Traveling with contact lenses & glasses: A Quick Guide

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Should you take monthlies or dailies? How much contact lens solution should you take? Should you take your usual glasses?

Before I embarked on my Round The World adventure, I asked my optician what he thought and his advice served me well so I thought I would share it with you:

Monthlies vs. dailies

The first piece of information my optician parted to me was that if you are happy with your lenses, stick with them. Travelling with lenses you’ve never tried or tested before is risky because eyes can be very sensitive, and it could be one or two months before you realise that a new pair is causing problems.

However, if you’re reading this with plenty of time to spare and have the opportunity to try a more travel-friendly lens, definitely consider the following:

  • If you wear monthlies, opt for a pair that you can sleep in. Long days that roll on well into the sociable night, overnight buses, and air conditioning make 8 hour lenses less practical. You want to ensure that if you accidentally fall asleep in your lenses or if you have a long day out, you won’t be left gouging your eyes out.
  • Dailies are great for backpacking trips lasting three to four months, especially where sanitation is poor and quality contact lens solution is difficult to buy. Bottles of solution will only weigh you down, even if they’re travel sized, and dailies are more hygienic than monthlies. Plus, if you lose or damage a lens it’s not as troublesome as you’ll be due a new pair the next day.
  • My optician recommended that for a year-long trip I should continue using my monthlies. He didn’t think that I would want to carry a large expensive box of lenses backpacking. My monthlies took up next to no room, and I carried two bottles of solution to last me four month until I could buy more.
  • Dailies can be almost double the price of monthlies. For me, the bottom line was that I couldn’t justify the extra expense when my monthlies were working just fine.

I wore monthlies for the entirety of my trip. My only regret is that I didn’t upgrade to a pair that could be worn night and day (24hrs).

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Perfect Gifts for Travellers

We travellers are difficult to buy gifts for much of the time: we can’t carry many clothes in our suitcases and backpacks; we don’t like lugging around huge bottles of toiletries; and some of us have a habit of shunning material items in favour of “experiences”.

So what do you buy for the friend or relative who loves to travel?

 

1. Notebooks

1. Travel Journal + Stationary

I would generally recommend a blank notebook rather than a purpose-made travel journal (travel journals are restrictive and don’t allow much for creative thoughts and tangents.) I prefer size A6 but A5 is also good.

A travel journal will quickly become any traveller’s most prized possession.

If your friend isn’t much of a writer, leave them a note to write the one single best thing about each day. It could be a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or a whole page.

If you have a friend that loves to write, treat them to a Moleskin. This limited edition Hobbit Moleskin notebook is amazing! However, I have also been eyeing up this more affordable journal from Typo.

Choose a notebook with either a leather or plastic cover so that it is relatively waterproof, and be wary of spiral notebooks (they tend to get caught on things in the backpack and they take up more space!)

Tip: You can create a whole Travel Stationary Gift Set: include a stash of biros, an A5 plastic wallet for all their travel documents, a passport cover and a luggage tag.

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Travel & Backpacking Makeup

Travel and Backpacking Makeup - 600x600

So, you are about to embark on a travel adventure and you can’t decide on the best makeup to take with you. You need to pack as light as possible, and you like the idea of being natural and makeup-free, but you also want a good solid kit that enables you to create both casual and dramatic looks.

Firstly, let’s start with the makeup packing rules:

  1. No powders – powdered eyeshadows, bronzers and blushers, etc will break, unless they have thick and resilient packaging. (The eyeshadow and blusher quads that I packed all broke within my first two weeks of backpacking). Try to stick to gels, solids and mousses as much as possible.
  2. Avoid brushes if you can – they are high maintenance as they need to be washed frequently. Plus, they take up valuable space.
  3. Choose makeup that can be used for more than one purpose – Can you use your eyebrow pencil as an eyeliner? Do you have a lipstick that can also double up as a blusher?
  4. No once-in-a-lifetime designer products – I can’t count the number of times that I have met a girl in a hostel who was distraught because she lost her Chanel foundation or Dior eye palette. Never take anything that you care about. Drug store products are your best friend.
  5. Try to find products with sturdy packaging – many makeup palettes and quads have flimsy plastic packaging that cracks all too easily.

(If you want to read more about other beauty essentials such as hair products and skin care, I have already got you covered in a previous post).

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Feel Good Blogging Challenge Day #5: What to Pack in your Hand Luggage

What to Pack in your hand luggage

Make sure you check out:

Day #1: A Simple Introduction

Day #2: The Time I was Almost Left At The Grand Canyon

Day #3: A Guide to Hitchhiking (as safely as you can!)

Day #4: 10 Random Facts About Me (that you probably didn’t know)

Today’s task is to share something useful with my readers. I honestly can’t think of a better topic than to talk about what a backpacker should pack in their hand luggage.

Blog posts and YouTube videos on the subject often display perfectly coiffed beauty gurus embarking on luxury holidays, pulling out a perfect lip balm or some deluxe healthy snack from a Chanel handbag.

However, what I need to know is what to take on a long haul flight, particularly from the point of view of being a long-term traveller and/or backpacker. Whilst I am sure that scented hand sanitizer is nice (the one time I took hand sanitizer in my carry-on it exploded all over my seat mate due to the cabin pressure…awkward), I follow one simple rule:

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Travel Packing: Backpacking Beauty Essentials

TRAVEL PACKING

The last thing that you want when you’re backpacking is to be carrying around a dozen heavy bottles of various potions. Equally, if you’re going somewhere exotic there is a chance that you won’t be able to find your favourite beauty products in the local street market.

When you pack your beauty products you need to look for items that will last your trip and that can also potentially be used for more than one purpose.

So, without further ado, here is my tried and tested list of backpacking beauty essentials:

1. Lush’s Solid Shampoo Bar. Shampoo bottles are heavy, and travel sized bottles are both expensive and short-lived. Instead, pack a shampoo bar. It looks like a standard bar of soap but it washes your hair incredibly well and lasts approximately 3 months. Double it up as your body soap. I love the Jumping Juniper scent.

JUMPING JUNIPER - LUSH

2. Lush’s No Drought dry shampoo. Freezing cold showers and dirty bathrooms can make washing long hair a nightmare. Before travelling I was a disciple of the canned dry shampoos like Batiste. However, cans don’t always last very long and I knew that I wasn’t likely to find a replacement in the markets of Bolivia. Lush’s dry shampoo comes as a loose powder which can make it a little messy, but it’s effective and lightweight and the bottle lasts forever.

3. Leave-in conditioner. If you cannot do without a hair conditioner, HERBAL ESSENCES LEAVE INuse a good leave-in conditioner rather than one you wash-in and wash-out in the shower. They’re more intensive and last longer as a little product goes a long way. Herbal Essence’s Beautiful Ends Protect Cream is hands down my favourite of all time. If you haven’t tried this product already, trust me when I say that you need – it smells amazing and leaves your hair blissfully smooth.

3. Talcum powder. If you’re going trekking and/or wearing trekking boots for long periods of time, talcum powder is a must. Good ol’ humble talc will keep your feet clean and dry, preventing nasty cases of athletes foot and other fungal infections.Talcum powder can also double up as a dry shampoo if you’re looking to cut back on products.

4. Tweezers. Necessary for plucking eyebrows and picking out nasty splinters.

5. Nail clippers. It’s a good idea to keep your nails short for hygiene reasons. I also find that keeping my toenails short stops them from painfully pushing against the ends of my trekking shoes when I’m walking down steep hills. Not to mention that it helps keep away those nasty fungal infections!

6. Scissors. For trimming hair above and below. You can also use them to trim your nails if you don’t want to pack clippers. Moreover, scissors are just plain handy and practical to have in your backpack.

7. Dual purpose moisturiser. You will especially need a moisturiser if you are travelling to a colder destination or somewhere with high altitude as the climate will dry your skin out. However, I recommend finding a moisturiser that can be used for both your face and body, rather than bringing separate bottles. My favourite dual-purpose moisturisers are Nivea Creme and Nivea Soft.

6. Compact mirror and hair brush. Get a small travel NIVEA ROLL-ONhair brush with a compact mirror built into it.

8. Roll on deodorant. Long-lasting, compact and essential. Aerosol deodorants don’t last as long and tend to take up more room in your bag. I swear by Nivea’s Pearl and Beauty roll-on.

9. Body mist. I ditched the aerosol cans and heavy glass perfume bottles in favour of inexpensive plastic-bottled body mists. They’re cheap and lightweight, cool you down in heat, and make you feel a million times prettier on a night out. I recommend the Boots Extracts Body Sprays as their fruit scents are refreshing and Victoria Secret’s fragrance mists (I love the Passion Struck scent), but if you can’t find them I love Soap and Glory’s Mist You Madly and the Body Shop Body Mists.

10. Razors. I never found razors that I liked when I was in South America. Most people have a particular brand or type of razor that they like to use, and it’s for this reason I recommend packing it in advance. I always use Bic’s Twin Lady/Silky Touch.

12. Hair ties. Take plenty with you – you will lose many in between lending them and dropping them on dusty foreign roads. If you are like me and have heavy long hair that slips down, use H&M’s hair elastics. I cannot tell you how good they are – they’re firm but stretch enough for you to wrap them around your pony tail several times.

PS: You can read my complete packing list of everything that I took with me to South America in a previous post.

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