Packing the toiletries bag for travelling

How to avoid overpacking

As shampoo, conditioner and shower gel can be heavier, toiletries can easily increase the weight of your backpack or suitcase. Therefore, it is important – as with packing in general – to reduce the toiletries to only what is necessary but also to not forget something (although in most cases you can just buy the things at your destination). So I created a list with things that you should definitely pack and things that you might consider packing.

The essentials

In my opinion, these are the most basic essentials you should definitely have in your toiletries bag if you want to keep it very minimal. Depending on the length of your stay, you can use refillable smaller bottles for products like shampoo and shower gel.

  • Tooth brush & tooth paste: depending on the length of your flight, you should pack these two into your hand luggage
  • Shampoo
  • Shower gel
  • Sun screen: always use sun screen! Your skin will be grateful in the future.

What you might pack

This category contains items that might come in handy but you could probably also live without them.

  • Make-up remover – if you don’t bring any make-up on holiday, you obviously don’t need make-up remover
  • Cotton pads – they might come in handy for using make-up remover or cleaning your face. I’m using reusable cotton pads, so I don’t produce any extra waste on holiday and it also reduces the amount of cotton pads I need to pack.
  • Deodorant: might come in handy if you want to keep fresh on the go. I use a spray bottle because I don’t like the aerosol deodorants (I can’t breathe after using them) but I also don’t want to use a roller in sweaty armpits.
  • Conditioner: It’s more of a luxury product, but saltwater in combination with sun can be really drying my hair out.

What is likely to be forgotten?

  • Nail file: I have so often forgotten a nail file and then one of my nails split.

In general I would advise you to go through your morning and evening routine and think of all the products you use. Then think of the things that you really need or regularly use. You won’t need ten different kinds of moisturiser, peelings and oils. Stick to the basics. For example, I won’t bring a body lotion because the thought alone of a sticky body in a hot climate is daunting to me.

Here is everything that I’m packing in my toiletries bag:

For the body

  • Shampoo
  • Shower gel
  • Conditioner
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Sun cream with a high SPF
  • Hand sanitizer

For the face:

  • Cotton buds without plastic
  • Cotton pads, washable and reusable
  • Eye make-up remover for waterproof make-up
  • Facial oil
  • Tooth brush
  • Tooth paste

Tools

  • Nail file
  • Manicure scissors
  • Hair brush
  • Hair ties

Always remember: You can buy almost everything everywhere (except your travelling to a deserted island). So, don’t overpack and rather leave things at home. You can buy things locally afterwards if it becomes apparent that you can’t live without them.

 

 

 

#haulternative

Reconsidering fast fashion and setting an example

Most people know that cheap fast fashion is produced neither ethically nor fair. The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in 2013, which led to the deaths of over 1000 people, demonstrated that in a most alarming way. For many people it was a sad wake-up call. It also marks the start of the Fashion Revolution. It’s a movement that fights against the bad working conditions in the fashion industry and also calls attention to the environmental consequences of that industry.

Low wages and bad working conditions for a 5€ t-shirt

To be honest, I never really thought about the consequences of my fashion consumerism until I came across the documentary “The True Cost”. Of course I knew, that a t-shirt for 5€ cannot be sustainable nor fair. We have all seen the devastating photos of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. It is not a secret that the wages of the workers are extremely low and the working conditions are extremely bad. But have I changed since? No, because it never affected me! That’s what “The True Cost” gets so damn right. It is moving and also educating. Afterwards, I really felt the need to change and was also kind of ashamed of my behaviour. That is why, I take part in the fashion revolution week. I want to draw attention to an important topic and maybe cause some people to reconsider the fashion industry.

On the website of the Fashion Revolution you can find a lot of different ways to take action and be a part of the movement. One of these possibilities is the #haulternative. As you might know when you’re a constant follower of mine, I’m currently on a shopping ban, so I do not shop anything at the moment. And you don’t need to buy new things to update your wardrobe.

Try second hand!

It is a great way to extend the life cycle of clothes and you can prevent them from landing in landfill. I haven’t bought anything second hand in a while, because I really don’t need anything, but I am a huge fan of charity shops and online platforms like Kleiderkreisel, or Kleiderkorb. These are German websites but I am sure there are similar websites in every country. Currently, I am sorting out my closet and selling the things online. So far I am not very successful but I hope that my unloved clothing pieces will make someone else happy soon.

Fall in love again

£285 of clothes. That’s the amount of clothes an average British woman hoards but will never wear. Before you buy something new think of this and look through your wardrobe. Maybe there are long forgotten treasures you might fall in love with. I am currently trying on all the unworn pieces and I try to figure out if I actually like them.

Bad working conditions don’t affect me, so why care?

Humans are supposed to be the superior species. So why is it, that we treat each other and our environment so horribly? Even if the bad working conditions don’t affect you specifically, shouldn’t we care for our fellow humans? Isn’t empathy what is supposedly differentiating us from animals? But even if you don’t reconsider the fashion industry for the sake of the workers in Bangladesh, you should change your behaviour for the sake of the planet, our home. Our earth is not made for the massive consumerism we are burdening it with. Much of the clothing we buy gets thrown away without being worn once. Pesticides used on cotton plantages are polluting our environment. 2720 litres of water are needed to make a t-shirt. Humans are destroying the only home they have and it is on us to take action now! Better late than never.

How can you do more?

  • Be curious! Inform yourself, check out Fashion Revolution and watch “The True Cost”. It’s so informative and shaking!
  • Spread the word! Tell your friends and family about fashion revolution, but do not lecture them! In my opinion lecturing someone can often lead to the contrary effect.
  • Also, check out my blog post on how buy less and how to buy better! Reducing your consumerism and buying things that you will wear not just for one season also sets an example for ethical fashion and against the fast fashion industry!

 

6 tips for hiking in Norway

A beginner’s guide to exploring the Norwegian nature

Hiking is kind of the national sport in Norway and it is also something you can do for free in an otherwise rather expensive country. So, when I spent my semester abroad in Bergen, I knew that I wanted to try it, too. Back then, I had absolutely no hiking experience besides minor walks with my grandparents. Consequently, I had no clue what Norwegian hiking trails would look like. Still, like many other students, I had the goal to hike up to the top of all the seven summits around Bergen. Here are some things I wish I knew before and also some things you should keep in mind as you explore the Norwegian nature.

1. Get yourself some proper hiking boots

get proper hiking boots first
Proper hiking boots are essential!

One of the best investments I made were proper hiking boots. As it rains quite a bit and the terrain stretches from gravel and stones to muddy and slippery, I would recommend proper waterproof, over-the-ankle hiking boots. I am very satisfied with the pair I bought and they had cost only around 140€. My feet were never wet – even when accidently stepping into deep mud or puddles – and I felt secure even when the path didn’t give me the confidence I wanted. Proper hiking boots are essential!

2. The piles of stones are not just for decoration

trail markings along the way
Pyramids of stones mark the trail

This is probably a no brainer for people who have been hiking before. However, I only started hiking in Norway, so I didn’t know that these stones had a deeper meaning. They are actually – like the red painted T on some stones– another way to mark the routes. So, if you don’t know where to go next look out for the red “T” and piles of stones.

3. Appreciate nature

At the beginning of every single hike I was wondering why I was even doing this. I was easily out of breath and it could get quite exhausting. At the latest at the top of each mountain, these thoughts were forgotten. The feeling of reaching the top paired with the breath-taking view was worth it every time. Enjoy the beautiful nature and don’t get lost trying to take the perfect Instagram shot. Take everything in and also value nature. Also remember to only leave footprints and bring your garbage back with you to preserve nature.

appreciate nature when hiking in Norway
The satisfying feeling of reaching the top of Sandviksfjellet

4. Keep the weather in mind

Always check the weather forecast before hiking! Especially when you’re a beginner but also when you are more proficient. The weather can change quickly from sun and a clear sky to thick fog. I’ve heard from people who started hiking in the sun and suddenly entered thick fog and couldn’t see further than two metres anymore. As you can imagine, this can get quite dangerous if you can’t see the trail anymore or the paths become slippery. So always pay attention to the weather while hiking! It’s okay to turn around midway and continue the hike on another day. Your safety should come first.

5. The hiking trails

hiking trail sandviksfjellet

As mentioned above, I had no experience in hiking and had no idea what to expect in Norway. In my imagination there were nice trails and the way up would be a breeze. The reality looked a little different. The hiking trails are very divers: There are even paths which can get steeper, there are huge step-like stones, small rocks, sometimes you’ll have to use your hands and sometimes you’ll have to cross a small stream.

hiking trail in norway
Another trail on one of our hikes

Be prepared for that and do not underestimate the hike or overestimate your strength and condition. I wasn’t very sporty at that time, so I was easily exhausted and needed to take little breaks quite often. But that’s okay, too.

snow hike trolltunga
You can also come across snow, like here on the trolltunga hike

6. Get a hiking buddy

Hiking on your own might be good for the mind and soul as you are not distracted by anyone, but in my opinion it’s even better with a friend! The first hike I took was with a large group of students. Shortly after the beginning of the hike, I had to discover that the other students were a lot fitter than me and I couldn’t keep pace with the group. So, I turned around disappointedly. Luckily, I found a new bestie who was on the same fitness level as me and wanted to take the same amount of photos and breaks as me. After the first hike together, we continued to take all our hikes together and it was perfect. I can only recommend to try and find a hiking buddy on your level. You probably won’t talk all the time, so you’ll still have time to appreciate nature and let your thoughts drift away. Still, you’ll have someone to share the experience and create new memories. Additionally, it’s always better to be not alone, just in case something happens or you get lost.

These are my tips and things I wish I had known before my first hike. I hope you enjoyed these tips for hiking in Norway and they were helpful and you will be better prepared than I was. If you want to read more about safety and hiking in Norway, check out VisitNorway for more handy tips.

Also, leave your essential hiking tips in the comments!