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LIZ'S TOP PICKS - EQUIPMENT - ELECTRONICS - CLOTHING - PERSONAL CARE - HEALTH - SUPPLIES - LEFT BEHIND

I'm not selling any of these products, this is only a collection of impressions about some of the things I have traveled with, or plan to travel with. As I use them, I will add updates. Remember that not all items are appropriate for all travels, and the importance of packing light cannot be overstated: when in doubt, leave it out! Where practical, I have added links to manufacturers or retailers for anyone who wants more information. Text in GREEN has been added since my latest trip.

 

 
 

Spray Bottle

A simple little spray bottle filled with water, but oh, what a comfort it is on long flights. A spritz of fine mist in the face combats that dry air, and is so refreshing.

 
 
 

Tweezers

A simple but necessary tool.

 
 

Hairbrush

Travel hairbrush, it folds flat; very handy, but these brushes are prone to breakage, so you have to be gentle with it. Yes, this broke again, despite my gentle handling, but darn it, I went out an bought another one, because nothing else is so compact.

 
 
 

Emery Board & Orange Stick

Keeping nails clean and smooth is a priority (especially toenails, which are essential to comfortable walking).

 
 

Safety Razor

I try not to worry overmuch about shaving, but it's good to have where the weather is warm and I want to feel sleek again. I'd advise taking one to start with, and buying more when you need them, since they're not expensive and easily available.

 
 
 

Menstrual Cup

Instead

A less-well-known alternative to tampons and pads, the cup is something to think about if you don't want to carry around mounds of supplies. I like the cups because I can wear them longer and I stay cleaner with them. But no solution is perfect, so I am taking a selection of supplies for maximum flexibility. These worked great, and were much less bulky than other methods. Do try them out before you go, they take some getting used to and they are not the best solution for everyone.

 
 

Panty Liners

Aside from their primary function, these are nice to have when you run out of clean underwear and need to make do with what you have.

 
 
 

Tampons

Organic Essentials

Supplies for "that special time," these tampons have no applicators to add bulk and fill landfills, and they are made from organic cotton (cotton is normally grown with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides) and are not bleached with chlorine.

 
 

Cotton Swabs

Creature comfort or necessity, I like to have some handy in my toiletries bag, and buy more when I run out.

 
 
 

Dental Floss

Target

They call this "Hi-Tech" dental floss, which makes it sound like they've embedded little computer chips in it. Whatever, it does glide easily between teeth, and can serve as emergency mending thread in a pinch.

 
 

Travel Toothbrush

This toothbrush comes apart to store in its own ventilated handle. Even with ventilation, the case got moldy over time... eventually I just used the brush part, and stored it in the open mesh pocket on the front of my toiletries case -- perhaps not the most hygienic practice. Does anyone out there have a better solution?

 
 
 

Toothpaste

Rick Steves likes to suggest that you take just a little toothpaste to get you started and "look forward to running out of toothpaste in Bulgaria. Then you have the perfect excuse to go into a Bulgarian department store, shop around, and pick up something you think might be toothpaste..."

 
 
 

Tongue Scraper

Little plastic device given to me by my beloved dental hygienist, it aids in the often overlooked final step to a really clean mouth.

 
 
 

Gum Pick

More oral hygeine...gets in where a brush can miss, and works well as a stop-gap measure in between brushings.

 
 
 

Contact Lens Solutions

Boston

Rinsing/soaking solution, cleaning solution, once-a-week enzymatic cleaner, and rewetting drops...no wonder people tend to prefer glasses to contacts on long journeys! I'm seriously considering vision-correcting laser surgery...

 
 
 

Sunscreen

BullFrog

Waterproof, sweat proof, with spf of 45. Somehow I still managed to get burned.

 
 
 

Insect Repellent

Ultrathon

The big news with this is an advanced time-released formula which allows for a high concentration of DEET for maximum effectiveness paired with a less noxious wearing experience. I would really rather not have to deal with something as poisonous as this, but it is preferable to a bout of malaria. Not necessary for my Europe trip, but will be important in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

 
 

Blister Protection/
Sunscreen

BodyGlide

Designed for endurance athletes, this is a lifesaver for anyone who faces trouble with skin chaffing, be it to preventing blisters from ill-fitting shoes or inner thighs rubbing together. On days when I wore skirts and did lots of walking, especially in sweaty or humid conditions, one application in the morning when dressing lasted all day long. The version pictured here also has an SPF 25 and can double as sunscreen as well.

 
 

Liquid Soap

Easier to deal with than a wet bar of soap, although it probably doesn't last as long as a bar of soap, ounce for ounce. I'm taking the middle road, and taking a little bar and a little bottle .. I'll let you know how it works out.

 
 
 

Hair Care

Bain de Terre

A gift from my wonderful hairdresser, these products are very nice to my hair. The shampoo is concentrated, the conditioner is light and non-greasy (easy to rinse with little water) and the hair repair treatment is the best thing I've ever found for instantly turning dry, unhappy hair into shiny healthy hair. Due to the necessity of packing light, I'll only be able to take a small amount of each, and I know I will miss them when they're gone.

 
 
 

Bar Shampoo

J.R. Ligget's

By removing the water, bar shampoo makes sense for lighter packing. But is it practical, and does it work as well as regular shampoo? I will try it for a week and see...

 
 

Hand Sanitizer

You can find this stuff everywhere these days, and it's very useful for a quick hand washing when water and soap are not an option. When I found out that backpackers from other counties used this as a way to spot Americans, I gave it away.

 
 
 

Lip Balm

I am so grateful for the invention of lip balm! It seems that whenever I travel, my lips dry out instantly. This stuff has SFP of 15, and is petroleum-free.

 
 
 

Deodorant

Crystal

This is the most practical and effective deodorant I've ever used. It works very well, one stick will last at least a year, its natural, non-aluminum mineral salt formula is gentle, and it's cruelty-free. This is great stuff, but I gave it away when I was trying to lighten my pack.
 
 
 

Deodorant

Nivea

Tiny Nivea Compact Deo spray deodorant I discovered first in Ireland, and later in other European countries, but I have yet to see it here in the states. Too bad, since it's so compact, light and concentrated (a container just a little longer than a lipstick lasts for 2 months).

 
 
 

LIZ'S TOP PICKS - EQUIPMENT - ELECTRONICS - CLOTHING - PERSONAL CARE - HEALTH - SUPPLIES - LEFT BEHIND

 

       

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