Toothbrush, camera, deodorant, passport – some things are backpacker basics. But adventuring females might want to be prepared for some contingencies their male counterparts haven’t thought of. Throw these girl-on-the-go supplies into your backpack on your next trip. You’ll thank us (and yourself) later.
Your Favorite Feminine Products – It’s true that you can find pads and tampons pretty much anywhere. Finding the ones you like may be a different story- and nobody likes venturing out of their comfort zone when dealing with their period. Plus, you may not know where to find what you’re looking for, and when you do you may have a hard time deciphering which box contains what you’re seeking. Besides, some cultures can be extremely uncomfortable to buy these things in. Basically – carrying your own never hurts.
Safe Sex Supplies – Because unless you’re already committed to a partner or are absolutely abstinent (both of which are all well and good) you never know what might happen. While romantic liaisons on the road can make wonderfully memorable experiences, they’re not travel adventures you want to take home any souvenirs from. That includes STDs as well as babies, so throw a few condoms in your bag, even if you’re on the pill. May as well be ready for anything, right? You should also make sure you know where you can get an STD test. Sites like STDCheck.com make it easy to order tests when you’re on the road as you can take them to a local doctor wherever you are.
First Aid 101 – You don’t need a full kit, but every good Girl Scout comes prepared for small bumps along the way. Pack a bottle of Ibuprofen, some Band-Aids (for blisters and falls!) and a topical antihistamine (for bug bites) – you’ll thank yourself later, and you might even earn some gratitude swooping to the rescue of the less prepared.
An Anti-Theft Plan– Have at least one bag with a strap long enough to wear across your body, instead of on one shoulder. It’ll be harder to grab than a one-shouldered bag, and more difficult to pickpocket than a backpack. You should also have a stash (or two) of extra cash, just in case, and an extra credit card hidden away in a place only you would think of to look.
A Little Armor – Nothing to add hassle to your day like unwanted male attention. A fake wedding ring (simple costume jewelry works well) can be a highly effective deterrent. You can even wear it on your right hand and quietly switch it to your left whenever you want to be “married.” Headphones are also great for making you less approachable to the entitled or sleazy – even if they’re not attached to anything, they make it easier to pretend you just didn’t hear or notice the objectification directed your way.
Super Scarf – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is famous for espousing the wisdom that a traveller should always know where his towel is. For female backpackers, the rule might be better applied to a scarf. A good scarf can keep you warm, kick an outfit up a few notches, help you be appropriate in places of worship, or simply cover your hair when it hasn’t been washed for a few days – and that’s just for starters. Scarves are lifesavers. Have at least one that you love.
Backpacker Chic Beauty Basics – Have a tube of bold lipstick that you look really good in, and a bottle of mascara. Because you never know if a situation will pop up where you want to look really good – and nothing’s easier to throw together in a flash than the classic big lip and simple mascara combo. You’ll be able to go from day-to-night in a flash – and you’re beautiful both ways.