Baitong Thai

5 Thai Foods You Can’t Get in America

In America when you go to a Thai restaurant, you’ll find a menu with a dozen noodle dishes and just as many curry dishes.

…but not in Thailand.

 

In Thailand, you’ll find families that master in ONE dish.

One dish that their family has been cooking for years with recipes passed down through generations.

They have secret recipes for their rich broth or they have a rare hook-up for the best pork belly in town.

And they cook that one dish, day after day, all day, forever.

They do one thing…and they do it the best.

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We’re talking about whole steamed fish, pork knuckles braised since 3am, or juicy chicken that gushes with broth the moment it’s sliced open.

These are dishes that you just CAN’T find in America because families no longer commit their entire life to just one meal.

But in Thailand…they do.

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Here are 5 Thai Dishes for you to tick off your food bucket list on your next southeast Asian adventure.

 

#1 – Khao Soi

Baitong Thai

If you think you’ve had Khao Soi in America…you’re wrong my friend. That is not Khao Soi. Khao Soi relies on northern ingredients with chicken that has been slow cooked for hours…and sometimes, even days!

A Chin Haw delicacy originating in northern Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, Khao Soi is a widely known treat in Chiang Mai. Visitors to Thailand will even struggle to find this noodle treat in southern regions of the country around Bangkok.

There are distinct versions of Khao Soi in northern Thailand and Laos. The recipe found solely in Thailand combines egg noodles (occasionally rice noodles) with curry sauce, shallots, and lime…plus the best “fall off the bone” chicken ever.

Khao Soi is arguably the most popular food in the northern, mountainous city of Chiang Mai. Locals and tourists can savor the rich flavors through street vendors and regular sit-down restaurants for around $1-2.

Best Place to Get It: Khao Soi Islam (Chiang Mai)

Open: Daily 8:00am to 5:00pm

Where: 22-24 Soi 1, Charoen Prathet Road, Changklan

How to get there: Take the bus to the Talad Warorot Station along the Ping River. Turn right on Wichayanon Road and continue on to Praisanee Road. Turn onto Charoen Prathet Road at the intersection and take a right onto Charoen Prathet Road Alley. Khao Soi Islam will be on the right.

 

#2 – Khao Kah Moo

khao ka moo

Migrationology.com

The most delicious pork you’ve ever had!

Khao Kha Moo is a pot of pork leg that boils and simmers in a rich, sweet cinnamon broth all day long. Served with rice, greens, and a hard-boiled egg simmered in the same broth!

Each vendor has their own special recipe for their Khao Kah Moo with varying combinations of soy sauce, ginger, cinnamon, and coriander.

As you travel Thailand, you’ll see Khao Kha Moo all around the country, usually sold out of a street cart. Khao Kah Moo is a meal for breakfast and lunch – so to get the best cuts of meat, eat early.

Best Place to Get It: Across from the Hua Lamphong Train Station in Bangkok

Open: Lunch through dinner

Where: The alley behind 7-Eleven. You’re looking for a food stand on the side of the road + a few tables! Follow the pin on this map.

How to get there: Take the MRT to Hua Lamphong Station. Look for the 7-Eleven across from the Train Station (the front of the station) and enter into the back alley. Turn left at the little foot-intersection. Walk about 30 seconds and you’ll see it on the left.

#3 – Khao Man Gai

Khao man gai

TryCaviar.com

You’ve never had chicken like this! When Khao Man Gai is cooking by the masters, the chicken is almost sashimi grade! It melts in your mouth like butter!

Although this chicken-based dish was developed in China, it has become a breakfast staple in Thailand.

In the morning, Khao Man Gai vendors open their shops with a small batch of whole chickens hanging in their windows. These chickens have been steamed and boiled to utter perfection. So much so, that when the vendor cuts into the chicken, it spills with broth!

The chicken is sliced and served on rice…that has also been cooked with the chicken broth. The dish is served with a small bowl of the chicken broth that the chicken was cooked inside, with a sprinkling of green onions on top and sometimes, a side of blood pudding (which I always opt out of).

The best part? The ginger sauce! Each Khao Man Gai vendor makes their own homemade ginger sauce with ginger, garlic, and vinegar. The sauces vary from vendor to vendor – but always pair beautifully with the Khao Man Gai.

This dish is great for visitors who are not fond of intense flavors as the ingredients used in Khao Man Gai are mild, hearty…and identifiable.

Khao Man Gai can be found throughout Thailand, but it is particularly common in Bangkok. It’s the quick breakfast that locals eat on their way to work for around 35 baht ($1.10) per plate.

Best Place to Get It: My personal, local, off-the-beaten-path spot in Bangkok, Thailand is a street side vendor that opens every morning next the the taxi motorbike stand! They don’t speak English! Just point to the chicken…and they’ll sort you out. They’ve got tables, stools, and free ice water!

Open: Daily from 7:00am to 11:00am…or until they run out. Closed on Sunday.

Where: Follow this link to find it on Soi 2, Bearing Road/ Soi 107.

How to get there: Take the BTS to Bearing Station. Take exit 3 and walk straight. Cross the street and turn left at the 7-Eleven. Walk to Soi 2 and you’ll see the food stand on your right.

#4 – Pla Kapong Neung Manao

Thai steamed fish

EatingThaiFood.com

A whole fish…served with the face and everything! Pla Kapong Neung Manao is a centerpiece dish in many seafood style restaurants in Bangkok. It is an easy recipe for locals who wish to create their own version as the preferred fish can be purchased at a nearby market.

Popular in Bangkok, this Pla Kapong Neung Manao is a whole fish steamed with lime, garlic, and chilies that give the fresh white flesh a sweet and fragrant flavor. The fish is served in its broth that is a mixture of sweet and spicy flavors.

You’ll often eat this fish with sides of morning glory, rice, pork neck and other common dinner dishes….plus lots of beer on ice.

Best Place to Get It: Kuang Seafood Restaurant (Bangkok)

Open: Daily from 11:00am to 2:00am

Where: 107/13 Soi Rangnam, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400

How to get there: Take the bus stop to the station located on Ratchaprarop Rd across the street from Malee Club. Turn right onto the road and Kuang Seafood will be on your right.

 

#5 – Laab

Laab

HeavyTable.com

The national dish of Laos, Laab is a salad that combines meat with juices and sauces for rich flavor. A craving for the meat salad migrated from Laos to the Isan region of northern Thailand!

The dish is extremely popular across the region, but there is a distinct version only found in northern Thailand. Its recipe includes a different variety of spices including cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and others. The meat used is typically chicken or pork and it is served with vegetables, rice, and herbs.

Laab is widely popular in the Chiang Mai region of the country and can be found in various eating establishments on city streets.

Best Place to Get It: Sorn Chai (Chiang Mai)

Open: Daily 11:00am to 9:00pm

Where:  25-27, Kotchasarn Road, Tambon Si Phum, Chang Wat Chiang Mai, 50300, Thailand

How to get there: Take the bus to the Tha Phae Gate Old City Bus Station. Turn right on Mun Mueang Rd. Go straight through the roundabout on the left. Turn left once exiting the roundabout and Sorn Chai will be on the right.

 

Pro Tip: Plan your days in Thailand around food. Work out from there.

Have some food challenges for me? Shoot me a message!

The ULTIMATE Prep & Packing List for Travelers

There’s a difference between someone who goes on vacation and someone who travels. 

This list is for the latter. 

*This is a long one. Read this whole thing and now, you essentially travel like me. 

 

Here is every gadget, credit card, and habit that I carry with me when I travel.

I save money.

 I avoid problems.

I gain time.

All because I pack and prep like the god damn pro traveler that I am.

Tick these items off your packing prep list, and you will have learned the lessons which took me nearly 10 years to master.


prep list


#1 – Check your Passport

AMERICAN PASSPORT

There are things about your passport that you don’t know!

First, make sure that you have more than 6 months validity on your passport. In other words, make sure your passport doesn’t expire in the next 6 months.

For example, if your trip begins on January 1st, 2020, your passport must be valid AT LEAST until July 1st, 2020. Countries reserve the right to put you right back on a plane to where you came from if your passport expires within 6 months.

Second, check how many pages you have left. Some countries (like Cambodia and Vietnam) don’t simply give you a stamp, they give you a gigantic sticker that takes up an entire page! If you’re running low on space, this could be an issue.

Oh, and make a couple copies of your passport to keep on hand. Black and white is fine. 

#2 – GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

I would never travel without travel insurance and neither should you.

1 week. 1 month. It doesn’t make a difference. You need to be covered for everything from Lost Baggage to Motorbike Accidents.

When traveling long-term, I use IMG Insurance as the plans are more economical for bigger trips and they provide extensive coverage with everything from hospital visits to flight cancelations. Customer service is quick to handle your claim and reimburse you!

For trips under 3-months, I use WorldNomads Travel Insurance as they offer the most straight-forward travel plans ever. Pick the Standard Plan for basic travel coverage/flight delay protection or the Explorer Plan for extreme adventures like Kayaking and Rock-climbing. These plans include massive accident coverage from $100,000 to $1,000,000 – plus, evacuation coverage if you need to be helicoptered off a mountain somewhere.  

#3 – update your bank cards and credit cards

As a traveler, there are two money rules to live by:

  • Don’t buy flights and hotels with cash
  • Make sure your debit card is compatible with foreign ATMS.

If you’re cool with traveling with your weak-ass Visa debit card, skip to listicle #4. If you want to save money and rack up travel points for free flights, I’ll break down my Bank Card Trifecta now…

I travel with 3 cards in my wallet at all times: 1 amazing debit card and 2 travel credit cards.

              1. Charles Schwab Debit Card – Best for International ATM Withdrawals
        1. Chase Sapphire Preferred – 2x points when used on flights, hotels, Uber, AirBnb, and Restaurants + Trip Cancelation Coverage (weather, sickness and other causes)
        2. American Express Platinum – The Most Powerful Travel Credit Card Ever + Airport Lounge Global Access with Priority Pass & 5x points on flights and hotels.

For more info (and to learn how to fly Business Class for free) check out The Best Travel Credit Cards and Travel Debit Cards.

#4 – Medications & Travel Vaccinations

No, you cannot bring your Adderall to Thailand or Indonesia. Not even with a prescription.

No, you do not need to start taking Malaria medication before you visit Southeast Asia.

And yes, you can bring Tylenol and motion sickness pills – but you can also buy them inside stores all over Southeast Asia.

Now, what about vaccinations?

Before you go anywhere, make sure you’re up to date on all the basic vaccinations like Tetanus, Hepatitis A & B, and your MMR vaccine.

Just like shopping for a travel insurance plan, your vaccinations and medications will depend on which destination you’re visiting.

The CDC Website…and your doctor who just googled the CDC website before your visit…might recommend some whacky vaccines aimed to cover people working on Pig Farms and teaching English by candlelight in remote jungle villages for 5 months. But that’s not you.

So, what about the CDC’s recommendations? Do you really need the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine? No. Do you need the Rabies series? Nah, not really. Am I a doctor? Absolutely fackin’ not, but I have lived in Asia for a very long time and have never heard of any travelers contracting rabies or Japanese Encephalitis.

Tip: Skip the high price of vaccinations at home and get your vaccinations at an international hospital in Asia for a fraction of the price.

#5 – Download this traveling organizing app

The most useful travel app ever is called TripIt. It’s an app that organizes all of your travel reservations into one clean timeline that you can access both  online and offline.

You simply forward your confirmation emails (hotels, flights, tours) to Plans@Tripit.com (once you’ve registered) and your itinerary is immediately organized to the app on your phone.

Need to pull up the directions to your hotel? The link is in your app. Need the confirmation number for your airline reservation? It’s in your app. Need the local phone number of the AirBnb you’ve booked? Just click the number in the app.

Game Changer.

Packing list


#1 – The best travel backpack ever

You and your travel backpack will develop an intimate bond. You will sleep with your backpack, snuggle your backpack, and you might eventually name your backpack. You need to love your travel backpack!

After 9 years of backpacking and nearly $1,000 spent on testing out 5 high-quality travel backpacks, I have finally settled on a favorite: The Farpoint 40 Liter.

This backpack is everything:

  • Compact carry-on bag perfect for the overhead bin
  • Comfortable fit for long days of carry
  • Front Open zip panel for organization
  • Versatile and secure pockets that can fit big items like Nike shoes!
  • Duo-Carry Function: carry as a backpack or a duffle bag
  • Perfect size for a long-trip!

#2 – Anti-theft purse

It’s not just the locals you’ve got to watch for, it’s also other travelers. Pick-pocketers prey on girls who have their guard down at parties, on buses, and in large crowds.

So, here is what you need to look for when buying your travel purse:

  • Zippers, not magnet or Velcro straps
  • Across-the-shoulder carry
  • Thick straps that are hard to break
  • Classic design that you’ll actually want to wear the whole trip

For a day purse that can carry your essentials plus snacks and a sweater, the Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Bag is the best.

For a “Just my money and keys” bag that you’ll want to wear out on the town, Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Heritage Small Crossbody Bag is it.

#3 – Adapters & Converters

Adapters and converters are not the same thing.

Adapters only help your plug fit the wall socket. The wall plugs at home may be rectangles, but in Bali they are circles. You need adapters for things like phone chargers.

Converters fit the wall socket and convert the electric voltage. Try plugging your blow dryer into a socket with a higher voltage and POOF, you’ve just broken your blow dryer.

Electronics need an adapter. Hair tools need a converter.

#4 – A pen

Duh. But I bet you’ll forget to pack it!

Pack 5. Stick them everywhere.

#5 – PAck Light

The less things you have, the more free you are.

Save room for shopping. And if you are unsure on whether to bring those jeans, or that lotion- then you don’t need them.

Airlines typically have a weight limit per bag, which can get pretty pricey if you exceed it.

Sneaky Tip: put your heaviest items in your purse or laptop bag- airline personnel rarely weigh those. Then, redistribute your items after you go through security.

The best thing to do is buy a gadget that is both, like this International Power Adapter.


What about dresses? Socks? Makeup bags? Check out my travel store to see what I travel with!


Never underestimate the power of packing like a pro.

You dissolve problems and gain power. Yes, literal power in situations that otherwise might make you feel powerless.

Packing professionally can mean the difference between paying $60 extra because your carry-on is too heavy and being bumped up to Business Class on a 7-hour leg.

Both of these things happen to me on a regular basis depending on how well I do or do not pack before my trip.

Sign-up here and I’ll send you my Official Packing Checklist for Free.

 

The Best Travel Makeup Products for Humid Weather and Sweaty Climates (May 2019)

“There’s no point in wearing makeup. You’re just going to sweat it off anyway”.

Bitch, please. 

There is no phrase in the English language that I disagree with more!

I live between sweaty Bangkok and humid Bali and still…my makeup is on point.

That’s because I’ve been a sweaty human guinea pig for you. If you’re taking a trip over to Asia and still want to glam up for those Instagram shots, gather these travel makeup essentials before you fly.

Every makeup product on this list is in my makeup bag right now…and most of it is on my face as I’m writing this article. 

Let’s get into The Best Travel Makeup Products for Humid Weather and Sweaty Climates.


Quick List

  1. NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP, CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP MATTE PRIMER
  2. IT COSMETICS, YOUR SKIN BUT BETTER CC CREAM WITH SPF 50
  3. KIKO SCULPTING TOUCH CONTOUR STICK
  4. AIRSPUN SETTING POWDER
  5. NYX EYEBROW GEL
  6. MAC PAINT POT EYESHADOW BASE
  7. HUDA BEAUTY, THE NEW NUDE EYESHADOW PALETTE
  8. MAYBELLINE EYE STUDIO LASTING DRAMA GEL EYELINER
  9. THRIVE CAUSMETICS MASCARA, LIQUID LASH EXTENSION MASCARA
  10. MAYBELLINE FACESTUDIO MASTER FIX WEAR-BOOSTING SETTING SPRAY

#1 – Nyx Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Matte Primer

NYX Cant Stop Wont Stop Matte Primer

What is it? A priming cream that on your bare face before you makeup, bonding your skin and makeup together, while filling lines and pores.

This shit is serious.

NYX Cant Stop Wont Stop Matte Primer is off-putting at first. It’s tacky and feels like a sticky glue. I would be lying if I said that it felt good to smear all over your face. But once it dries, you can’t even feel it.

It acts as the most amazing sweaty girl primer that I’ve ever experienced. I could run a marathon in Dubai and my makeup would still look flawless.

Some reviews on Amazon aren’t nice, but that’s because this product needs some explaining. But once you figure out how to use it…oh it’s heaven.

Pro Tip: Lately, I’ve been experimenting in the application process by using a damp beauty blender to apply my primer or just starting with a damp face in general. It helps to evenly glide the tacky primer evenly across my skin.

#2 – It Cosmetics, Your Skin but Better CC Cream with SPF 50

IT Cosmetics CC Cream with SPF for Travel Girls

With 50+ SPF, this baby was made for the sun!

What is it? IT Cosmetics CC Cream is a non-greasy foundation that stays put in humid weather.

I love that the coverage is buildable. Use a damp beauty blender to build light to full coverage, depending on the day. Going out for an active hike? Go with a light & casual coverage. Hitting the nightlife in Bangkok? Get a glam look that won’t melt while you’re dancing.

Best of all, 1 tube has lasted me a full year. Now, I’m on my second. Obsessed.

Pro Tip: There is a “travel size” available on Amazon, but it doesn’t come with the pump…which is 100% essential to not wasting product (a little goes a long way).

Buy the full size.

$39 a tube = 10 cents per day. #Justifiable

#3 – Kiko Sculpting Touch Contour Stick

Kiko Sculpting Touch is a cream contour stick for cheekbones

What is it? Kiko Sculpting Touch is a cream contour stick for your cheekbones, forehead, nose, jawline, and wherever else you want to add a bit of definition.

Blend the cream contour with a kabuki brush and set with a setting powder. The contour melts into your skin beautifully and looks amazing in travel photos, no matter how sweaty you might get.

#4 – AirSpun Setting Powder

AirSpun Loose Face Powder for Setting Baking in Humid Weather

 

What is it? This is a setting/baking powder is an absolute must for humid weather.

After your creams and foundations are applied, dust your sheer AirSpun powder over everything.

Not only does it cement those products into your skin, but also, it will absorb any excess oil that may rise to the top of your skin throughout the day.

Pro Tip: I found that the smallest AirSpun powder was bigger than what I wanted to travel with. So, I took a loose-powder jar with products that I no longer use, dumped it out, and replaced with the AirSpun. Now I have a travel AirSpun and more AirSpun waiting for me at home.

#5 – NYX Eyebrow Gel

NYX Cosmetics Eyebrow Gel

What is it? A replacement for your weak-ass eyebrow pencils!

This stuff is serious. It’s waterproof, sweatproof and smudge proof. Hell, it’s even sleep proof.  Use an angled brush to glide this eyebrow gel on your eyebrows and go about your travel day without looking in a mirror.

You can create your desired eyebrow shape with this product by itself or use a pencil just to draw the shape you want, and fill it in with this gel.

Pro Tip: Squeeze a tiny bit of the gel onto your hand to warm it up. Then use your hand like an easel. Work with the product quickly as it dries fast!

PS. My shade is Blonde. If that helps you.

#6 – MAC PAINT POT EYESHADOW BASE

Mac Paint Pot Painterly

What is it? An eyeshadow base/primer and eye concealer.

Since I was 13 years old, I’ve been using Mac Paint Pots and nothing else. I use the color “Painterly”. Somedays I use it alone as a low-key eyelid concealer, and other days I use it as a base to keep my eyeshadows in place and prevent them from creasing in humid weather.

It’s creamy enough to use your finger to apply, or you can use a tiny concealer brush.

Perfect for that flawless “No-Makeup” look.

#7 – Maybelline Eye Studio, Lasting Drama Gel Eye Liner

MAYBELLINE EYE STUDIO, LASTING DRAMA GEL EYE LINER

What is it? A gel eyeliner that doesn’t smudge in the hot heat.

No department store eyeliner can even compare. This drugstore eyeliner is highly pigmented and so creamy that it glides on with barely any effort!

Apply it on those sticky summer mornings and it will still be beautiful come evening.

#8 –  HUDA BEAUTY, The NEw Nude EYESHADOW PALETTE

HUDA BEAUTY, THE NEW NUDE EYESHADOW PALETTE

One palette. All the colors I need. INCREDIBLE pigment. No-crease quality.

The New Nude Eyeshadow Palette is definitely a splurge, but also definitely worth the investment.

Plus, the mirror is huge and I use it to do my makeup everywhere and anywhere.

#9 – Thrive Causmetics Mascara, Liquid Lash Extension Mascara

THRIVE CAUSMETICS MASCARA, LIQUID LASH EXTENSION MASCARA

What is it? Liquid Lash Extension Mascara that gently peels off your eyelashes instead of melts off. Thrive Causmetics is also a vegan, cruelty-free brand!

When you’re working with tropical climates, it’s not unusual for your mascara to melt. You wear sunglasses or rub your eyes JUST ONCE and bam, it’s smear city.

The alternative is to choose a waterproof mascara, but then you’re stuck with that tacky black blue formula that makes me cringe.

Thrive Causmetics Mascara, however, is a no-smudge formula that peels off your eyelashes almost like string cheese. It doesn’t hurt. It isn’t heavy. It’s perfect for traveling.

#10 – Maybelline Facestudio Master Fix Wear-Boosting Setting Spray

MAYBELLINE FACESTUDIO MASTER FIX WEAR-BOOSTING SETTING SPRAY

What is it? A translucent spay that acts like a lightweight layer of pigment protection on your face!

If you’re going to a tropical climate or dealing with humid weather and you haven’t packed a setting spray, then don’t even bother packing your makeup.

You could cover your face in super glue and I’d still recommend a setting spray to keep your pigments in place. IT doesn’t matter how long-lasting your products are, this is the insurance policy that is going to make it all worth it!


Okay, Pretty girl.

You’re ready to climb waterfalls, take long flights, dance until midnight and still look like the queen that you are.

Proud of you. Excited for you. Message me if you need me on Instagram @SoloGirlsTravelGuide

11 Travel Beauty Secrets from a Travel Queen

Who says you can’t be pretty while traveling?

 

No more sweaty group photos.

No more hiding your hair in a hat.

No more exploding shampoo in your laptop bag.

As a female digital nomad who travels the world 365 days a year, I’ve absolutely mastered the travel beauty game, and now I’m here to share some of my best travel beauty secrets with you.

Planes, trains, and buses – I never sacrifice beauty, and you don’t have to either.

So listen up to my best beauty tips and travel hacks that will keep you looking Instagram-worthy, no matter how long and hot your travel day may be…

1. Save your samples

You know those little samples you get from Sephora when you make a purchase? Save em’ for travel.

Have a little travel bag where you stash those mini moisturizers, shampoo packets, and tiny eye shadows. They offer the perfect amount of product for vacation, save you space, and are guaranteed to be carry-on approved.

Sneaky Tip: Sephora and Nordstrom’s give away free perfume samples, all you have to do is ask!

2. Carry Baby Powder

My secret weapon for greasy hair AND chaffing thighs is baby powder!

Dry shampoo can be expensive and aerosol canisters are not allowed as carry ons. But that’s okay because dry shampoo does wonders for soaking up greasy hair. Apply baby powder to your scalp before you go to sleep, and you’ll wake up with voluminous locks and no baby powder scent.

Also, if you’re like 95% of women who don’t have that “thigh gap” then you’ll likely experience the sweaty thigh chaffing nightmare that happens while wearing dresses on vacation. Pat some baby powder on your thighs and violá – no more chaffing.

3. Say NO to Foundation; YES to CC Cream with Built-In SPF

Buildable coverage and sun protection! Traveling with a multi-purpose CC Cream saves you space, allows you to customize your coverage for the climate, and protects your delicate skin during long adventure days.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been traveling with IT Cosmetics ‘Your Skin But Better’ CC Cream. The tube is around $44, which may sound a bit pricey, but it literally lasts an entire year (that’s just 12 ¢ per day).

Pro Tip: Apply with a wet beauty blender for buildable coverage.

You can also purchase a travel size IT Cosmetics CC Cream …but it doesn’t come with that product-saving pump, which means that you’ll be wasting tons of product in the long-run. Bite the bullet and go for the regular-size tube, which is already the perfect travel size, in my royal opinion.

4. Master the ‘Sock Bun’

The perfect sock bun

Literally the easiest 3-minute hair-fix, a Sock Bun should be part of every travel girl’s hair routine. It’s cute, comfortable, and keeps the hair out of your face during sweaty adventure days.

Before you travel, cut your tube-sock and practice rolling your hair into a Sock Bun using an easy-to-follow YouTube tutorial. All you’ll need is a hair elastic and a couple bobby pins to complete this iconic travel look. 

5. Use Aluminum Liquid Bottles, not Plastic

Is there anything worse than a travel shampoo bottle exploding in your carry-on bag?

Protect your purse and your products with a no-leak liquid travel bottle!

I swear by these Mini Metal Travel Bottles that have literally traveled across the globe with me. I can shove them in my carry-on and don’t have to secure them in a plastic zip lock bag first…cause they’re not going to crack mid-flight!

They’ve got a mist spray top, which I only utilize for my hair products. I fill the other bottles with my shampoos and face washes – and just unscrew the top to use them.

7. Bring a multi-purpose facial mist

Have you ever taken a 5+ hour flight and noticed how tight your skin is afterwards? It’s that gross recycled air! Keep your face fresh, moisturized and protected from absorbing all the icky gunk in the air by regularly misting during your flight with Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater.

Then, when you’re on the ground, start every morning with a mist to keep your skin hydrated in new climates!

Better yet, this facial mist also acts as an amazing long-wear makeup primer. Carry it in your purse to freshen up before photos!

6. Always carry exfoliating face wipes

You wouldn’t believe the amount of black residue that collects all over your face, neck and chest while traveling!

Whether it’s dirt roads in Mexico or riding through traffic in an open-air Tuk Tuk in Thailand, women’s skin breaks out easily. Bring exfoliating wipes with you on all your travels.

Swipe your face with a white cleansing cloth after a long adventure…and you’ll be horrified (and maybe a little fascinated) by the dark layer of sludge you collect.

I travel with Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Exfoliating Peach and Willow Bark! I shove one pack in every bag that I carry. They keep your complexion clear and are a refreshing mid-day treat for your skin.

8. skip the eyeshadow

Instead of carrying an entire eye shadow palette with me on weekend getaways, I bring my Paint Pots by Mac Cosmetics!

I’ve literally been purchasing and re-purchasing Mac’s Paint Pots since I started earning babysitting money at the age of 13.

The shade “Painterly” acts as a concealer, brightening up my lid so beautifully that I can wear it alone. “Bare Study” adds that bit of shimmer that makes you look super tan! “Rubenesque” is more of my go-to glam night that I’d wear to a barefoot beach bar. Again, all of these can be worn totally naked!

If you do want to bring some eye shadows, the Paint Pots are the BEST primers I’ve ever used. No matter if I’m swimming or sweating, my shimmers stay put all day and my crease doesn’t smear.

Each pot runs around $22 and lasts for a year. Do it.

9. use travel perfume bottles

I used to carry my full-size Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume with me on my travels…and then I left the entire bottle in a dorm bathroom which was an expensive mistake. Now, I decant my perfume into a mini travel spray bottle for easy carry and low-risk!

These Perfume Atomizer Bottles are made of aluminum and are refillable – which means years of use. They even come with a little funnel to make the process quick and easy.

10. use an epilator before you travel

If you can handle a bit of pain and don’t have terribly sensitive skin, try this DIY hair removal method. Imagine a row of tweezers working together to remove hair quickly. Now image 5 rows on a rotating system that tackle big areas in a little amount of time. That’s an epilator.

Use it on your armpits, legs, toes, face…I just wouldn’t recommend using it on your bikini area. But hey, who am I to stop you?

An epilator will save you money spent on waxing and save you a bit of space & effort now that you don’t need to carry a razor with you on your travels.

11. hydrate

Water, water, water!

It’s so easy to get caught up in margaritas and cervezas that you forget your good ol’ friend, Aqua!

It shouldn’t be a secret (but it seems that it is) that water is the key to glowing, radiating skin! Decrease the dark circles and bags under your eyes, keep your skin from drying out, hold your tan longer, and maintain a supple texture just by drinking 2 liters of water per day…especially in the sun!

Water is also to thank for less-frizzy hair and fighting chapped lips.

Bring a Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle on your travels to reduce plastic waste and help you keep track of your water intake; just three refills per day will do the trick.

Extra Travel Beauty Tips

1. Don’t Bring your Entire Makeup Bag

Unless you’re vacationing in France with your Fiancé, you don’t need that bright red lipstick, highlighter palette, or liquid eyeliner. Pick a travel makeup bag that is half the size of your day-to-day makeup bag and limit yourself.

2. Leave your Hair Dryer and Hair Tools at Home

Blow Dryers take up too much space in your luggage and are not compatible with foreign voltage. Plus, many hotels and Airbnbs will have a blow dryer for you! And if I’m being totally real with you…your hair will likely end up in a ponytail or bun during your travels anyways!

3. Use Hotel Conditioner as Shaving Cream

Instead of carrying a heavy shaving cream bottle that you’ll only use once or twice during your travels, collect those free hotel bottles to create a shaving cream of your own.


For more tips, check out my travels on Instagram @SoloGirlsTravelGuide

Coming to Asia? Get a copy of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide to help you plan the most badass (and safest) trip of your life.