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 Sofie Couwenbergh.
What’s the one little thing you can’t travel without?
I never leave the house without a pack of tissues. When I travel I take at least two packs with me.
Why has this one item been so important to you?
While they’re nothing fancy, tissues can often save you from annoyances. It might seem like nothing, but imagine doing a day-long hike with a dripping nose and no tissues around. Or rushing into a bar to go to the toilet only to find out they’ve run out of toilet paper (more on that later). Tissues can be used as handkerchiefs, napkins, toilet seat protectors, nosebleed stoppers, even ear plugs.
It might seem strange, but they’re also great to make connections on the road. I’ve often had people ask me if I’d happen to have a tissue. Sometimes tissues also allow you to be the hero who saves a stranger that just spilled a drink all over herself.
How packable is it? Does it take up much room? Is it heavy?
Tissues are super light and very packable. You can just squish them in between the other items you’ve packed.
A big advantage I feel tissues have over handkerchiefs is that they’re disposable. Whatever you clean up with them, you can just throw them away afterwards.
Well I guess you could also throw away a handkerchief, but that would be a bit of a waste, now wouldn’t it?
Would you recommend this to your travel friends?
Definitely! In fact, whenever someone is preparing for a trip and I get the question “Can you think of something I might have forgotten?”, I always ask if they’ve thought of tissues.
I’m sure I’ve indirectly saved lives that way.
Can you name one situation where you were glad to have this item with you?
Okay, this is a Her Packing List exclusive…
My intestines don’t always function as they should and often when I travel I can’t… Well, I can’t go. You know. So last summer we were traveling through Portugal for 12 days and I had that same issue. I hadn’t gone to the toilet for a week or so, when one night we were walking back to our hostel in Lisbon after we’d had dinner and I felt that things were starting to get into motion.
Two minutes later I was practically running through the streets, trying not to let go of any goods. We were almost there when Siemen, my boyfriend, thought it would be a good idea to stop at a small bar for some drinks to take with us.
Was he kidding me???
I couldn’t hold any longer, so when I saw that the place had a toilet I told him to go for it while I went for it. I locked myself in, felt a huge relief coming over me… and then saw that there was no more toilet paper.
I hadn’t gone to the toilet for about a week and now that I finally had, there was no. More. Toilet. Paper.
But guess what? I had a full packet of paper tissues with me.
I got out of there as fast as I could and just hoped nobody had to go right after me.
How did you hear about this item?
I’m sure that has something to do with my mom’s mission to eliminate every booger I had as a toddler.
What sort of traveler is this item perfect for?
Tissues are great for everyone! They might seem more important for the adventurous backpacker, but even when you’re a luxury traveler you never know in what kind of situation you’re going to get yourself into.
I say, it’s better to be prepared!
About the Author: Sofie is the editor and founder of travel blog Wonderful Wanderings. She combines a full time job with her freelance writing career while traveling as much as she can. On rare breaks you can find her taking dance classes or munching away on chocolate. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.