I found the perfect travel partner who never fails to fix my hair when in need, repair my stuck zipper, cure me when I’m sick, and shine my shoes. It’s never in my way and hails from the Mediterranean.

Olive oil, you’re the best! Okay, maybe s/he isn’t a real person, but yes, I take olive oil with me wherever I go. Olive oil has been used for medicines, soaps, skin care, and religious rituals, among many food recipes for thousands and thousands of years. Spain, Italy and Greece are among the top producers of olive oil, and together they produce 75 percent of the world production.

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If there is one thing I learned about beauty products on the road, it is to splurge. Luckily I learned early on, but my mistake left its remains for a few weeks. After using the free shampoo and conditioner in hotels, my hair immediately started to break, it was itchy, and looked like I hadn’t washed it in a week! I needed a quick fix, and a quick fix I found in olive oil. Yes, the same olive oil made from olives, and the same olive oil we put in our food. And because I live in Spain, there are about five full bottles of olive oil in my kitchen at all times. Soon after I discovered it could fix my hair, I got to learn more about how olive oil can help travelers alike:

  1. Make Up Remover: Gently rub a small amount under your eyes and wipe with a warm, damp cloth.
  2. Skin Moisturizer: Olive oil contains linoleic acid, which prevents water from evaporating. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, which help to prevent skin aging and skin cancer. Rub on dry areas of your skin and rinse off. You will immediately feel the difference. To exfoliate, add salt or brown sugar to your olive oil, scrub, and rinse. Olive oil also helps to relieve rashes and sunburns.
  3. Hair treatment and conditioner: Olive oil is a quick fix for dry and brittle hair. Heat 1/2-cup olive oil (Do NOT boil!), and massage through your hair. Cover your hair with a plastic wrap or wrap it in a towel. Let it set for 45 minutes and rinse with your usual hair treatment. To tame frizz on a humid day, comb a small amount olive oil through dry hair.
  4. Shaving cream: Olive oil isa safe lubricant for a close shave and as an aftershave.
  5. Fingernails: Use a bit of olive oil to moisturize cuticles, or soak your hands in oil and water.
  6. Lubricate a stuck zipper: Use a Q-tip to apply olive oil to a zipper and use as a lubricant.
  7. Shoe Polish: Rub down your shoes with just a little olive oil to maintain their shine.
  8. Leather Conditioner: Your favorite Italian leather purse wore out! Rub olive oil onto the worn leather, let it set for 30 minutes, and wipe.
  9. Earache: (Carefully) use a Q-tip to apply olive oil to the ear to help with earaches and excess wax.
  10. Throat soother: Take a sip of olive oil to stop a sore throat. This also helps with snoring.


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Guest author Kristi is a student in at the University of Idaho but is eager to study the world. She currently is finishing up a semester in Bilbao, Spain before she moves on to her second semester abroad in Prague. Originally from Orange County, Calif., she grew up traveling with her family, and is finally on her own to see the world. Beyond traveling, Kristi enjoys sunny weather and getting lost, and considers herself a chocolate connoisseur.