When it comes to travel beauty tips on the road, girls have more to worry about than guys. How many pairs of shoes do you need to pack? How do you cope with all the clothes and products you want to take? And how can you feel sexy when you’ve been on a crowded, sweaty bus for two days?
I know what you’re thinking: “But Andy, you’re a dude. What could you know of the ways of girly backpacking?” Fear not, travel reader, for I have consulted the female backpacking community for the answers to the above questions. And yes, by ‘female backpacking community’ I mean gapyear.com members Clare Maher, Gemma Knight, Hannah Simmons, Alexandra Quinton and Katie Finn (who really needs to get herself a site profile).
So, here are their brilliant hints, tips and secrets that can make travelling as a girl a whole lot easier. Written by me. A man.
1. Don’t let your make up melt
Here’s a fun fact for you: Make up melts; especially lip balm, which turns into some kind of weird, molten substance. At the risk of sounding like the back of a food packet, store it in a cool, dry place. Maybe even, when you’re stopped, a fridge. Then your make up can function as a nice, refreshing face cooler too.
2. Streamline your wardrobe
When you travel it doesn’t matter if you wear the same dress for every party or the same combination of tops, shorts and skirts for several months because you’ll be wearing them in a different place each time and no-one will notice. Remember that by bringing fewer clothes and purchasing items while you travel you’ll actually be helping the local economy – a perfect clothes-shopping excuse!
3. Take one really beautiful pair of panties
When you’ve been on a bus for two days, sleep deprived, greasy haired and desperate for a shower, it’s well worth knowing that despite all that, lurking somewhere underneath your sweats and hoodie is underwear that makes you feel truly, truly gorgeous. Invaluable when you’re trying to summon the confidence to be sociable with a bus-full of fresh-faced fellow travellers.
4. Make the most of your bra
Bras with sewn-in pockets for chicken fillets or demi pads have always been great for one obvious reason: their delightful ability to immeasurably boost your confidence. But these handy little compartments also make a great place to keep a few notes of emergency cash so that, should you ever find yourself lost or stranded in unfamiliar climes, you’ll always have enough to get back to your hostel.
5. Remember to bottle it
Full-size bottles of shampoo, conditioner and other products and big and heavy, and you can easily avoid carrying all this bulkiness with you. While many pharmacies now sell ‘travel size’ bottles, it’s easier and cheaper to collect some little bottles of your own (old pill bottles, hotel samples, eye or ear drop bottles – even contact lens pots, face cream tubs and lip balm containers) and fill them with as much of each product as you’ll need. That’s a huge travel beauty tips win.
6. Decide who’s bringing what
Three girls travelling together do not need three guidebooks, nor do they need three hairdryers, straighteners or curling irons; instead, do yourselves a favour, and agree who will bring what before you leave home. You only really need one of each and, just as long as there aren’t any cat fights, you’ll still have easy access to all the grooming tools – not to mention a much lighter backpack.
7. Stock up on razors
Not every country is set up for smooth legs and shaved armpits. Razors in China, for example, are few and far between. While this is fine if you’re a fan of the au-naturale look, it’s obviously less fine if you’re not. If you’re spending a long period of time in a country like China that prefers its women ‘rustic’ or to use alternative beautification tools, it’s perhaps advisable to take a decent supply with you.
8. Limit your footwear
You probably only need three or four types of footwear: flip flops for beach and hanging out at the hostel, ballet pumps or casual flats for comfortable clubbing or city visits, trainers or walking shoes or boots for hiking and similar activities; and if you’re planning on visiting fancy restaurants or clubs or an office one pair of heels/smart shoes – although if you need the latter remember you can probably buy them in countries where you’d need/want to wear them.
9. Just go with the flow
Don’t stress out about what you look like and what you’re wearing. You’re travelling to see the world, not for the world to see you. Enjoy feeling comfortable no matter what you wear or how you look and just experience the incredible countries you are visiting. It can take time to lose that inhibition but once you do you will find your travel experience so much more rewarding. This might be the most important of all these travel beauty tips.
For more girls’ travel beauty tips read the Female Travel articles on gapyear.com, all written by members and experienced backpackers. Some of them women.