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 Two Peas in a Pack
Tell us a little about about who you are, what your blog is called, and where you’re traveling now.
Hey Y’all! I’m Danni. I am one half of the Two Peas in a Pack travel blogging team. The other ‘pea’ is my boyfriend, travel buddy, and editor, Tom.
Together we left the magical New Orleans for a ten-month, carry-on only adventure around the world. Currently we are about half way through our trip. We just finished 6 months in Europe, Turkey, and Morocco.
At the moment we are exploring the Philippines followed by three more months exploring SE Asia. We hope to spend the last three months exploring Australia, New Zealand, and Japan before heading to Hawaii for a final hurrah.
Do you use a backpack or rolley suitcase for long-term travel?
I am a pretty big fan of my Osprey Meridian 22”. The Meridian is a hybrid and meets carry-on requirements. It’s essentially a wheeled bag with a curved back and backpack straps with hip flaps. It also comes with a handy detachable daypack.
I took ages to decide on a bag. I kind of felt a pressure to go hardcore backpacker and get a big pack, but I am happy I trusted my instincts and went small. The backpack function has only been needed three times tops. Does that make me a little bit of weenie? Perhaps. But I am a very happy back-pain-free weenie.
It was also a huge starting investment for me. At almost $400, I dithered for ages because of the sticker shock. Osprey’s lifetime guarantee and the fact this bag can be used for all kinds of trips won me over. After six months in the most cobblestoned cities in the world, the bag is still going strong and I have no complaints.
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?
As a rule, I carry around only three pairs of shoes at a time. I have two staples, my Havaianas Freedom flip-flops and a pair of trail runners, as well as one pair that rotates. I love my Haviana’s. They are a nude-gold and a t-strap. Fancy enough for going out if it’s kind of dark, but made of rubber for grody hostel showers and other questionable experiences. The trail runners have enough support for hiking and are light enough for the rare occasion I feel like jogging.
The everyday walking shoe changes with the season. This summer I wore lightweight slip-ons by Portovelo and then bought a pair of cheap kickass pleather (water resistance) boots when it started to get cold. I keep them comfortable by bringing my favorite innersoles from home.
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?
I struggle with this. Tom and I are obsessed with food and food culture. We eat often and have a hard time denying free samples or dinner invites. When it’s warm enough we try to run a couple days a week.
Tom also has converted me to body weight training, which is great because it requires little to no equipment (besides your bod of course!). I’m pretty sure anyone who has ever stayed with us in a hostel thought it was really weird when we try to do push-ups as inauspiciously as we could in the corner.
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 couple items I carry that are staples from home but I love trying out new products on the road. As a beauty product addict, I am fascinated by how makeup styles vary by city and love livening up my pack wardrobe by trying out different looks.
For shower stuff, Tom and I share two 2 ounce Nalgene bottles of shampoo and conditioner which we fill up whenever. I also carry shampoo and conditioner samples for the days we run out and can’t get more. Shampoo doubles as body gel and the conditioner I use as shaving cream. I don’t style my hair anymore and just wash and brush. If I’m feeling fancy, I put it in double buns like a 90s rave girl to make a nice wave.
For body products, the only I thing use are mini The Body Shop coconut body butter. My lotion luxuries add a little tiny bit of routine to make something feel familiar in a constantly changing environment.
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?
Compression sacks and packing cubes are lifesavers. I have one dry compression sack bySea to Summit that is extremely lightweight and holds most of my clothes. For the rest I use Eagle Creek packing cubes.
I try and mix a couple high-quality functional items, like my waterproof hiking pants by Prana and my quick dry leggings by Merrell, with cheap, cute, and comfy tops and dresses that I can send home, donate, or switch out on the road.
I also try to not have too many of the same item- You don’t really need six tank tops.
The Hippie in Heels has to ask, would you ever pack heels on a backpacking trip?
Yes, if I was going to fancy party or wedding in one of my first stops. Then I would probably mail them home or donate them.
What type of outfit do you take in case of a night out clubbing or going to a fancy bar/hotel?
My go to is all black with some statement jewelry . Normally a LBD or a skirt.
What is the one material thing you miss most from home while you’re roughin’ it abroad?
I miss all my favorite hardback books and my favorite brown booties.
What are your absolute favorite make up products you take with you on a trip?
In my former life I was a complete product junkie, so I have tons of thoughts about this. I wish I could say that the carry-on lifestyle has changed me completely and I am now a complete makeup ascetic, but it just wouldn’t be true. My makeup obsession lives on, just on a much smaller scale.
My staples include NARS tinted moisturizer, Maybelline gel eyeliner in Black, Inglot gel lipsticks, and my Z-Palette that contains blushes, eye shadows, and eyebrow powders. I also love a good translucent powder.
The NARS tinted moisturizer has an SPF 30 that I layer on top of a moisturizer with a SPF 30. I’m in the “You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your skin” camp for sure, especially with all the time spent walking outside.
The tinted moisturizer has a really natural looking medium coverage and blends with my skin tone when I am tan and when I my natural jaundiced pale. It’s somehow creamy with out being oily and layers like a dream. I only have to use a tiny blob each day so one 50ml bottle has lasted me six months and counting, which is great considering it sells for about $44 a pop.
I like the Maybelline gel eyeliner for its lasting power and multi-uses. Most of the time I use it for a classic cat-eye liner but I have used it as an eye shadow and even as a lipstick when I was a vampire on Halloween.
The gel consistency makes it easy to use and a stubborn guest on your eyelid for that inevitable ill-timed sideways rainstorm. Again, a tiny pot lasts me forever. It’s also reasonably priced. I love it so much that I bought an extra for a friend to send me if I run out on the road.
Inglot gel lipsticks are another product I love for their adaptability. I use them as lipsticks, blushes, eye shadows, and lip stains. The packaging is also thinner than the average lipstick so they don’t take up space. I have a classic red and a berry color that I dab on with Vaseline as a lip stain.
My Z Palette is one of my favorite things I brought from home. It’s a magnetic cardboard palette with a tough plastic clear top that allows you to put any kind of make-up you like in it. There are multiple sizes, but I find the six-inch by four-inch perfect for long-term travel.
I simply took my favorite pan makeup products out of their packaging and popped them in the palette. I have blushes and eye shadows from several different brands all in one palette. It did take some foresight on my part because it does take a little time to take the makeup out of their original packaging but it has saved me so much time and space.
Do you have a special skin care routine on the road to prevent breakouts from the stress, sweat, and humidity?
I quit using face cleanser about a month and a half into our trip. I got some kind of stress rash and my face went scaly like a discarded snakeskin. Sexy right? As a result, all I wash my face with is water and a towel and moisturize day and night. My skin is super dry (23 years old or 83 who knows?) so I use a heavy cream.
My skin has never looked better in my life. For years I had millions of assorted bottles of face stuff cluttering up my bathroom. I feel like I’ve finally figured my skin out. For a product junkie like me, this was only just short of a holy revelation.
That being said, everyone’s skin is unique so I wouldn’t suggest this to everyone. In general I’ve heard tons of good things about LUSH solid products.
For my eyes and lips, I use makeup-removing wipes for sensitive skin, but I always rinse with water after as the residue can irritate. I used to use coconut oil but I had an unfortunate run in with some ants. Whoops.
What does your most worn, daily outfit look like while you’re traveling?
Loose cotton high waist pants and a crop top or a ginormous flow-y button down tied at the waist. It’s modest enough for Morocco but so comfortable for long days of travel. In Europe, lots of knit dresses with or with out leggings.
Tell us the ONE thing you pack for a long backpacking trip & would never leave behind.
My ear plugs. Oh! Or maybe my Kindle. Are you sure I can’t have two?
You can only pick one: iPod or Kindle?
Kindle for sure. I read about six books a week. My bag would be way heavier if carried around my paperbacks.
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!
Travel is a learning experience whether you want it to be or not. I’ve learned more about myself in these past six months than have in the last six years. There is so much out there to explore. What do they say? You’ll never know if you never go. Also it’s so ridiculously fun. I would prescribe travel like medicine if I could.
Bio: Danielle is one half of the Two Peas in Pack blogging team. Together with her boyfriend, Tom she is traveling the world for ten months, with only 10 kilograms in a carry-on p../../Downloads/twopeasinapck.blogspot.comack. Being an adventurous spirit with anxious mind, she has a perverse obsession with trying things that scare her and then writing about it for strangers. She is a foodie, a photography junkie, and life-long nomad with no plans of stopping now. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.
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I have always wondered that how is it that one can trave for 10 months. I mean imagine the money that has to be spent to go through all the air travel and stay and food . Is it that people forgo their entire life’s savings ( though i am not sure even that would be enought ). I am quiet curious to know .
I’m happy to answer that question. In the end I travelled for 323 days and spent $20,000 or $61 a day.
This includes all flights, food, accommodation, clothes, gear, transportation…basically everything. Personally, I worked several jobs and saved every penny I could for three years. I also sold my belongings (my car, furniture, clothes, shoes).
I also I was careful with how I spent my money. In America, there are several credit cards and bank programmes that help you save travel points, or have no international conversion fees, or zero ATM fees.
In total I saved about $25,000 so I am currently working again and living off the $5000 I had left over. I live frugally but I have always done so. I am extremely fortunate to not need a car to get to my job and to be living with family so I don’t pay rent.
Please let me know if you have any more questions!