So, what do you REALLY need when you’re gone for some months and all you have is a backpack or a small case with wheels? I touched the subject on my post What you need to know before backpacking + on the road but on his post I’m aiming to be more thorough. WARNING: It’s the longest post ever 😉 but I have faith that it’s extremely helpful.
When I backpacked in South-East Asia for two months in the beginning of this year, I had no idea what to bring with me. There was no use for me to read posts written by other people regarding this subject, because even when I’m in the middle of nowhere, it’s boiling hot and no point using make-up, I still care about what I wear, I still want to feel like me. Not every person who (especially) backpack care too much, nevertheless I’m happy if it works for them! Before starting the journey in Vietnam in January I packed a little bit of this and a little bit of that; I soon realised that I could’ve done so much better. I ended up buying clothes and accessories whilst in Asia and replacing some of my previous ones. It worked out alright, since buying stuff in Asia is cheap, but it’s not exactly ethical to buy new things and throw previous ones out simply because you have no space for them nor there are any charity shops around.
Here’s how I advice you, my dear readers:
– You need at least four tops with you, for example two strap and two t-shirts depending where you’re travelling to. In religious destinations you need to have your shoulders covered in temples and locals respect you if you do that outside the temples too.
– Two pairs of shorts and/or skirts. Again, if you’re planning to go to a religious country, you need to have your knees covered but instead of wearing long trousers or a long, knee-lenght skirt (unless you’re super tall, for us shorter people a knee-lenght skirt is not a very admiring option) you can simply buy a sarong and wrap it around your waist so you’re knees are literally covered + you look all groovy and bohemian chic.
– One pair of long trousers. In hot countries there tends to be a lot of aircon. First, long flights. Second, AC coaches (long-distance buses). Third, malls. Having a pair of long trousers is also a good backup when your serong is in the wash and you’re planning to visit a temple.
– Two nice dresses or jumpsuits; one for more special occassions, like when you’re off to a fancy restaurant in Dubai or a skybar in Singapore, and one for when you’ve had enough looking like you’ve been hiking for 24h straight!
– One jacket. Oh, it’s a pain to carry around, I admit it, but when there’s a situation where something warmer is needed, I’m so thankful I’ve brought a jacket with me.
TIP: Also, if you’re going somewhere that requires a bit more dressed-up outfit, you can simply throw a leather(y) jacket on top of your shoulders, add a couple of accessories and bang! You’re sorted for your night out!
– 1 cozy wear, like a kimono. If you’re staying in a place with a shared bathroom (yes, my dear Western readers, it’s the case in a lot of places and it’s actually OK!) or you need to nip out for dinner after a long day at the beach, it’s sooo nice to have something to just put on without thinking about it too much.
All recommended products are cruelty-free, most of them vegan
Okay, when you’re backpacking, you won’t have much chance to use make-up and there really isn’t any point in places like Indonesia or Myanmar, if I’m honest. It’s hot and sunny and wearing your actual sun kissed tan is much lovelier than a thick layer of foundation or BB/CC-cream. Here’s some essentials for if you want to make a little effort for when you go for dinner in the nearest noodle shack!
– Bronzer is the most useful piece of make-up you can imagine for when you’re backpacking or wheeling around the world! I’ve used Sleek’s Countouring & Blush Palette more than I’ve used any piece of make-up, ever! It combines basic bronzer, a darker shade and a golden, shimmery highlighter. When you’re tanned, adding a little bronze to your cheekbones makes you look fresh and ready for any action. When we were in Athens, I felt like adding golden shimmer to my nose and top of my cheeks to give a nice glow for the photos (I also sprinkled a little on my eyelids!) and that’s when a combination palette comes handy; it helps you to avoid dragging a lot of stuff with you.
– Eyebrow palette: this is the 2nd most used item of mine. My eyebrows aren’t too dark, (naturally, since I’m blonde) so having two different shades for eyebrows gives you a possibility to have those otherwise limited options! Bobbi Brown’s Brow Kit: Saddle/Mahogany lasts through 50 degrees and, as an excellent plus, works as an eyeshadow palette as well! If you just need a quick smokey eye look, the darker shade does the job.
– Brushes: it’s essential that you have at least a few different brushes for certain purposes. You can combine some too, as I for example bought a two end brush for both applying bronzer(s) and blending it. A two-end brush is also great for doing your eyebrows, because you need a certain type of brush for base/outlining and another for filling. When I really want to make an effort on my look I put on my absolutely favourite CC-cream ever, Correzione Ideale by Bottega Verde and I love my We Care Icon’s Angled Buffer brush for that. It’s thick, yet remains soft after use.
Add ons: As I mentioned above, CC/BB-cream, foundation or any equivalent is always good to have with you whilst on the go. Mascara when you want to make a special effort (my recommendation: Mascara Allungaciglia by Bottega Verde and/or True Natural Volume by Lumene depending on how many layers you want to apply) and of course, a lipstick or two (I use Mac or Bottega). It all depends on your travel destinations and whether you are backpacking, wheeling or have a check-in bag. It’s most awkward to carry make-up around with you when you’ve got a backpack on and definitely the best with a check-in bag since you won’t have any liquid limits. Next time we’re travelling I’m definitely taking my wheelie case! Need to check out the market for not-too-heavy backpacks with wheels as well…
My skin is mixed; it’s mainly greasy but it has dry areas too, especially after spending a lot of time in aircon. My top tips for skincare whilst travelling are:
– Face wash for your skin type. It’s essential to wash your face at least once a day, sometimes twice to keep the effect of pollutions off and avoiding pimples as much as possible as a result from the use of sun cream.
I use Bottega Verde: Rosa Mosqueta
– Scrub. I don’t scrub every day, but it’s an important bottle in your bag to have. From twice to four times a week it purifies your skin and digs all the nastiness out from your deep pores.
I use Bottega Verde: Pink Grapefruit Face Scrub
– Cream + oiling. In order to keep your skin healthy, balanced and glowing you need to apply moisturizer twice daily or if you’re lazy, just at night. During the night your skin is ready to infiltrate and that’s why it’s essential for you to keep your main focus on that. I always blend three drops of Argan oil onto my face cream before applying making sure that the good ingredients will spread and result a lovely, glowy skin.
I use Bottega Verde: Miele Honey day cream + Argan Oil del Marocco
A TIP FOR BUYING COCONUT OIL OUTSIDE WESTERN COUNTRIES: Coconut oil is amazing, and I have used it instead of cream + oil combination multiple times but when buying it outside Western countries, you need to make sure you’re getting organic oil and not processed oil because processed coconut oil will do the opposite job and give you spots. Google where you can get the goods in the country you’re in, or go to the local mall and they usually have a proper shop/stand for the skincare product.
As I mentioned on What you need to know before backpacking + on the road post, a definite I saw the light!-moment was when we realised that we should bring empty 100ml bottles for shampoo and shower gel refills! Instead of struggling to find shampoo in the middle of nowhere or throwing big, half-empty bottles away because you can’t carry them, having two refill bottles with you at all times is the most crucial thing you need! Also earplugs and an eye mask can be extremely handy whenever there’s a lot of noise or hardly any curtains in the room.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below ❤