I’m not really a germaphobe. I’m not scared of germs. I just hate them; those little tiny microbes that get everywhere and in your nose and eyes and make you sick or at least make you sick to your stomach thinking about them. If you are like me or at least have a healthy regard for well, your health, then do not leave home without these four indispensable items, especially if you are staying in hostels or budget hotels. They saved my sanity and probably also my life, literally.
For when you don’t want your feet to pick up dirt and other grubby things in your hotel room and especially for wearing in the shower. Barefoot + hostel shared shower = warts, flesh eating bacteria or something even worse. You may need to amputate. Make sure you have a plastic bag to pack these in when it’s time to hit the road again. You definitely don’t want them touching anything else in your pack.
Hanging Toiletry Kit
Keeping all of your toiletries together makes traveling life a lot easier. If you’re staying in hostels you will likely need to bring shampoo, conditioner, and soap, along with the normal personal items you’d have with you (hopefully) like deodorant, toothpaste, and toothbrush. Some bathrooms can be pretty small, with a basin sink or even worse, a sink that is dirty or wet. But even in the smallest bathrooms you can usually find a hook or a towel bar on which to hang your toiletry kit. You’ll have easy access to your things with minimal contact between your items (i.e., clean) and the hostel fixtures (i.e., crawling with germs and other people’s pimple juice).
Bath Towel & Face Towel
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was totally on to something. Most hostels don’t even offer towels for you so if you don’t bring your own you’ll either need to go without a shower or drip dry and hope you don’t get pneumonia. It’ll be in your best interest to buy a nice towel specifically made for traveling, and not just pack a bath towel from your linen closet. Travel towels are lightweight and dry quickly. If you can spare an extra square inch in your backpack, I’d recommend bringing a separate, smaller one for your face as it can be washed easily in a sink and packed in a smaller bag to keep with you when you’re out on a day trip. When you’re carrying all of your luggage, the little towel can be packed rolled up in your bigger one to keep it extra clean and sanitary.
For the truly paranoid, a sleep sack will ensure that you have clean sheets anywhere you go. Or at least it ensures that the hair and dead skin cells in the sheet are yours and yours alone. With bed bugs becoming more and more scary and common (or more commonly known anyway), it’s not totally over the top to pack a light sleep sack with you just to be safe. It’s better to keep your eyes peeled for tell tale signs of bed bugs before you climb in though, because last I checked, there is no sleep sack that hermetically seals (which would run counter to our whole “staying alive” theme anyway).