• backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroad

Backpackers Boutique: Packing Tips from Ashley Abroad

Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature another travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.

An interview with packing tips from Ashley Abroad.

Tell us a little about about who you are, what your blog is called, and where you’re traveling now.

Hey! I’m Ashley and I blog over at AshleyAbroad.com. I just got back from a world trip through Europe, India and Asia but right now I’m home in Michigan.

Do you use a backpack or rolley suitcase for long-term travel?

While other backpackers love to hate it, I adore my rolling Osprey Sojourn 60 L pack. And after years of carrying a traditional backpack it’s such a joy to not have my back aching all day. (Also I got it on sale for $150- win!)

What’s great is I can wear it on my back if I need to- but in a year of traveling I only had to do it once, while boarding a longtail boat in Thailand.

backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroad

What shoes are your every day walking around, sightseeing shoes? And how many pairs of shoes do you pack for a long-term backpacking trip?

When I travel in warm places I live in my black Ginger Drift Reef flip flops. I think I must’ve owned at least five pairs of the last ten years! I also pack Nike running shoes for outdoorsy activities like canyoning and hiking. But if I want to look more fashionable I bring my Steve Madden lace-up boots or black leather Tieks ballet flats.

Also on my ten-day hike in the Himalayas this spring I brought real hiking boots and I’m so glad I did- I can’t imagine hiking 6-8 hours of steep, sometimes snowy terrain in tennis shoes. I’ve had my Vasque hiking boots since I was 15 and I kind of hope they last forever.

When you’re pigging out trying new foods, other than typical walking & sightseeing in towns- what do you do to keep away the love-handles?

Well, when I’m traveling Europe I don’t keep away the love-handles- I tend to eat and drink to excess and inevitably put on a few pounds. (Living in Europe is a different story, but when I’m there for a short period of time I just want to eat, drink and be merry.)

When I’m in Asia I always lose weight even though I drink lots of beer and eat as much street food as my heart desires. I suspect this is because I forget to eat because I’m having so much fun, I get food poisoning semi-frequently, the beer is super light, the food is relatively healthy, I walk a ton, I do lots of adventure activities and I often stay out until dawn dancing.

When you’re traveling, do you pick up beauty & shower products while you go or are there products you can’t live without- what are they?

I bring most of my own products: LUSH Solid Shampoo, Venus razor with extra blades, make-up and other toiletries, and I pick up little things like soap and conditioner on the way.

backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroad

If someone said to you “I could never live out of a backpack for 3 months” what would be the first advice you would give them?

Living out of a backpack is surprisingly easier than it seems- it’s really amazing how little you actually need. The thing most people don’t realize is you don’t have to look like a grungy backpacker just because you’re living out of a backpack!

What type of outfit do you take in case of a night out clubbing or going to a fancy bar/hotel?

I wear a black tank top with my black BCBG bandage skirt that’s super comfortable but looks polished. And while I don’t love the look of a pencil skirt and flats, I wear the black Tieks I won in the Angie Away giveaway because they’re comfortable and pack up small. (Thanks, Angie!) I also make sure to brush my hair and use serum, wear make-up and throw on cheap costume jewelry.

What is the one material thing you miss most from home while you’re roughin’ it abroad?

Um, is it weird if I say my bathrobe? I love that thing. Which is why I have a Packtowl travel bathrobe that I also won in the Angie Away giveaway. It’s the best, especially in hostels.

When you’ve been on sleeping on trains and buses for days, what products do you use to freshen up or do you just wait until you find a hotel?

I love Simple face wipes to freshen up.

backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroadThe Werkenntwen has to ask, would you ever pack heels on a backpacking trip?

Nope, they’re uncomfortable and bulky. At best I would bring espadrilles, but I haven’t done that in years.

Airport style: love looking LA paparazzi ready or could care less? Do you pack “plane” or “relaxing” clothes for a long-term backpacking trip or would it take up too much space?

I wear leggings, flip flops and a hoodie. It’s also essential to have an eye mask and scarf for sleeping. Face wipes, lip balm and gum help too.

Do you have a special skin care routine on the road to prevent breakouts from the stress, sweat, and humidity?

I wash my face with CeraVe face wash and use Differin, a prescription acne cream, on my skin at night. I also remove my eye-makup with Almay  Longwear & Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads at night. During the day I use Olay Complete SPF 30 moisturizer.

What does your most worn, daily outfit look like while you’re traveling?

Basically I pack about a gazillion black tank tops and pair them with various bottoms: jean shorts, bandage skirts and colorful maxi skirts.

[Note from the Hippie, not surprised about the black tanks, this girl is a Paris girl at heart].

photo credit: Juilka of Sateless Suitcase

Tell us the ONE thing you pack for a long backpacking trip & would never leave behind.

My eye mask. I love that thing to death. It makes it so I can almost always sleep, whether on a crowded bus in Cambodia or a hotel room during the day.

And for the girls, what are your absolute favorite make up products you take with you on a trip?

I bring MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation (great for when you have a shiny face in Asia), Benefit They’re Real Mascara, Bobbi Brown Bronzer, Covergirl eyebrow pencil, stila waterproof liner, NARS lip pencil in Damned and bareMinerals blush and eyeshadow. The bareMinerals are great because they’re tiny. Also sometimes I bring liquid foundation, but that’s only if my skin’s really acting up and I’m in Europe.

You can only pick one: iPod or Kindle?

Wow, this is IMPOSSIBLE. I’d have to go iPod and then just pick up paperbacks as I go. Though I adore my Kindle and wouldn’t travel without it.

backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroad

Thank you for interviewing on Werkenntwen, before you go can you tell readers that may be on the fence about taking a trip why YOU think they should go for it!

I’ll fall back on one of my favorite quotes, “Journey is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.” And what better to invest in than your personal growth and understanding of the world?


backpackers boutique packing tips from ashley abroadAshley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21 and has been traveling the world ever since. She’s usually in pursuit of yoga, languages and perfectly ripe cheese and her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia. Reach her on , , and .

Shop Ashley’s Faves!



Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments or by sharing it with the social media links! I’d love to keep giving you travel tricks & tips so feel free to subscribe by e-mail in the big purple box below. Don’t forget you can follow me on , , & bloglovin‘.


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Yara Miora October 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Such a lovely and useful post :) Thanks for sharing!

    Ps. Though I have to admit that I’s probably bring a pair of heels anyways haha

  2. gina October 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    great post, am thinking of going travelling for a 3 months season so v useful! http://www.thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk

  3. Andrea Anastasiou October 5, 2014 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    My airport outfit is identical! When I wasn’t travelling long-term, I used to dress up a bit when I was flying (hoping for that upgrade;-)) but now I’m backpacking it isn’t an option!

    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2014 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      Did the upgrade ever work lol? It hasn’t for me! I’m just a yoga pants type.

  4. Rebekah October 5, 2014 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    I keep hearing amazing things about Lush… I legit need to explore that store at some point. I think leggings are a girls best friend while travelling!

    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      I would love to try LUSH too! can’t find it in India

  5. Ashley of Ashley Abroad October 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for the interview, Rachel! It was one of my favorite ones I’ve ever done :)

  6. Stef October 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    Great questions, I loved the interview. I also travel with a rolling Soujourn pack and love to not have to carry a backpack all the time. The money was very worth spent.

  7. Danni @Leftnleavin October 6, 2014 at 2:42 am - Reply

    Awesome interview- I lvoe both of y’alls blogs.
    I’m traveling with a carry-on sized bag but I’ll be damned before I leave my lipsticks behind haha.

    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks Danni. Ha ha, I take so many lipstick colors!!

  8. Catherine October 6, 2014 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Some great advice here, thanks for sharing!

    Had not really considered the option of a rolling backpack – is it still comfortable when it’s on your back?

    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2014 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      I’ll leave that one for Ashley.. I’d love to try one and see a lot of travelers with them

  9. Colleen Brynn October 6, 2014 at 8:57 am - Reply

    I JUST started using CeraVe and Differin this summer – weird! I love both… and traveling can be so difficult and stressful with touchy skin.

    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2014 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      I used to use it about 2 years ago per my dermatologists recommendations but didn’t feel like the cerave got my face clean enough.. it was so gentle and I like one that burns lol

  10. Franca October 6, 2014 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    I’d go for iPod too, I don’t even have a kindle, I prefer books, yes I’m old fashion about it :)

    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2014 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      I don’t have a kindle either, but think it’d be great for travel— maybe I’ll ask my mom for one for christmas ;)

  11. Elora October 7, 2014 at 1:08 am - Reply

    Loved this interview! Thanks guys! I’m adding this to my mental file of things to make sure to do/bring. I love hearing others’ tips, especially when it includes things girls will have to worry about.

  12. Tim | UrbanDuniya October 8, 2014 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Good call about the face wipes. My dad gave me a pack of them before I went away on my first trip, and I thought it was a weird going away gift. Once on the road, I couldn’t live without them!!

    • Rachel Jones October 8, 2014 at 7:15 pm - Reply

      You’re right they are amazing and so helpful especially in India in the pollution

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