Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature another 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. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.

An interview with packing tips from Ashley Abroad.

Tell us a little about about who you are, what your blog is called, and where you’re traveling now.

Hey! I’m Ashley and I blog over at AshleyAbroad.com. I just got back from a world trip through Europe, India and Asia but right now I’m home in Michigan.

Do you use a backpack or rolley suitcase for long-term travel?

While other backpackers love to hate it, I adore my rolling Osprey Sojourn 60 L pack. And after years of carrying a traditional backpack it’s such a joy to not have my back aching all day. (Also I got it on sale for $150- win!)

What’s great is I can wear it on my back if I need to- but in a year of traveling I only had to do it once, while boarding a longtail boat in Thailand.

backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroad

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?

When I travel in warm places I live in my black Ginger Drift Reef flip flops. I think I must’ve owned at least five pairs of the last ten years! I also pack Nike running shoes for outdoorsy activities like canyoning and hiking. But if I want to look more fashionable I bring my Steve Madden lace-up boots or black leather Tieks ballet flats.

Also on my ten-day hike in the Himalayas this spring I brought real hiking boots and I’m so glad I did- I can’t imagine hiking 6-8 hours of steep, sometimes snowy terrain in tennis shoes. I’ve had my Vasque hiking boots since I was 15 and I kind of hope they last forever.

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?

Well, when I’m traveling Europe I don’t keep away the love-handles- I tend to eat and drink to excess and inevitably put on a few pounds. (Living in Europe is a different story, but when I’m there for a short period of time I just want to eat, drink and be merry.)

When I’m in Asia I always lose weight even though I drink lots of beer and eat as much street food as my heart desires. I suspect this is because I forget to eat because I’m having so much fun, I get food poisoning semi-frequently, the beer is super light, the food is relatively healthy, I walk a ton, I do lots of adventure activities and I often stay out until dawn dancing.

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 bring most of my own products: LUSH Solid Shampoo, Venus razor with extra blades, make-up and other toiletries, and I pick up little things like soap and conditioner on the way.

backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroad

If someone said to you “I could never live out of a backpack for 3 months” what would be the first advice you would give them?

Living out of a backpack is surprisingly easier than it seems- it’s really amazing how little you actually need. The thing most people don’t realize is you don’t have to look like a grungy backpacker just because you’re living out of a backpack!

What type of outfit do you take in case of a night out clubbing or going to a fancy bar/hotel?

I wear a black tank top with my black BCBG bandage skirt that’s super comfortable but looks polished. And while I don’t love the look of a pencil skirt and flats, I wear the black Tieks I won in the Angie Away giveaway because they’re comfortable and pack up small. (Thanks, Angie!) I also make sure to brush my hair and use serum, wear make-up and throw on cheap costume jewelry.

What is the one material thing you miss most from home while you’re roughin’ it abroad?

Um, is it weird if I say my bathrobe? I love that thing. Which is why I have a Packtowl travel bathrobe that I also won in the Angie Away giveaway. It’s the best, especially in hostels.

When you’ve been on sleeping on trains and buses for days, what products do you use to freshen up or do you just wait until you find a hotel?

I love Simple face wipes to freshen up.

backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroadThe Hippie in Heels has to ask, would you ever pack heels on a backpacking trip?

Nope, they’re uncomfortable and bulky. At best I would bring espadrilles, but I haven’t done that in years.

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?

I wear leggings, flip flops and a hoodie. It’s also essential to have an eye mask and scarf for sleeping. Face wipes, lip balm and gum help too.

Do you have a special skin care routine on the road to prevent breakouts from the stress, sweat, and humidity?

I wash my face with CeraVe face wash and use Differin, a prescription acne cream, on my skin at night. I also remove my eye-makup with Almay  Longwear & Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads at night. During the day I use Olay Complete SPF 30 moisturizer.

What does your most worn, daily outfit look like while you’re traveling?

Basically I pack about a gazillion black tank tops and pair them with various bottoms: jean shorts, bandage skirts and colorful maxi skirts.

[Note from the Hippie, not surprised about the black tanks, this girl is a Paris girl at heart].

photo credit: Juilka of Sateless Suitcase

Tell us the ONE thing you pack for a long backpacking trip & would never leave behind.

My eye mask. I love that thing to death. It makes it so I can almost always sleep, whether on a crowded bus in Cambodia or a hotel room during the day.

And for the girls, what are your absolute favorite make up products you take with you on a trip?

I bring MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation (great for when you have a shiny face in Asia), Benefit They’re Real Mascara, Bobbi Brown Bronzer, Covergirl eyebrow pencil, stila waterproof liner, NARS lip pencil in Damned and bareMinerals blush and eyeshadow. The bareMinerals are great because they’re tiny. Also sometimes I bring liquid foundation, but that’s only if my skin’s really acting up and I’m in Europe.

You can only pick one: iPod or Kindle?

Wow, this is IMPOSSIBLE. I’d have to go iPod and then just pick up paperbacks as I go. Though I adore my Kindle and wouldn’t travel without it.

backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroad

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!

I’ll fall back on one of my favorite quotes, “Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.” And what better to invest in than your personal growth and understanding of the world?


backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroadAshley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21 and has been traveling the world ever since. She’s usually in pursuit of yoga, languages and perfectly ripe cheese and her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia. Reach her on facebook, twitter, and instagram.

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