What to Bring
You will definitely need to bathe/shower and wash your clothing while backpacking abroad. My plan for this includes an easy-drying towel made with microfiber material that also retards the growth of bacteria (bacteria that may cause sickness and a foul-smelling backpack). I actually ended up buying tw
o of these (facial size) from the same company that I bought my convertible carry-on backpack from, Rick Steves. Although small, the towels are extremely absorbent and quickly drying, meaning that I didn’t need to lug a large or medium-size one around with me to dry off.
With the towels I also bought liquid travel wash soap. Liquids are easier to use, especially when water is limited and their easy-snap container tops make storage a breeze. Imagine daily cleaning up or scraping the film or r
esidue from a soap bar or its container! The travel soap I bought is designed to work up an easy lather and is safe for use on your body, face, or clothing.
I just took a shower in my first hostel. Wasn’t bad at all. Ample-sized for standing and 360-spins, the shower stall had clean walls and floor. There was only one temperature: warm. The flow of water was steady and was controlled by a timer button that provided about two minutes worth. The stall door had a rack for hanging my clothes on. The waterproof feature of space saver bags proved useful for carrying my toiletries in and out of the stall dry.
One word of advice I’m entitled to so far: let your towel dry before you place it into your bag. Its fast-drying capabilities won’t necessarily work with it sealed in a waterproof bag. And, it should be sealed in a waterproof bag for those days when it rains or your fall into a river :-).