Traveler’s stench and 5 ways to survive

Ever so often travel becomes tiring and loses it’s novelty. Somehow, you will know when that happens. It won’t hit you like a bolt of lightning or a ton of bricks; rather it will creep in, slowly and silently, very much in the same fashion a thief sneaks into your home.

You will know because packing clothes meticulously, making lists of what you will wear on your trip from one day to the next, with matching accessories to boot, will be a distant mirage; long forgotten, because you’ve likely morphed into a full-blown globetrotter who carries about the bare necessities in a tote bag, and lives out of a rugged backpack.

That will be the moment to thank heavens that your loved ones live a continent away, and are not within sights to gaze upon your scraggly hair with bewildered looks. After all, they brought you up to believe that travel is an occasion just as important as meeting the Queen; that you should dress like you are going to a ball and smell like a bouquet of flowers.

Gazing at the Queen's residence, Buckingham Palace.

Gazing at the Queen’s residence, Buckingham Palace.

If you’ve worn the same clothes for five days straight while traveling, it better be because you don’t have a home; voluntarily or otherwise. As someone who loathes packing with the same passion she loves travel, a brilliant thought crossed my mind the other day.

Why not pack minimal clothes in the tiny suitcase, thus not only avoiding check-in fees that Ryan Air happily doles out, and avoid dragging a heavy suitcase all over?

Eureka! That is precisely how I came to wearing the same clothes five days straight. With just two pairs of trousers, two blouses, one sweater, shoes, a vest, a couple of panties and my whole perfume load, there was no way I could not end up wearing the same clothes for a stretch of time.

Let’s just say, I hated it. I had to fight the urge to leave the house with little more than a clean vest each morning. The weather discouraged me mostly; because winter going into spring comes about with gale force winds, heavy pelts of raindrops and mushy mud. This girl was born for the tropics.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always put a premium on smell. My head turns only when people smelling good walk past me. I’ve been known to race after strangers on the streets to ask them what scent they were wearing because the odor that wafted off of them was a symphony of olfactory delights. In the same vein, if someone smells bad…that’s the one thing I’ll remember about them; not their good work or high achievements; it will rather be because they stunk.

Despite coming close to the end of my short get-away, with everything giving off a little stench, I survived by doing five things which I hope can be helpful to you in a similar situation;

1) Take daily baths or showers. Wearing clothes twice or thrice is vastly different from skipping showers or baths for the equivalent number of days; so give yourself a squeaky clean good scrub and brush your teeth.

2) Drench your clean body in perfumes, body sprays and sweet smelling creams after your bath. Not only will you feel good but it evens out the unwashed clothes smell.

3) Dress smart. If you’re all smart and spiffy, it will boost your confidence, and you will feel less conscious about other people’s noses.

4) Be outdoors as much as possible. Bad smells are often diffused by being in the open air.

5) Repeatedly wearing garments for several days is not the same as wearing undergarments for the same amount of time. A clean set of boxers or panties should be worn daily. If you have to be gross, be gross part of the way. Being gross all the way is unacceptable. Go commando if all else fails.

If you are on a longer trip, there comes a point where you should hand wash your clothes somewhere; hostel/hotel sinks? If you’re camping, perhaps a water stream?




3 replies »

  1. Nice post!

    This is one of the reasons that I don’t do communal hostels anymore. If I haven’t got a private room, then it’s not happening, ‘cos of the stink!

    The stink of smelly socks, muddy shoes and vomit. Don’t ask!


    • Thanks! British Berliner..haha, funny. I’m also not a fan of hostels; even a room with shared bathroom freaks me out a wee bit. I’ve discovered that going to some places low season will make you feel like you have all the nice facilities to yourself. The stink of socks, shoes and vomit is enough to send one packing a little earlier from their vacations!

      Liked by 1 person

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