Sometimes, a girl finds herself in a place where issues of personal hygiene become somewhat complicated. Whether you're kicking around third world countries or crashing at your grubby college buddy's stinky flat, there are a few items that you can keep in your purse to help to lessen the gross.
For bathrooms with no soap, for a cut you need to sterilize, for your sticky hands after you've gorged yourself on delicious street food or when you've gone against all rational advice and played with the adorable street dog anyway... hand sanitizer. In a pinch, you can shmear a dab on your face to dry up oily skin or under your stinky pits. Just don't use too much. It's very drying.
A roll of substantial toilet paper
Travel guides will tell you that, through Westernization, most public bathrooms in India now come equipped with toilet paper. I found this to be true. What they fail to mention, however, is that it is a single ply of the thinnest, wimpiest, most ineffectual toilet paper you will ever have the misfortune of using. And if you're indulging in the aforementioned street food, it's practically certain that you're going to find yourself in a situation where that's just not good enough. You will thank your lucky stars that you packed a roll of serious business toilet paper from home.
Makeup removing wipes
Rather than trying to locate water that you'd feel safe washing with, carry a giant pack of makeup removing wipes. And guys, I know they say "make up" and "face" like right on the package, but you can use these even if you don't wear makeup, allllll over your body. Like in case you're smelling funky and need to freshen up, or if you have a horrifying bathroom situation. I like these wipes from Burt's Bees.
A travel sized stick of deodorant
Before I started travelling carry-on-only, I went to work in India and my luggage took a six-day excursion to Singapore without me. I had to try to replace my things with what was locally available. I quickly learned that they're not big on solid deodorant over there. You'll probably find an aerosol can, you might find a liquid roll-on. The more likely situation is that you will find a confused stare from the drug store clerk.
An extra pair of skivvies
During my luggage's Singaporean vacation, I found myself with only one pair of underthings and at the mercy of the hotel's laundry service. And as much as I tried to work up the nerve, I could not bring myself to hand the sheepish, adorably polite Indian laundry man my Victoria's secret thong. So instead, I washed my ladythings in the sink every night and hung them over a lamp to dry. Which they almost did by the time I needed to wear them. Almost. If you can rock it Commando, more power to you. Otherwise, bring an extra pair. Because you never know.
Talc (baby powder) and a hair tie
Skip the overpriced dry shampoo and pick up a travel sized shaker of Talc at the grocery store instead. It works for swamp-ass from those hot, vinyl bus seats and when you've got greasy, unwashed hair, just sprinkle this directly into your hair close to the scalp and run your hands through to distribute. It's the next best thing to a proper hairwashing. When it's too dirty even for Talc to help, well, that's what the hair tie is for.
What are your non-standard must-haves for travel?
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