This article is absolutely serious ! haha I had thought about writing you something about hygiene when on a road trip already, and it is a small talk on another blog that made me think again about this idea. I was reading an article on Black&Wood about campaign in Iceland (definitely on my bucket list), and I asked by commenting for more precise information about the showers and stuff like that. Which made Thibaut, one of the blog’s authors, laugh as he started his answer saying “Aaaah, here is someone who is interested in real life questions” (translation from French). And yes ! It surely does not seem like it, but it is a crucial question during a road trip, so here are my tips and ideas on that topic 🙂
We will start by re-establishing the hontes truth on hygiene when on the road. You obviously will not be able to have three bubbling baths per day (not good for the environnement anyway guys), but you also should have to say goodbye to regular showers for a whole week either ! It is more a question of knowing how to organize yourself basically, we perfectly managed with all that during our journey on the US West coast. You may have to make some concessions from time to time but overall, it is really not as horrible as we might initially think !
» A shower, a shower !
Traveling here and there, you certainly will need this shower (well… I hope so !) but being on the road makes it a bit harder. As we opted for the campervan, we did not have a shower in our vehicle. (If it is absolutely necessary to you, better choose a real RV, but you will have to think about getting rid of the wastewater and filling the tank from time to time.) In any other case, you will simply have to get organized so that those precious showers are as regular as possible !
On the Us West coast, most of the campgrounds have showers – hallelujah. They are not all equipped the same way, but in most cases, you will have access to the sanitation block in which you will be able to shower. They can be free or paying (to activate with 25 cents coins, or quarters as they call it there). Anyway, even if you do not book everything in advance, you can list campgrounds around the places you will visit according to whether or not they have showers. That way, you will not be taken by surprise and all the info you need is usually available on the internet. In the most visited places, you will see that it is not that hard to find – you just may have to do some more research if you are stoping in more remote areas.
» What is the alternative ?
Well, this first part was to reassure you… But you can also find yourself with no shower nearby unfortunately. In fact, we also ended up on campgrounds that were not equipped (although we surely would have needed it in Death Valley !) or stayed a night or two on parking lots… Because of that, we had to give up the idea of a shower and compose with what we had at the time. For those days here and there on which you will not be able to slowly wake up under the soothing feeling of hot water and the smell of your favorite soap, you absolutely have to get your hands on the 2 following products (in addition to a good stock of deodorant) :
WIPES : You can find them in any grocery store (and that you can find at every corner in the US), whether it is simple cleaning wipes or even baby wipes. It does not replace a good shower, but it will help you freshen up waiting for the Grail ! They can be replaced by a washcloth and a bit of soap.
DRY SHAMPOO : The invention of the century of you ask me ! Even if we are not doigt a fashion show, it is always cool to have your hair look at least a bit clean on the pictures, right ? Dry shampoo is the solution for you ! It does not wash, but freshen your hair up, once again – it simply allows you to space out to shampoos without looking too mucky.
I have another amazing idea for you, but I had no idea it existed when we left : the solar shower ! Basically it is a water pocket that you warm up in the sun so you can then shower anywhere. Great, right ? You will not be able to have water for long minutes but it apparently is enough to get wet, clean yourself and rinse your body. Do not hesitate to get more info about that, or check out the Decathlon portable showers (or at any other sport or camping store).
» Have a wash in less than 5 minutes : ready, set, go !
Forget about your 3-ton toilet bag, you better enjoy the wonderful places you are going to visit than spend an hour in front of the mirror to get ready. Firstly, I gave up on the makeup after one day (it is not really about hygiene, it is more like a morning routine – but still in the theme, right ?). During a road trip, it is a bit of a waste of time, and the setting is not very practical : in front of the car mirrors or in the common bathrooms. If you are a coquette person, shorten your morning routine to the minimum. It will not prevent you to take care of yourself a bit, with the daily application of a face cream for example. It is not taking much space, it is a really quick habit to integrate in your routine and it will not hurt your poor skin, badly treated by all elements !
In the mandatory category, we have the teeth brushing of course ! Here, no excuse, you will simply need a brush, toothpaste and 3 minutes. And you will then master an amazing skill : being able to brush your teeth anywhere, next to the road, at the bottom of a tree, on a parking lot… (To put in your resume as soon as you get back) Well, that only counts for the few little times when you will not have a sanitation block near your camping spot. And according to the type of vehicle you have, you probably will have a sink inside the van, it can help.
» Well, what about the toilets then ?
I kept this section for the end, hoping to find a nice and/or glamorous way to talk about it… But let’s face it, as my strategy is clearly not working, let’s get to the point ! (After all, it is natural.) It is actually the easiest part to deal with. You probably will not have toilets inside your campervan (unless you rent an RV once again), but this problem can easily be fixed. In fact, there are toilets in almost all campgrounds – even those in the most remote places, even those that do not have a shower. Otherwise, just take any occasion you have to use the bathroom : restaurants, cafés, visitor centers…
Well, this is not that terrible, right ? Basically, you will not have any problem keeping most of your habits (changing them slightly some times) apart from the shower. And for this last point, you will simply have to get organized, either by taking one of those portable showers with you (you will tell me about it) or selecting your campgrounds according to the equipment. No worries then, you can be clean (or almost) at any moment, thank God !