This is a post in an ongoing feature on Her Packing List called “The One Little Thing“. Each week or two, I’ll be interviewing a traveling lady to find out the one little thing she just can’t travel without. This one comes to you from Brenna Holeman.
What one little thing can you not travel without?
My one little thing is Tiger Balm! An ointment made of herbal ingredients, it is found all over Southeast Asia, where it originated. Due to its popularity, it’s now sold in countries in all parts of the world. You can check where to purchase it near you on their website.
>> Or, get Tiger Balm on Amazon.
Why has this one item been so important to you?
I bought my first jar of Tiger Balm in 2011 and I have used it countless times since. It is used primarily for muscle and joint pain, but I’ve found that it works on pretty much any ailment: bug bites, a cough or sore throat (as a vapor rub), blisters, headaches, you name it. I’ve even dabbed a tiny bit under my nostrils when I’ve been on a smelly bus. Whenever I feel any sort of discomfort when I travel, I instantly think, “How can Tiger Balm help?”
How packable is it? Does it take up much room? How heavy is it?
It is a tiny jar, so it takes up as much space as lip balm. It also meets airline regulations for carry-ons, which is great if you’re packing light. I almost always have it in my daypack – it was even in my purse at the full-moon party in Koh Phangan.
Why would you recommend this to your travel friends?
Travelers love multi-use items, which Tiger Balm definitely is! It’s so small that you can easily throw it in your pocket, purse, or backpack. It’s also a conversation starter – I’ve often shared my Tiger Balm when a fellow traveler has mosquito bites or some other complaint.
Can you name one incident or situation where you were so happy to have this item with you?
I’ve used it so many times, but perhaps my most memorable was in Burma (funnily enough, where Tiger Balm was first created). I was horribly sick with the worst cold I’ve ever had, complete with a hacking cough and lung infection. I was trying to make the best of my time in in the country but had to retire early to bed because I felt so terrible. I used Tiger Balm threefold: on my chest and throat to calm my sinuses and cough, on my sore muscles, and on my temples for my headache. Within minutes I had relief, and I was able to actually get some sleep so that I could have the energy to explore Burma.
How did you hear about this item?
I had heard about Tiger Balm for years, but I finally purchased it on my first trip to Bangkok. I swear that every backpacker in Southeast Asia has a jar.
What type of traveler is this item perfect for?
Every traveler! We all have unexpected illnesses and maladies when we travel, so it’s great to have a natural and effective treatment on hand.
About the Author: Brenna Holeman has been travelling solo for over seven years, visiting all of the continents but one (guess which one?). She is moving to London in the autumn to start a Master’s degree in Creative Non-Fiction Writing. She loves red wine, scuba diving, and window seats. Follow her on her blog, This Battered Suitcase, or on Facebook or Twitter.
*All photos by Brenna Holeman.