Girls Travel Tips
Girls’ Travel Club was started by Becci Coombes, following two long trips backpacking around the world. She wrote a journal full of tips, recipes, anecdotes and bad jokes while she was travelling and kept notes of all the remedies she found useful.
She was also frustrated by the lack of beautiful and useful things for female travellers and holidaymakers, and was very aware how people who have not travelled before get sucked into buying a 100 litre rucksack full of things they’ll never use, or that are full of nasty chemicals and additives!
Top Travel Tips
A lavender roller-ball is my top essential; great for burns, cuts, spots, grazes, sunburn, bites, headaches, stress and of course jet lag and insomnia.
Drink a cup of camomile tea and put a camomile teabag in a warm bath to help you sleep. The used teabags make a great pick-me-up for tired travellers’ eyes, and an infusion will soothe and cool sunburn beautifully. Use as a gargle for sore throats or gums. Using it as a tea will help soothe gastric problems.
I always keep a tiny compass in my bag, so that even when lost in the most complicated of backstreet’s or markets, I can find my way out to the nearest main road.
Hanging the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your hotel door when you go out should help deter thieves.
Make sure you keep luggage labels covered, or tucked into a pocket so thieves can’t read the address of the property you’ve just left empty; I also always pin an extra luggage tag on the inside of my bags in case the outer ones get ripped off by some brute of a baggage handler!
A tiny dynamo torch is always in my bag, not only so I can read but also in case of emergency on tubes or planes. Put it by your bed as soon as you unpack so you’ll be able to find your way out in the dark if you have to, and make sure you check where the nearest exit is before you go to bed.
One of the key ways to stay safe is to look like you know where you’re going and have spent your whole life sauntering confidently through foreign streets; acting in a vulnerable way can just attract trouble and make you look like a possible target. Walk with a smile and your head held high, even if you have no idea where you are, then go and relax with a drink in the nearest coffee shop so you can study your map at leisure.
Keep some change in a small purse for paying for taxis, drinks etc. so you don’t have to sort through wads of cash in public!
An eye mask might make you look like a giant fly, but will make all the difference to your comfort on a long journey. They’re great for when you’re trying to sleep off jet-lag and the morning light is streaming through the curtains, or when your companion wants to read when you want to sleep! Make sure you get an anatomically shaped one, so it doesn’t press uncomfortably against your eyelids or smudge your make-up.
Zip lock plastic bags are perfect for wet swimming costumes, leaky sun cream bottles or to keep your passport and photocopies nice and dry. They can even be used as makeshift picnic bags for salads, sandwiches and cut fruit.
An onion is always easy to find and has a whole range of uses. Rub a cut onion on cuts and grazes as an emergency antiseptic, and leave a cut onion by your bed to deter mozzies. Great on spots and insect bites. For sore throats and colds, chop an onion into a jar or cup, add a couple of tablespoons of honey and leave to infuse for a couple of hours; have a couple of spoonfuls of the resulting liquid as if it were a cough syrup and you’ll feel much better!
Elastic bands are great for keeping your kit tidy. Secure your flip flops together, keep your journal safely closed, and roll all your clothes up and band them to save space.
Tea tree oil is another antiseptic wonder. A couple of drops in your shampoo is said to help dandruff and prevent head lice. Add a couple of drops to your bathwater to soothe thrush or athlete’s foot, or use as an antiseptic wash. A tiny amount in a basin full of hot water will also make an excellent inhalation to ease congestion and help fight infection.
Micropore tape is a versatile essential; use it as a small plaster on cuts, blisters and scratches. Also invaluable for taping leaflets and tickets into your diary, mending small rips in rucksacks, sticking photos onto the wall above your bed, leaving messages on doors.
Everyone knows arnica tablets are a great treatment for bruises, but it also helps to restore sleep patterns and is an excellent remedy for fear of flying.
Elasticated bandage can make a great little hidden money/card safe. Wear a section doubled up round your ankle or calf and tuck your notes in it; it takes a bit of getting used to, and obviously you could only do it if you were wearing trousers but it makes a neat little extra hidey-hole for valuable bits and pieces
Written by A. R. Coombes