Like many dedicated soakers, I have a bag of toiletries, clothing and hard-to-define stuff that I take with me whenever I visit a hot spring. The bag represents the end result of a process of elimination; I started out with much more stuff than I currently take with me. Eric’s bag is much more substantial than mine. His bag resembles an alchemist’s kit of lotions, potions and supplements.
Things in my bag:
- Body soap
- Thrift store dressing gown
- Water-logged brochures collected from various springs we’ve visited
- Generic blue flip-flops purchased at the Tesco in Budapest for use at the Szchenyi Baths
Things in Eric’s bag:
- Travel size bottle of shampoo
- Anti-inflammatory herbal supplements
- Nail clippers
After analyzing the contents of my bag and Eric’s bag, we came up with a list of “must haves” for soaking, along with a few extras. Because facilities vary greatly in the items they offer for sale, it’s helpful to be prepared. Whether you’re visiting a remote mountain-top pool or an elite spa, this list may come in handy.
Many spas forbid the use of chemical products before you enter the water, but products like sunscreen and bug repellant are useful for the times when you’re sitting outside the pool, or for body parts that won’t make contact with the water.
So here’s our recommended list of “Things to Bring,” a work in progress:
- Lots of fresh water
- Towels – Many facilities rent towels, but you never know
- Bathing suit – Even if you’re a dedicated naturist, you never know when you might run into your former 6th grade English teacher at a remote mountaintop spring
- Robe – Robes are always useful, especially if you like to soak in the winter
- Water shoes with treads (either amphibious shoes, sandals or old running shoes)
- Waterproof watch – so you can monitor your soaking time
- Water thermometer – In case you’re a fanatic about temperature and the facility doesn’t provide this information
- Insect repellant – We recommend natural products made with neem, citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus oil and other non-toxic repellants