Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. I’m looking for more participants, so e-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
An interview with packing tips from Chantae Was Here
Tell us a little about about who you are, what your blog is called, and where you’re traveling now.
Hi Rachel! It’s nice to be on your corner of the internet. I’m Chantae, a travel and extreme sports blogger on Chantae Was Here. At the moment, I’m living in beautiful Perth which is a lonely city located in Western Australia. I use this as a base to explore the rest of Australia and South East Asia.
Do you use a backpack or rolley suitcase for long-term travel?
I’m a backpackvocate all the way. For longer trips, like my six month trip to Europe, I lived out of a Deuter 65L SL backpack made specifically for females because it has a shorter back. It’s a German brand, which means it must be good. I love it so much that I’ve even convinced friends of mine to purchase the exact same one. For short trips, I take a small Patagonia 25L backpack with a mesh compartment in the front that is perfect for storing wet gear – like bathing suits and towels, and a strap on the front to hold my travel sized yoga mat. My dedication to my backpack was solidified when I had to help carry my friend’s 50 kg suitcase after the wheels popped off on a cobblestone street!
What shoes are your every day walking around, sightseeing shoes? And how many pairs of shoes do you pack for a long-term backpacking trip?
My mom bought me a pair of electric blue Vans with hot pink laces, and I’m pretty sure she regrets it now. I wear those shoes everywhere. Whenever I send pictures of myself in a new place, her first response is, “The pictures are great – but you need new shoes!” I travel with the Vans as my general shoes, a pair of cute Rainbow flip flops because they are high quality and last forever, and a pair of Asics running shoes… which also happen to be electric blue and pink, now that I think about it. If the country I’m visiting has an upscale nightlife, I’ll buy a cheap pair of shoes for going out and ditch them when I’m done with the destination.
When you’re pigging out trying new foods, other than typical walking & sightseeing in towns- what do you do to keep away the love-handles?
*Pinches love handles* Hm, well I can’t say that I’ve managed to keep the love handles completely away, but I keep them from evolving into a love steering-wheel by trying any of the local sports and activities. In Switzerland, I made an effort to hike great mountain peaks. In Australia, I’ve adopted kitesurfing and surfing as my main form of exercise. In Bali, it’s daily yoga that keeps me moving. I find that different cultures cater to different adventures, so one way of exploring a place is taking part in what the outdoor scene has to offer. When in doubt, I throw on my running shoes and go for a jog. Sometimes the concept of running for fun is so unfamiliar in a country, I’ve had shopkeepers come out of their stores and yell “Go! Go! Go!” as if I were a contender in the New York Marathon!
When you’re traveling, do you pick up beauty & shower products while you go or are there products you can’t live without- what are they?
I have a list of things that I will always pack, no matter the destination. This includes Solid Shampoo by LUSH. I love the Karma bar and almost strangled my partner when he used it as an all-over body soap, but for those looking to save space, it really does double as a soap and shampoo. Since I’m in the sun and in the ocean for much of my travels, I always bring moroccan oil as a detangler, and sunscreen of course! Also, every water-loving long haired girl must have a The Wet Brush! That thing is worth taking up some space for.
For conditioners and general body soaps, I stick to buying something local once I’m there. It’s fun to try different sample sizes and I’m not too gutted if they get lost or left behind.
For those who thing living out of a backpack is impossible, what tips do you have for saving space or what things have you learned you actually don’t need to pack?
Dear unfortunate people of the world who think this way,
Have you ever tried a packing cubes? They organize all of your clothes and items into smaller compartments, so that in the middle of the night when you’re searching for your favorite pair of socks, you only have to search a small cube, rather than your entire suitcase or backpack. This keeps items from shifting or expanding too much. A helpful side note, always roll your clothes (don’t fold!) to save space and prevent wrinkles.
Having a color scheme with your clothes helps everything layer nicely and match. You can change an entire outfit by accessorizing, so packing a few funky necklaces will keep you looking stylish without having to carry an entire wardrobe of trendy items.
Lastly, please don’t bother bringing electric beauty appliances. Chances are, especially if you’re American, you’re going to fry your hair because the voltage conversions are different in other countries and will make your curling iron light up like a 4th of July sparkler. It’s not a pretty sight. I learned this the hard way! I’m not saying to let your hair form natural dreadlocks, but these appliances take up a lot of space. Chances are you won’t use them because you’ll be too excited about going and seeing the destination and won’t want to spend this time on your hair anyways.
Believe in yourself and your packing abilities!
The Hippie in Heels has to ask, would you ever pack heels on a backpacking trip?
I would if the destination calls for it. A backpacking trip that includes Ibiza, Las Vegas, or even Sydney on the list? Definitely. A road trip through Western Australia? I’ll save the space for a snorkel set.
What type of outfit do you take in case of a night out clubbing or going to a fancy bar/hotel?
I keep it simple. A short black dress and some fun jewelry! Like I said, I love to have things that match inside my backpack, so usually I can make the dress more fancy with a lace cardigan, a bit of makeup, and a pair of not-worn-out shoes.
What is the one material thing you miss most from home while you’re roughin’ it abroad?
I have yet to travel with my laptop. Only an iPad with a keyboard… which is not the same at all! So while it does the trick, there’s nothing like having the comfort of my laptop that can do so much more than my (elderly in tech years) iPad ever could.
Airport style: love looking LA paparazzi ready or could care less? Do you pack “plane” or “relaxing” clothes for a long-term backpacking trip or would it take up too much space?
Oh man, do I ever look LA paparazzi ready? For short flights, like ones under five hours, I dress as I would for the day. So if I would wear a nice pair of jeans at the destination, then I would wear those jeans on my flight. However, a flight to Australia is over twenty hours of airtime, and there’s no way even Perez Hilton can shame me for looking like a bum on that! For those, I stick to yoga pants, a comfortable top, and a sweater. I take lotion to keep my skin from drying out, and swap my contacts for glasses. Maybe it’s not the prettiest sight, but comfort is my utmost priority on those flights.
And for the girls, what are your absolute favorite make up products you take with you on a trip?
A good all around makeup pallet is the Urban Decay Naked Pallet – any of the models. Ever the Urban Decay addict, I also bring along their eyeshadow primer and black eyeliner. To complete my makeup kit, I throw in my rarely used Smashbox liquid foundation. Other than this, I buy my mascara, sunscreen, and lotion as I travel.
Do you have a special skin care routine on the road to prevent breakouts from the stress, sweat, and humidity?
Thanking my lucky stars that I generally don’t break out, the most important thing I pack for my skin is sunscreen. Skin cancer runs in my family and I spend a lot of time in the sun, so this is usually my number 1 priority when it comes to skin care. And call me a hippie, but I think a nice dip into the ocean is one of the best things you can do for your skin. The salt water cleans any oil or sweat that’s built up throughout the day.
What does your most worn, daily outfit look like while you’re traveling?
In warm weather, I live in a pair of low riding jean shorts or boardies with a T-shirt. In colder weather, you can find me with a maxi skirt and cardigan. I try to change my style to the destination – a sarong worn as a dress every day in Bali might be what I rock there, but would get me some interesting stares in Bavaria!
Tell us the ONE thing you pack for a long backpacking trip & would never leave behind.
I would never leave my camera behind. I’m obsessed with memory keeping and documenting my travels – as all travel bloggers tend to be. It’s basically another appendage of mine whenever I leave my house.
You can only pick one: iPod or Kindle?
Kindle. I am obsessed with adventure stories and immerse myself into them completely. I find that books stimulate my mind in a way that music doesn’t seem to do. The only downfall of this is that I often get wanderlust of another place while I’m traveling through somewhere. I’ll be sitting in the car on a road trip through Western Australia, look up from reading a the book, Wild, and think, “Damn. I really wish I could go hike the PCT.” To prevent this, I try to find great books about the destination while I’m there.
Thank you for interviewing on Hippie in Heels, before you go can you tell readers that may be on the fence about taking a trip why YOU think they should go for it!
You will absolutely never regret going on that trip. There are so many resources now that make traveling accessible to even people with small budgets. You’ll gain so much confidence in yourself and your ability to see the world. You’ll meet so many people. You’ll learn so much about not only the place you visit but the place you come from as you look back on your old life through a new perspective. It’s incredible, and there’s no perfect time to go. Everyone says they want to see the world. Only 1% make that happen for themselves. You can be that 1%.
Chantae is an adventure addict who can be found traveling the world – usually with a surfboard under her arm – and writing about it on Chantae Was Here. In 2010, she spent every penny she had on a plane ticket to Central America and hasn’t stopped exploring the world ever since. Connect with her on twitter, facebook, and instagram.
Shop Chantae’s Faves!
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