Last year I spent three months on the road in a tiny RV and learned a thing or two about living in small spaces and out of campground bathrooms on a small budget. “Roughing it” brings to mind images of not showering for weeks and growing leg hairs that rival the farm animals you drive past. I found that you can still be a girl while roughing it. So here are some of my top tips for girls on the road.
Lets face it, you don’t really need to wash your outer clothes every time you wear them unless you spilled your lunch all over while driving or have a serious body odor problem. You can re-wear clothes for days saving you money on laundry and allowing for lighter packing. But honestly, no girl likes feeling like she is wearing the same old thing every day. It’s important to feel good about yourself even when you’re on the road. You’ll find it’s easy to keep wearing the same basic clothes while still feeling fresh and original if you bring dark simple colors that don't show the dirt and then accessorize them with different hats, scarves, belts, jewelry, jackets or sweaters to change up your look. Throw a bandana on over a messy updo. Roll up your pants, paint your toes red and wear flip flops. Grab a trucker hat and some cheap new sunglasses at your next rest stop and put it on over pigtails. That way if you end up driving back to the same campsite the next day, everyone won’t look at you in (what you imagine to be) horror at your repeat outfit.
If you’re on the road for an extended amount of time bag up the clothes you’ve grown tired of wearing over and over and find a local thrift store to donate them to or get a few bucks for them, then find yourself a few new outfits for cheap. That way you get a fresh look and a souvenir while saving money.
The campground hand dryer is your friend! Besides saving trees, here are some ways to put it to good use …
1. Dry your wet hands with it. Well, duh.
1. Dry your wet hands with it. Well, duh.
2. No place to plug in your hairdryer or you just didn’t bring it along (good for you!)? Get your yoga practice in for the morning while turning your head of wet hair under the hand-dryer. Yes, you will have to keep pushing the button but your hair will have more body than it ever has before once it’s dry.
3. When you are between laundry days and need clean undies, just wash the ones you wore into the shower with your shampoo and then dry them under the dryer. This is super fast and easy. Alternately, you can hang them somewhere in your car/RV to dry out as well.
4. On cold days when you just cant get warm there is nothing like pointing the dryer spout down your shirt or at your cold face and ears to get a quick warm-up. (Whiskey also does the trick but that’s another blog)
5. Are your shirt and pants wrinkled from last nights toss to the floor? You’re re-wearing your clothes which is big points for you, but in order to look a little more fresh you can hold the wrinkled parts under the dryer for a few seconds and, voila! No wrinkles!
Though not as green as one would like, they do come in quite handy. Get the flushable, generic ones and keep a small bag of them close at all times. When there is no time for a shower, or no shower in your campground, you can use these babies for a quick wipe down in a bathroom stall or in your vehicle. Bring along some smell-good lotion to rub on and no one, but you, will know the difference. These also come in quite handy if you need to clean up a small spill while driving. Face wash wipes can be lifesavers for those mornings and nights when you don’t have access to running water. If you want to be more creatively green, there are ways to make your own wet wipes, Google away.
Keep It Small
Girls typically have lots of things, girly things. It’s hard to get everything down to the smallest essentials and still have everything we (think we) need. I usually like to buy the larger versions of toiletries and cosmetics because I get more for my money. But when you are on the road its best to either buy small travel sizes of generic essentials or pack small containers of your favorite lotions, make-up and shower items. Many times campground showers are small and there is nowhere to set things. It’s best if you pack a small day bag with mini-containers of your essentials (a hanging one is best) so that you aren’t bringing an entire suitcase in with you every time you shower. You can always keep bigger bottles in your vehicle and keep refilling the small containers.
Try to think of different ways you can use one item and eliminate another. For example: Use lipstick as blush, shampoo can double as body wash, etc., be creative.
Last words of advice... leave the curling/flat iron at home (no one needs to be that girly!), find ways to style without it or wear hats. You'll have more time for the important things by eliminating time spent on things like this. Also, a lot of driving can leave your body feeling out of sorts. Its not all about how you look but also how you feel. Try to skip the salty snacks at the rest stops. Stop at a grocery store and stock up on fruits, nuts, raw veggies and water ... yes it's a pain to pull over every hour to pee but you will look and feel better if you stay hydrated (and no, soda's don't count). Finally, take a few extra moments when you stop and at night to stretch, walk and maybe even do some standing yoga poses. If you feel a little too shy to pull out your down dog in front of all the people pumping gas, find a bathroom stall. There are lots of different standing poses and breathing techniques you can do in a small space.
This blog dedicated to my sis Rachael, who is currently on the road.