I checked by bag at the airport for our flight from Ireland to Poland last week. When the clerk weighed my bag, I noticed that it was about two-thirds of a kilo more than the last time we flew. That’s nearly 1.5 pounds! I started to wonder: what could be the source of the additional weight?
That is when I realized that we might be developing some hoarding tendencies! Sure, who doesn’t pick up the free toiletries from a hotel now and again? I know I am guilty of taking the travel-sized lotion for my purse! However, on this trip, we have found ourselves collecting a variety of common items that we never thought we’d be collecting.
Our accommodations have varied greatly over the duration of our trip. Likewise, the amenities have also varied. We have stayed in accommodations that do not provide any soap, shampoo, lotion or conditioner. Heck, in some places we even have to pay for towels and/or bed linens. Thus, when we stay at a location that does provide toiletries we pack the extras! I will admit that I get most excited by conditioner. It is by far the least common to find! We definitely have a need for these grooming essentials and have been thankful to have a little stash to pull from!
Many accommodations provide in-room facilities for making tea and/or coffee. Kevin has always enjoyed tea, especially, when trying to get some work done. Just prior to our departure, I tried to develop a taste for tea, as an alternative to drinking so much diet pop. I am much more selective in the types of tea that I enjoy, whereas, Kevin will drink just about any flavor. As a result, we have found ourselves carrying a collection of teas with us from location to location. Some of the tea packets we actually purchased at the grocery store while other packets were picked up one by one at various hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts that supply a couple packets each day. We’ve developed quite a selection of brands and varieties so far and it seems to just keep growing.
Kevin likes to add a healthy teaspoon, if not more, to his tea. Thus sugar is a necessity! Unfortunately, you can’t buy sugar in small doses and we’re not about to carry a five pound bag with us. If a hotel provides tea, they generally only include a couple sugar packets at a time. Many apartments and hostels don’t provide any sugar at all. Drinking bitter tea is the only option unless you bring your own sweetener! So, we’ve had to be resourceful and start collecting sugar packets. What have we become!? We tend to grab an extra packet or two when they’re available. It helps make traveling a little sweeter.
As you may have read, I am married to the Cookie Monster! We always seem to have at least one package of biscuits/cookies with us at all times (it goes great with the tea). We cannot enter a grocery store without purchasing a sleeve. And if one of our accommodations provides complimentary biscuits to accompany the tea, they surely will not go to waste! On a recent bus ride, we laughed that we had four varieties of cookies to choose from—all stashed away in our backpack. We’re a walking grocery store!
We happened to meet up with Kevin’s brother Rich, in Poland last weekend. He was in Gdansk on business and we arranged to meet him there for the weekend. He asked if we needed anything. Knowing that he was staying at the Hilton, I was quick to ask about conditioner! He was more than happy to hand over anything that we needed, including a spare bar of soap and the conditioner!
At some point over the weekend we mentioned the odd things we’ve started to collect. Rich and his colleagues were apparently happy to add to our collections. One of Rich’s colleagues had been acquiring toiletries at the Hilton all week and generously brought them to us! Another of his colleagues was even sweet enough to donate her own three ounce bottle of shampoo, conditioner and face cleanser! We’re stocked up thanks to our Gdansk accomplices.
I like to think of it as being resourceful rather than hoarding. I can’t imaging collecting all of these things back at home, but when you’re on the road you have to adapt. Although my bag most likely weights an additional kilo, hopefully we have all the toiletries we need for the next few months!