Friday, March 1, 2013

Travel Light, Travel Vegan

On my recent travels, I encountered many people with monstrously huge bags.  I was traveling with a group for the first ten days of my trip, and most of these people would only be traveling a grand total of ten days.  However, they had brought humongous suitcases packed full plus a decent sized carry on.  I had a suitcase that met the dimensions to be a carry on… and a purse, a regular sized purse.  My suitcase ended up being searched by the TSA because an agent for the airline couldn’t believe I would be gone for almost two months with such a tiny bag.

Traveling this lightly is apparently a feat in and of itself but factoring in that I only use cruelty free toiletry items made it nominally more awesome.  I would often replace or pick up new beauty and hygiene products as I traveled in the past but no more.  What would happen if I ran out of cruelty free toothpaste in Israel or my deodorant in France (this one actually happened on previous travels… never buy French deodorant!)?  I would have no idea where to buy often obscure cruelty free toiletries if they are available at all.  As it is, I purchase most of my items through vitacost.

There are many, many resources for packing lightly and intelligently but hopefully someone will find my two cents helpful.
1.       Pack multitasking and solid products
This is a great space saving idea in general but is especially important if you are flying with a carry on.  Since the amount of liquids you can carry on is very limited, make sure you bring items that multitask to save space.  For example, I packed my small bottle of Argan Oil instead of bringing two separate containers of hair conditioner and hand crème. Also, if you have a solid version of a product, such as deodorant or shampoo, pack that instead.

2.       Pack lots of what you can’t live without
I can’t live without Qtips and chapstick.  Therefore I packed a fistful of Qtips and 4-5 chapsticks (I’m loving the Hurraw! brand if you haven’t check out their products yet!).  Chances are that I may not find a cruelty free/vegan brand while traveling, and these are products I know I would have to purchase to preserve my sanity if I lost or ran out of them during my travels.  Ladies, pack your cruelty free tampons/pads/cups etc. since these are definitely a must have.

3.       You need to pack fewer clothes than you think
A)  I wash my clothes as I travel to save space.  Are you visiting family on your travels?  Wash your clothes at their house.  Hotels and hostels have laundry facilities for varying prices.  Cities have Laundromats.  If you’re traveling with others, combine your loads and split the cost.  Most places offer detergent and dryer sheets, but they aren’t cruelty free. Shove some Seventh Generation laundry detergent packs and dryer sheets in your bag.  For reference, I was gone seven weeks and only did four loads.  I probably could have gotten away with three because I used undershirts.
B)  As I history person, I was watching a documentary on British hygiene in Elizabethan England.  Their elaborate outer clothes were never or rarely washed but the white, ruffled underclothes were changed daily.  These soaked up all the sweat and protected the outer clothes.  So, I packed a few tank tops and too thin long sleeved shirts to wear under my clothes.  These thin, small garments allowed me to re-wear clothing more often rather than packing extra bulkier shirts.

4.      Vegans, pack food!
Happycow where you will be traveling and usually you will find many options.  However, it is never bad to be prepared especially since I knew I was heading a few places with limited food options.  I bought a bunch of Clif Bars before I left and jammed them into the crevices and corners of my bag. 
When traveling with the group, there were vegan options but the options weren’t varied enough to keep my happy or provide all the nutrients I needed.  These were a great boost plus a good snack since the group would often have five to six hours between breakfast and lunch.  You may want to look into food options on planes since I didn’t and obviously had a rough time with it. 
Clif Bars served as my emergency snacks on planes, trains, and automobiles.  I was traveling internationally and had no problem bringing these.  I assume all packaged foods are fine and one girl in my group actually flew from L.A. to Tel Aviv with fresh fruit on her (although I would not advise this).

Do you have any other vegan and cruelty free travel tips?  Please share!


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