That’s it, the long-awaited moment has arrived, girls, the main reason you all plan to go to Australia is to experience the joys of one epic road trip! Like any big trip there is always a million thoughts running through your mind and anxiety is felt. There is no denying that we all need a minimum of comfort and mental preparation before hitting the road. In this article, we reveal hot tips and tricks that will be very useful in preparation for your Australian road trip.
Curly will become the new straight
It will be a difficult step for some of you, but the reality is, it is best to leave your hair straightener at home. You will find very few places with an electrical outlet and having to pay to use electricity just for a hair iron it is ridiculous. We all know that as backpackers, saving money is very important. So, leave your hair natural. They will thank you, as will your travel companions.
Tip: You can simply maintain your wavy or curly hair every morning. Use a spray bottle filled with water, for only $4 at Kmart. Wet your curls/waves and then apply a dab of Aloe Vera gel. Finally, shape your curls with your hands. That’s it, your curls will be revived until the next shampoo. For naturally straight hair, a brush and a braid before bedtime will do the trick.
DIY portable toilet
When travelling along the vast Australian highways and roads, it might be hours upon hours before you will reach a toilet block. So, for those of you who struggle with doing your business in the bush and need the comfort of a toilet seat, we have a little DIY hack! With a bucket, a toilet lid, a drill and some screws, you will be able to make a portable toilet to use anytime anywhere. You will be able to find all this at Bunnings Warehouse. You will need to have garbage bags packed to use as a toilet liner and some sand. You are free to find a place in the bush, or to land in your van with your portable toilet. The must, buy biodegradable toilet paper. You can find them at Coles or Woolworths.
The second option, the most used in wild camping, is that of the shovel. And yes, declutter and free yourself from constraints. Just a little time is enough to find you a cozy place to do your business. Use your shovel and live the full camping experience. Granted, even as a seasoned adventurer, it’s not the most comfortable option.
Introduce Apple cider vinegar into your diet
Apple cider vinegar is magical for all its benefits, it promotes the development and renewal of intestinal flora. Drink every night at bedtime. Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with a little hot water and some honey and you’re done. Among its virtues, the most useful is that it can fight against bad breath because it is a powerful antibacterial, very useful on a road trip. Other benefits include; promotes digestion by absorbing too much acid in the stomach, fights against acne, relieves mosquito bites, relieves sunburn, tones the skin and gives shine to your hair. Always drink it diluted and in moderation as it can cause gastric ulcers due to its high natural acidity.
Not bad is not it ? It is to be used diluted and in moderation. Its natural acidity can cause gastric ulcers, if consumed in too large quantities. Choose it organic, with natural components, in supermarkets, or popular pharmacies (Chemist Warehouse).
Master your menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle is also an important topic. How do you stay clean under all circumstances and proceed aseptically? Several options are available to you. The most effective way is to use sanitary napkins or tampons. Pack intimate wipes, a hydro-alcohol gel and if there are no bins available, a small trash can with bin liners. It is the simplest and the most hygienic way. There are also menstrual cups, but these need to be rinsed after each use and water will not always be available, especially in Outback Australia.
Your third option is period underwear. To put on in place of your usual underwear, period panties are thicker and provide optimal absorption. It is advisable to change your menstrual panties every 8 hours maximum (depending on your flow). Opt for a set of different thicknesses. Rinse them with clean water and by hand, first, then wash with your clothes when you have access to a washing machine.
Finally, there are contraceptive pills that avoid the menstrual cycle. Talk to your gynecologist or doctor about this option.
During your roadtrips, the applications Campermate (free) and Wikicamps ($7.99) are your allies. These apps feature all free camping spots, public BBQ’s, parks and FREE showers! Most of the showers that are free around Australia are outdoors and cold, but that can sometimes be the refreshment you are looking for! If there are no showers if the area, then you must intervene.
Cleansing wipes are a “must have” for a quick “shower” without access to water. If your water supply is full, bring a basin. Use it to wash your armpits, hands, face, feet and private parts first. All in the old fashioned way, like our dear grandmothers. This basin will also be useful for your dishes or washing your clothes.
Finally, you can create your own shower. This is possible with a 10 liter pressure sprayer, originally used for insecticides. The pressure is sufficient for the use of a shower head. It allows you to consume little water, and thus save money. You also have the option of making a homemade solar shower. You can attach a pvc pipe that you fill with water to the roof of your vehicle. It is naturally heated by the sun during the day and offers you a hot shower in the evening, when the temperatures cool down. Another practical option, a 20-litre shower, can be found at Kmart for $9.50. It is literally a bag of water to be hung on a branch for example. Use solid soaps, ecological and economical products.
There is no need to pack a suitcase full of your best clothing because between the salt, the red dirt and the poor-quality washing machines at laundromats, your clothes will take a beating. Forget the “because you never know”.
The essentials to pack for an Australian road trip include; a good/comfortable pair of sneakers, dark clothing as it will be hard to maintain white and light colours, a warm sweater, a pair of thongs for showering in public areas, clothes that are light and quick drying, a swimsuit, a decent pair of sunglasses and bottles of sun cream to protect your skin from the harsh Australian sun.
Pack coconut oil
It will become an essential beauty product. Use it as a nourishing mask for dry hair and for soothing sunburn or dry cracking skin. The lauric acid in coconut oil has a high affinity for hair proteins. Be careful not to apply it to your roots. It will smother your roots and grease them very quickly. By its nourishing properties, coconut oil helps dehydrated skin, softens the skin, soothes redness, is healing and relieves sunburn. It also helps treat stretch marks. Be careful not to apply it as a day cream, make-up remover, or regularly on your skin. Coconut oil has the particularity of clogging the pores of the skin due to its thick molecules. It will create comedones. Prefer very dry skin areas (elbows, knees, heels, scars, etc.).
Choose a cold pressed organic coconut oil for the best results. It can be purchased from supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths. Coconut oil is also an excellent cooking oil and tolerates the hottest temperatures without destroying its nutritional properties. It’s cheap in Australia and you’ll often find deals at Coles, Woolworths, or Aldi. The oil is stored in a glass jar, perfect for the environment.
It is not always easy to keep on top of your beauty when travelling however, that does not mean you have to lose your confidence. The life of a traveler rhymes with nature. Your physical and mental health will thank you. Free yourself from makeup and judgement. In Australia, nobody pays attention to details. Feel free to pamper yourself from time to time if you feel like it. Follow your instincts (and our advice)! We have already given you a few hot tips thanks to coconut oil and apple cider vinegar to help you keep your shine. If makeup is your confidence, then only pack a small makeup bag with perhaps some powder foundation and mascara. Forget the lipsticks as they will melt in the heat. Instead, get a red gel lipstick type. You will have plenty of down time to paint your nails, so do not forget the nail polish!
Your life on social media
Australia’s big problem for backpackers is the quality of the mobile phone network! It is a huge civilized country, but there are network problems and it is not very developed in terms of free Wi-Fi as in other countries. Expect to be cut off from the network for two or three days during your outback Australia road trips. Telstra is probably the best network with the most reliable coverage however it is also the most expensive. If you end up craving a social media binge then you can find free wifi at McDonalds, local libraries and in some cafes. It is good to disconnect from that world for some time though.
Like the hair straightener, leave your electric epilator at home! The simplest option for hair removal while on the road is the good old razor; small, compact and always at hand.
Do you have any great tips for girls on a road trip? Leave us a comment :).