• backpackers boutique packing tips from girl vs globe

Backpackers Boutique: Packing Tips from Girl vs Globe

Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new 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. I’m looking for more participants, so e-mail me if you’d like to be featured.

An interview with packing tips from Girl vs Globe.

backpackers boutique packing tips from girl vs globe

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

Hi Rachel, thanks for having me! My name is Sabina and I’m the blogger behind “Girl vs Globe” – a website documenting my existential struggles around the world. I’m currently staying in Vienna and exploring the beautiful Imperial city before I move back to London at the end of September to finish my university degree.

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

My long-term travels always seem too long-term for a backpack – I usually move to a new place to work or study and end up staying for a few months at least. I do bring a smaller bag for shorter getaways while my humongous pink suitcase patiently waits for me in my temporary home though. I love it – it’s an adorable polka-dot trolley suitcase from Guess and it comes with a matching handbag, which you can tack onto it. It can fit all I need for up to a month of travelling.

I’ve never travelled with a backpack, but hopefully I’ll get around to trying that as well. Anyone I know would tell you that backpacking is decidedly not “me”, but I’d love to prove everyone wrong! I do the same things a backpacker would anyway – just with cuter luggage.

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 visiting sunny countries, I always pack my favourite pair of Guess sandals – I’ve taken them out to beach parties in Croatia and even mountain climbing in Greece! I promise I’m not working on commission – Guess products are just surprisingly sturdy and very stylish.

For a long-term trip I tend to pack at least five pairs of shoes. I always bring a pair of £2.50 black shoes from Primark which I usually throw away at the end of the trip and a pair of sneakers for (not) going to the gym. I also like to have a pair of ballerinas for everyday use and some sandals if I’m going to a hot country. A pair of flip flops is perfect for going to the shower in dingy hostels and for when you just want to get some street food from a shop across the street. I also never fail to pack a pair of high heels because you never know…

backpackers boutique packing tips from girl vs globe

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?

I love trying new foods, but I always try to offset all the deliciously unhealthy food with loads of fresh vegetables and plenty of water. I never drink coffee or sugary drinks which also helps me cut down on calories.

I don’t really do any exercise outside of your typical sightseeing when I’m travelling. But I don’t use public transport unless I really have to, so I end up walking miles every day! Add in some late night dancing at questionable bars and you’ve got yourself a kickass fitness routine… or not. Luckily it’s always worked for me, but I suspect I will have to add in some slightly more beneficial types of physical activity in the future. I used to practice wing chun kung fu back in London and I’m moving there in a month, so hopefully I’ll take that up again and fight my way to a healthier lifestyle!

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 really enjoy learning about local beauty regimens when I’m on the road. Whenever I find something I like, I immediately include it in my routine. I started using Argan Oil, rose oil and black soap after my trip to Morocco and they have completely changed my life… Or the look of my bathroom shelf at least.

The only thing I always bring with me is Dove go fresh deodorant and my beloved Volume Millions mascara from L’Oreal – I don’t want to risk having to live without them.

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?

My answer would be: “OMG, samesies.” As I told you earlier, I don’t even own a backpack and have never tried travelling with one. Having said that, I’ve managed to fit a month’s worth of stuff into a carry-on bag, so perhaps it’s not all that different.

It’s all about prioritising – would you rather wear a different outfit every day or not have to deal with chronic back pain ten years from now? The correct answer is the latter, by the way – although I do ignore my own good advice fairly often.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can buy most things while you’re travelling. I only bring tiny bottles of shower gel and shampoo, because I prefer to buy them when I arrive at my destination. This not only makes my luggage lighter, but also gives me an excuse to try out local beauty products!

backpackers boutique packing tips from girl vs globe

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

I always have at least one pair of heels and a pretty dress at my disposal – I would take being overdressed over being underdressed any day of the week. Except maybe Monday – who wants to attract attention on a Monday? But I digress. I recommend shoes with a wide heel or better yet a platform, so that you don’t have to twist your face with pain after five minutes of wearing them. As for dresses, definitely bring something you don’t need to iron! I apply that rule to all new purchases – if it requires ironing, I don’t buy it! 

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

Honestly, there are few material things I miss on the road – I find being away from them liberating rather than limiting.

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 always bring a bottle of hand sanitiser, which I use for a couple of days before giving up and embracing the dirt. When I’m travelling outside of developed urban areas, I usually find my attempts at freshening up futile and so I tend to give up and wait till I run across a shower. I do always carry a packet of face wipes though and use them whenever I get the chance!

The Werkenntwen has to ask, would you ever pack heels on a backpacking trip?

I was hoping you wouldn’t ask, because the answer is a resounding yes. I’ve once even tried to go on a backpacking trip in heels – you can read about the whole adventure (which also involved a nun costume and the British secret service) here. I’m quite the party animal and when I go out, I go all out – not rocking a pair of killer heels when I go to a fancy club is unthinkable to me.

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?

It depends on the length of the flight. If it’s around two to three hours, I often go all out – heels, makeup, a nice hairdo… There’s something really glamorous about dressing up to fly and it makes me feel like a 50s housewife.

For longer flights, I usually embrace the comfort of leggings, an oversized sweater and a scarf. I’ve always found it to be a convenient but reasonably fashionable choice – and a scarf can double up as a blanket! All these items are something I’d bring on a long-term trip, so they don’t take up extra space.

I usually fly sans makeup, because I don’t want to clog up my skin and subject it to excessive torture – the recycled air in airplane cabins is bad enough for it! I just pack some foundation and mascara in my carryon to apply when I get off the plane.

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

My skin used to be absolutely dreadful, but is finally clearing up as I get older – thank heavens for ageing, eh? After my trip to Morocco I began using black soap to exfoliate, which helps keep my skin supple and healthy looking.

As for breakouts, I carry an antibiotic cream prescribed by my dermatologist which works wonders. I also always use sunscreen – it doesn’t do much now, but it will keep my face looking like a baby’s butt for years to come. And who doesn’t want that?

backpackers boutique packing tips from girl vs globe

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

I always adapt my outfits to the country I’m travelling to, not just in terms of warmth but also in regards to style. As a result of this my outfits tend to be pretty diverse, but I do have a few staples my wardrobe wouldn’t work without. I always pack a colourful silk scarf – they’re so versatile and can be used for anything from keeping your head warm in the winter (I’m currently trying to make Russian babushka-style headscarves happen worldwide) to covering your shoulders in a Buddhist temple. I also never fail to bring a pair of leggings, a red miniskirt and a few black tank tops. Other than that it’s all about bright colours and ridiculous prints – I’m well known for my quirky style among my friends!

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

I never travel without plenty of good Spotify playlists on my iPhone. I usually become completely obsessed with a certain song for a short period of time and then come to associate it with the places where I listened to it most. Whenever I hear Kesha belting out the chorus of “Timber”, I travel back in time to a kitschy bar in Beijing while Ghostpoet’s “Meltdown” takes me on a night tour through Saint Petersburg. I love those tiny memory vacations!

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

When it comes to makeup, I’m not exactly a low maintenance girl. I pack foundation, mascara, bronzer, eyeliner, eye-shadow, blush and lipstick… at least! Having said that, the one thing I could not live without is my eyebrow pencil. Even if I’m staying in the whole day, I rarely neglect my eyebrows – they can take you from unkempt to fresh-faced in seconds.

backpackers boutique packing tips from girl vs globe

You can only pick one: iPod or Kindle?

Do people still use iPods? I just use my iPhone to listen to my Spotify playlists. I don’t own a Kindle but have been thinking of getting one for a while now. I just read e-books on my iPad, which is a little straining on the eyes but super practical for when you want to leave your laptop at home!

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!

Unless I have completely misunderstood the basic principles of time flow, right this very second you are as young and full of energy as you will ever be. You might not have much money, but that’s fine because now is the time to rough it a little and collect memorable adventures. Trust me – few good travel stories start with the words “I was sipping a cocktail at an all-inclusive resort.” Get out of your pyjamas, get out of your comfort zone and I promise you it’s something you will never regret!


backpackers boutique packing tips from girl vs globeSabina is a travel blogger, twenty-something student and aspiring grownup. She has a passion for fashion, revels in her travels and is always in the mood for food. She also has a weakness for delicious cocktails and cute animals (boys included!). She’s trying to make the whole world her home and her travel blog is her progress report. Reach on on , , and .


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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. christina October 20, 2014 at 12:14 am - Reply

    found you on Bloglovin’ and am obsessed! love love your name and site style ~ I’ll be back :)


  2. christina October 20, 2014 at 12:14 am - Reply

    found you on bloglovin’ and am obsessed! love love your site name and style ~ I’ll be back!


  3. Becci October 20, 2014 at 2:19 am - Reply

    I’ve been considering updating my wardrobe/backpack contents for a while now but have been a wee bit reluctant to let go of the dirty hippie look I’ve gotten so comfortable with. After reading this I’m set on it- a shopping trip in Bangkok on my way back to Nepal next month! Time to clean up a bit I think!

    • Rachel Jones October 20, 2014 at 9:37 am - Reply

      lol you should totally stay dirty hippie style but in a cute way! that’s what I strive for ;) hah

  4. Elise October 20, 2014 at 5:59 am - Reply

    I love all of these tips! especially the point about buying an inexpensive pair of shoes and tossing them or checking out local beauty products. I think thats the best way to try new things and often make great gifts. Lovely post!


    • Rachel Jones October 20, 2014 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Yeah Sabina has some good ideas here, I love the local products idea as well – it’s something I don’t do enough of

  5. Glamourous Journeyler October 20, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Cute interview and a super fun read. Nice to know that there are some die hard travellers out there who refuse to part with their high heels!

  6. Richelle @AdventuresAroundAsia October 20, 2014 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    I love Sabina! I’m definitely not a super glamorous traveler (I never pack heels), but I love to live vicariously through her awesome travel fashion sense.

    • Rachel Jones October 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Lol, I do too! She posts lots of fashion blog articles

  7. Anna R October 21, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    I love being able to travel with just a carry on, but I also always bring heels! Love this new series.

  8. Tim | UrbanDuniya October 22, 2014 at 3:36 am - Reply

    STUNNING pictures of Greece there! And I totally know what you mean about the mini vacations with songs – I don’t tend to think much of it at the time, but later, after the trip, I realise that I have attached the memory to it. On the other hand, I had a really special journey once (for personal reasons), and now I almost can’t listen to the songs from that trip, because I’m liable to get all sentimental and mooshy!

    • Rachel Jones October 22, 2014 at 9:26 am - Reply

      She takes amazing photos :) and I feel the same way about music w/travel and even smells, like a lotion I wore on a trip will bring back those memories later.

  9. Emme M November 3, 2014 at 1:05 am - Reply

    Love the interview , i am glad i’m not the only one who doesn’t do backpackers cause i just brought a new case to inspire my travels .

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