Hygiene abroad can be very interesting at times. You shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself on a bus one day, realizing that your last shower was three days ago, your laundry hasn’t been done in weeks, and your breath reeks like a sewer.


Keeping the hygiene standards you have at home will turn out to be pretty hard for the simple reasons that you’ll lack the time, facilities, and so on. Travelling definitely isn’t a fashion show – far from it in fact – but if you try to shower every once in a while, use deodorant, and brush your teeth daily, you’ll find that you’ll be a lot more successful when trying to ask directions or hitching a ride, and you’ll avoid the situation of people running away from you as soon as they see or smell you. Get the point..? ;)

Doing Laundry

Doing laundry sucks, as it takes time and money which could’ve been spent on many other way cooler things. But you simply can’t get out of it (unless you have some sort of fetish for filth and nasty odours)… Especially when you like to travel light, you definitely won’t be bringing your entire wardrobe with you. This means that you’ll have to do your laundry regularly. The easiest and also most expensive way to do your laundry is in launderettes. You’ll pay for the washing powder, and the machines. Expensive, but quick and efficient.

Nevertheless, there are two major cost saving possibilities. The first is: postpone doing your laundry. Who said you can’t wear your underwear two days in a row? Only when your clothes are either really smelly or incredibly filthy, they need cleaning. Otherwise, keep on wearing them. As has been said before: backpacking ain’t no fashion show!

Doing your laundry yourself is another cost saving option. You’ll only need to buy some soap, find yourself a shower, bathtub or sink, and you’re good to go. Water. Soap. Water. That’s the key, and anyone can do it.


Sent in travel tip (Anonymous):
“I could recommend anybody who’s going travelling to buy traveller’s shaving oil. It’s a very small bottle filled with an oily substance, which is the best replacement for bulky shaving cream flacons. It costs about 5 US Dollars, but will last you up to 100 shavings! You simple wet your beard (or whatever it is you want to shave), rub on a few drops of the shaving oil, and it works just as well as any other shaving cream. Saves weight, volume and money. Perfect stuff!”

The Almighty Bar of Soap and its Multi-Usability

One of my favourite things to travel with is a simple bar of soap. Available everywhere, very cheap, small, light, and oh-so handy when backpacking around. Here are the things I’ve used a normal bar of soap for during my travels:

  • Showering soap (dah..)
  • Shampoo
  • Dish detergent
  • Laundry
  • Shaving cream
  • Cleaning wounds

Medical Kit

Bring a medical kit with some basic supplies such as gauze, alcohol (the disinfecting kind that is ;), scissors, plasters, etcetera. Check with your doctor if you it’s necessary to get vaccinations or to bring certain medications when going abroad. Medication that can always come in handy are paracetamol and anti-diarrhoea pills.

Safe Sex

Everybody knows this stuff, but it’s still a topic that shouldn’t be neglected on a website about travelling, meeting new people and everything that results from it. So, here we go: whether you’re a guy or a girl, planning on getting laid or not: always bring condoms! Buy enough in your own country, as the quality in some far-away countries might not be what you expect it to be. “Better safe than sorry…” is still the motto. It’s easy to catch a common STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), but a bitch to get rid of – if you even can…

The most essential hygiene items

So to sum this entire information on travel hygiene section up, here are the things you should never ever be backpacking without:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Bar of soap!
  • Condoms
  • Medical kit

Simple, isn’t it? :)