I am not one of them)
- cuticle cream (keep that mani-pedi fresh after hours of sightseeing!)
- makeup remover (works like cold cream)
And, like baking soda, it too is relatively cheap, easy to find most places, natural, safe (unless you’re allergic to coconut), biodegradable, and not a liquid (it is solid at room temperature). Plus a little goes a long way, so you needn’t carry huge bottles of lotions around on your travels!
The last useful thing you might find in your kitchen is ziplock (plastic) baggies. Small ones can be used for separating different toiletries or protecting valuables in a moist environment. Larger ones can act similar to packing cubes (though if you travel a lot, I really recommend investing in a set of proper packing cubes, you and your dorm mates will thank me!)
It sounds silly, but how many of you paid $3 for a water/soda bottle only to have to throw half of it away when going through airport security and buy another one 10 minutes later on the other side? What about going to a theme park and having to buy 3 water bottles in a day because it’s 100 degrees outside? Or tired of paying $5 a pop at the nearest coffee shop when you want a coffee/tea?
My solution? I always travel with a travel mug. This way I can use it for water from a drinking fountain in the airport, tea bags I carry with me and a little hot water, or coffee from the cafeteria at work.
My mug is just a plastic, reusable travel cup, super light and simple – screw off the top, fill, screw the top back on, enjoy. If you plan to carry your cup inside a bag, insure that it has some kind of sealable lid and even then I recommend keeping it in an outside water bottle pocket if possible.
I bought mine in Peru, but I use something similar to this one on Amazon.
If you are a big coffee and/or tea lover like me, however, you might also be interested in something like the one below from Bodum, which has a built in French press. Don’t underestimate the power of fillable tea bags/filters and cafe mocha sachets either though!
Bodum Insulated Plastic Travel Mug
Here’s a quick tip for travel – always carry your student ID with you*. Even if you are no longer in school, that ID can still save you a few bucks on many attractions and even transportation. I am fortunate that mine does not have an expiration date, and university students can be any age! Especially in foreign countries, it is very unlikely anyone will have even heard of your school. Most of the time they don’t even look at it. And the worst that can happen is they question you and charge you full price anyways. Never hurts to ask! You’d be surprised what you can get just by asking.
I don’t necessarily condone lying or cheating, but the way I see it, all travelers are students of the best school there is – the world. So keep on learning!
*Note: This obviously only applies if you have a student ID. However, sometimes you can also get discounts for residency, auto clubs, military, age, or even working in the same industry. It’s always worth a quick internet search!