I’m a huge fan of the blog Unclutterer, a cleaning and organization blog, and I’ve always especially loved their ongoing series Unitasker Wednesday, where they lambaste a product that is designed to do only one (and usually a pretty unnessecary) thing. For example: an electric mac and cheese maker, a watermelon corer, and a clip-on man bun. This blog is one of the places I’d go to when I really needed to get a handle on getting organized and owning too many things, back before I sold all my stuff to travel.
Now that I’m living out of a suitcase and a carryon backpack, I don’t have a place in my life for unitaskers. Unless that one task is monumentally important (like taking amazing pictures or charging my iPhone). Items with two or more purposes are the best.
So with that in mind, this is the first post in an ongoing (though sporadic) series about multitaskers that can help travelers accomplish many different things on the road.
First up is vaseline.
Vaseline has dozens of documented uses (just google ways to use Vaseline for a bazillion hits), but here are four ways I’ve already used it in the week since I picked it up. I don’t think I’ll ever travel without it again.
Revitalize Dry or Cracked Feet
Since getting to Cyprus, my feet are getting so busted. They’re dry from going to the beach a lot and walking around in open-toe shoes on dustry old streets. I originally grabbed the Vaseline from the market near my apartment when I realized they didn’t carry any lotion. I needed something (literally anything) that could get some moisture back in my feet, short of using my (Clinique sample) face cream.
The little tub was less than 4 euros, and it lasts so much longer than the same amount of lotion because it’s so thick.
I put it all over my heels and the bottoms of my feet before bed, put on some socks, and let the Vaseline do it’s thing. My feet are so much softer already.
I’m despearte for a mani-pedi, but there’s no salon near me and I don’t want to use a non-work day to get my nails done when I have a lot of Cyprus left to explore before I leave. Getting one in Athens will be a lot easier. Until then, the Vaseline is keeping my feet soft less scary.
Soothing a Sunburn
I have been on serious sunscreen duty all summer, so I was so annoyed at myself when I burned my shin on Saturday. I was in Paphos taking a nap in a beach chair, and the sun moved while I was asleep. My right shin ended up being in sunlight for almost an hour without any sunscreen. Blarg.
Rather than buy aloe for a small burn, I’ve been putting vaseline on it, which locks the moisture in and helps it stay cool and heal. If I had burned a larger portion or if the burn was worse, I’d go out and buy some aloe. But for this small, weird burn, having Vaseline around has been so handy.
Polishing My Leather Sandals
I ::shock:: do not travel around with leather polish. But my new Eccos were starting to look a little dingy from the same factors wreaking havoc on my feet: constant walking on dusty streets and dry beaches. Luckily, the leather on my Eccos has the same cure. I dabbed some Vaseline on them, and they shined right up. Here are instructions on how to use Vaseline as a leather polish and what types of leather should be avoided.
Taming Flyaways and Unruly Sideburns
On the road, you just don’t end up showering as much. Maybe because your AirBnB doesn’t have around-the-clock hot water, or you’re intransit overnight, or maybe because you’re just gonna go write at the cafe all day so you don’t feel like it. There are lots of reasons why you might need to get up and go. For me, when I go even a day without washing my hair, I get super ruffly-looking and have crazy fly-aways. And my eyebrows get all dishevled. A tiny dab of vaseline rubbed over your eyebrowns and any fly-aways, and voila, almost (not perfectly) gone. Much better.
Like I said before, there are almost an infinite number of ways to use Vaseline ( for example, here are 18). I also plan on using it to minimize chaffing on long walking days, as a makeup remover, as makeshift mascara if mine goes missing, and as a body scrub. So many good ideas are out there that a tiny little tub of it has totally earned a permanent spot in my travel gear. And because you use so little, it will last a long time.
Do you have any other good travel multitaskers? If so, share below!