5 Practical Gifts for Female Backpackers on Their Bon Voyage

I’m writing this from the Hong Kong International Airport and marvelling at the timing of this post. What better occasion to discuss such a subject than the day I fly overseas for my O.E.? ✈

When someone is leaving on their big adventure, it can be tempting to want to get them a farewell gift as a gesture of kindness and well wishes. However, this can easily be made difficult if that said someone is backpacking. I think I speak for most everyone when I say that I struggle to fit my belongings into a suitcase let alone backpack. Right this very moment, some poor chap is lugging my oversized luggage from one plane and onto another. So the challenge therefore becomes thinking of a gift that the traveler can take wherever they go with nothing but a backpack to live out of.

Oi Cup

“The Oi Cup is the perfect companion for the female traveler. There are three ‘criteria’ that people often try to meet when traveling: pack light, spend less, and explore the off-the-beaten track. Periods are simply incompatible with these. For one, the last thing you want to be sacrificing your precious luggage space for is cumbersome boxes of sanitary products. But at the same time, you don’t want to be budgeting to spend extra money on pads and tampons (a single pad can cost up to NZD$5.60 in some countries!). Furthermore, the last thing you want is to be caught empty-handed in the middle of nowhere with no resources to deal with your period. Trust me, I’ve been there… your underwear won’t thank you 🙈”

If you’re a long-term reader of the Ginger Passports, then you might remember the blog post I wrote on Organic Initiative’s menstrual cups.

These little beauties are a game changer when it comes to our periods. The ‘Oi Cup’ is a reusable and recyclable menstrual cup that can be used instead of tampons or pads. It’s environmentally friendly and can last up to 12 hours before needing to be changed. Let’s just say I don’t dread those long haul flights any more, and neither should your backpacker.

Couchsurfing Verification

If you don’t know what Couchsurfing is, then you’re missing out.

Couchsurfing is a website where travellers can sign up and either host, or be hosted by, people around the globe. There is no exchange of money, only of experience. As it so happens, my first Couchsurfing experience as a guest is to be tonight (updates to come!) but I have hosted before in the city of Dunedin. Two lovely German traveler stayed with me for a couple of days, and we did a variety of things together such as sharing stories, drinking wine and visiting the Butterfly Forest at the Otago Museum. It was honestly one of the highlights of the past few months, and I cannot wait to throw myself back into that environment again.

“We envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect.”

It’s a fantastic idea to create a verified Couchsurfing account. Verification essentially means that you go through a process (including things such as confirming your home address and paying an annual fee) which both lets other Couchsurfers know that you are a substantiated person, and also provides revenue to help keep the Couchsurfing community running.

Like anything, Couchsurfing can carry an element of risk, so here are my top tips for ensuring a safe experience:

  • Never stay with anyone who doesn’t have (positive) references
  • Go with your gut instinct; if you are messaging someone and something feels a bit dodgy, listen to that. A lot of people use Couchsurfing as they would Tinder, so take everything with a grain of salt
  • Prioritise opting for verified hosts for better piece of mind

Kindle

When you’re traveling, there will inevitably come periods of fatal boredom where you would do anything for a decent book. Whether these be those god-awful long-haul flights or just awkward transit delays, it’s never a bad thing to have Harry Potter on hand. (By the way, if you are in need of a book recommendation, I recommend you check out this publication.)

I started off with a Kindle eReader, and then eased into accessing the Kindle Cloud Reader from my smart phone. This might be the most desirable option for your backpacker if she is seriously tight for space.

Although I won’t deny the pleasure of turning the pages of a physical book, the Kindle eReader sure did grow on me. A minimalist at heart, I like the idea of being able to buy my own virtual library without having to waste paper for books that I would probably never ever read again. Plus, books are a sight lot cheaper when you’re not buying paperback. Food for thought 💸

Photograph courtesy of Unsplash

Audible

Whilst we’re on the subject of literature, allow me to introduce you to Audible.

Audible – also an Amazon company – allows you to listen to books instead of reading them. Yep, I’m talking good old audiobooks.

I first tried to develop an appreciation for audiobooks when I was around ten years old, and it just wasn’t happening for me. I found that I couldn’t concentrate or properly envisage what was actually happening without having it on a page right in front of me. Roughly a decade later, I tried again. This time, with considerably more success.

I like to think of audiobooks as a passive way of reading. I plug in my earphones if I’m tired or feeling nauseous and not up to reading off the page. They’re also fantastic to fall asleep to – although be careful what you listen to during those times, because you might be in for some very confusing dreams. All your backpacker will require is some sort of cellular device to download the app, and a pair of headphones. You might like to gift them with an annual subscription where they can download one free audiobook per month (my favourite day of each month, if I’m being honest).

Photograph courtesy of Unsplash

Handwritten Letters

Last but not least, I recommend you write your female backpacker a handwritten letter on her bon voyage.

A sheet of paper takes up no room at all. She could slip it into her wallet, or even beneath her phone case. Handwritten letters are special because, well, they can’t be bought. They’re meaningful and timeless and are one of the only things that can reliably cheer someone up when she is halfway around the world and feeling completely and utterly alone.

In this day and age, handwritten letters are unexpected. That’s what packs their real punch. Before I left, I received a number of cards that had some really beautiful thoughts jotted down inside of them. Some I received from people I didn’t think had even acknowledged that I was leaving, which just made them all the more significant for me.

So, there you have it: the most special gift I could think to receive is something that costs nothing and lasts forever. And at the sound of clichés, I’m signing off.

Photograph courtesy of Unsplash

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Oi Ladies, Listen Up – It’s a Bloody Revolution! (feat. GIVEAWAY)

Let’s talk periods.

That’s right… periods. Some of us are blessed with a slight monthly inconvenience; others burdened with the living incarnation of a raised middle finger. Whatever your time of the month looks like, it’s something that most of us girls have to deal with. And because of that, it’s something we should be talking about.

When I was preparing for my first independent overseas trip, I was conscious of a lot of things that I needed to pre-organise. Amongst those included applying for visas, purchasing emergency meds and putting together a first aid kit. What completely slipped my mind was the fact that I was due to get my period overseas, and would need plenty of products on hand to manage the flow. This left me with graphic memories of sprinting into a rural Vietnamese pharmacy in the middle of the night and trying to mime to the lady behind the counter – who did not speak a word of English – that I desperately needed a pack of tampons (*face-palm*). Not one of my finer moments, I will admit; but it does illustrate the glamorous reality of being a menstruating woman.

Upon returning to New Zealand, I was determined to find a solution to my forgetfulness. The fact that I rarely carry around spare pads or tampons is only exacerbated by my period refusing to commit to any sort of regular routine. That + the price of sanitary products = 👎

Enter: Oi.

Oi – Organic Initiative – is an ethical New Zealand company that sells feminine hygiene products. They have recently released the Oi Cup, a reusable and recyclable menstrual cup that functions as a natural alternative to tampons and pads. The Oi Cup sits internally in your vagina and gathers your flow for up to a whopping 12 hours. It almost sounds too good to be true – but fortunately, it isn’t.

Switching to the Oi Cup completely transformed my menstrual experience. Sure, it took a little experimenting the first cycle I used it, but after that? I’ve never looked back.

If you’re anything like me and run laps to and from the bathroom when that time of the month strikes, you might be relieved to learn that menstrual cups hold around 5 times the amount of liquid as the average tampon. For the first time, I can sleep a full, uninterrupted night and wake up without looking like I’ve just survived a shark attack.

The Oi Cup is a game changer when it comes to the environment. Did you know that it can take centuries upon centuries for sanitary products to break down in a landfill? It’s time to face the facts: pads and tampons that are made of plastic just aren’t sustainable 🙅 Unlike those pesky products, the Oi Cup bears minimal impact upon the environment.

According to an article by the Huffington Post, women spend approximately NZD$3140 on sanitary products over the course of their lifetime. $3140?! That’s insane! Do you know what you could buy with that? A 12-day Contiki tour to Mexico. Or 7 return trips from Auckland to Bali. By contrast, the Oi Cup will cost you a mere NZD$39.95 for up to 10 years of use. That’s a jaw-dropping difference of nearly $900 every decade.

I’ll just let that sink in for a bit.

The Oi Cup is the perfect companion for the female traveler. There are three ‘criteria’ that people often try to meet when traveling: pack light, spend less, and explore the off-the-beaten track. Periods are simply incompatible with these. For one, the last thing you want to be sacrificing your precious luggage space for is cumbersome boxes of sanitary products. But at the same time, you don’t want to be budgeting to spend extra money on pads and tampons (a single pad can cost up to NZD$5.60 in some countries!). Furthermore, the last thing you want is to be caught empty-handed in the middle of nowhere with no resources to deal with your period. Trust me, I’ve been there… your underwear won’t thank you 🙈

Luckily, the Oi Cup solves all of these problems. Don’t want to have to lug boxes upon boxes of sanitary products in your suitcase? One small cup ticks that box. Don’t want to have to fork out additional costs to stock up on pads and tampons? No problem. Your period decides to make a malicious return a few days earlier than expected? Oi has you covered.

If a menstrual cup just isn’t for you, then don’t fret! Oi prides itself on providing a diversity of environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible products to tackle that time of the month. Think panty liners, pads and tampons (with and without applicators).

So… just what sets Oi’s products apart from the rest of the market?

  • 100% pure certified organic cotton
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Biodegradable
  • Free from perfume, dyes, chemicals and synthetics
  • Recommended by gynaecologists, midwives and obstetricians

The team at Oi are visionaries when it comes to the relationship between women and their bodies. They aim to empower people through educated, positive choices and the ability to stand up for what they believe in.

“Oi stands for every woman, Oi stands for health and Oi stands for our world.”

To celebrate an ethical and revolutionary approach to our periods, the Ginger Passports has teamed up with Oi to host a giveaway. By following the steps below, you will go in the draw to win an Oi Cup – worth NZD$39.95 – for free!

  1. Follow the Ginger Passports on Facebook
  2. Either comment on this post OR like this Facebook post

It’s as simple as that! This giveaway will run for two weeks, and the winner will be drawn on Tuesday 13th June. Good luck!

Let’s begin the period conversation. With Oi, we are doing our bit for the planet – and our own bodies – every month without even having to think about it. Healthy habits = healthy women. It’s a bloody revolution.

The ‘Deats

Name: Organic Initiative (Oi)

Website: www.oi4me.com

Social Media: Facebook ● Instagram ● Twitter

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Oi. All opinions are my own 🙋

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