Lightening the Load
It actually was not too long ago that I had the realization that I was carrying WAY TOO MUCH stuff with me when traveling; more specifically: personal items and toiletries. So I put together a blog post on what to bring along and what to leave at home, leaving more room in your suitcase for camera gear of course.
Supermarkets to the Rescue
Nowadays, I make a supermarket one of my first stops when visiting another country. Think of it as a one stop shop for all the things that you forgot, or were smart enough to leave at home.
Lotion, toothpaste, shampoo... why are you carrying all that DEAD weight and subjecting your checked bags to extra TSA screening? These are three common things that can be purchased upon arrival, and can often times be purchased for much cheaper than what you will pay at home. Take a look at my list of items:
Leave it at home
• Soap/ Bodywash
• First Aid Stuff
People that live where you are going, will most likely need the same daily necessities that you do, so why even bother to bring them along? Toothpaste, lotion, body wash and shampoo... all these things are bulky and heavy!
So, what SHOULD you bring along despite the size and weight? Here is a quick list of stuff that can be difficult if not impossible to find while traveling.
What you can't get
(or is overpriced) in most foreign countries
• Your brand of deodorant
• Organic and Certified Fair-Trade Products
• Insect Repellant
Now, if you don't have particular brands that you necessarily stick to, or do not have a conscious/tolerance for using organic and fair trade products, this list is MUCH smaller.
I had the damnedest time finding SURE deodorant... actually I couldn't find it at all in the Philippines and ended up having to switch brands. Sunblock and insect repellant spray with DEET is easy enough to find, but is very expensive in both Asia and South America.
I also have a fondness for Dr Bronner's castille soap. To me, it functions as a body wash, hand sanitizer and even a liquid detergent if hand washing any clothes becomes necessary. It is worth the weight to me.
For the most part, that’s it. Obviously it depends where you are going and how large of a city you are going to within that country, but even in many remote and developing nations, supermarkets are awesome.