Having spent many years living out of a backpack while traveling the world, I’ve come to find that many of the things we consider must-haves are not really essentials. Packing efficiently and thoughtfully can be the key to a successful trip. Under packing can leave you scrambling for what you need or even put your safety at risk. Overpacking, can be an inconvenience that hinders your travels. To streamline the process of packing and to ensure you have all you need on your next adventure, let’s take a look at the top travel essentials for women. Let’s dive in!
What Is the Best Packing Method?
Perfecting the art of packing takes time, and ultimately it comes down to a matter of personal preference. As someone who primarily travels out of a backpack, I tend to opt for a 2-3-2 approach. Two pairs of pants, three shirts, and two heavier layers. I don’t tend to wear a lot of neutrals, but I do try to pack similar colors so that each piece can be mixed, matched, and layered. Lightening my load has allowed me to be more flexible with the travel routes I take and to focus less on my luggage and more on my adventures.
If you want to squeeze a little more into your backpack or suitcase, you can also use the following packing methods and tips:
- The 54321 method streamlines your packing with five tops, four bottoms, three pairs of shoes, two sweaters, and one dress. Or you can incorporate different combinations depending on where you’re going and which season. It encourages versatility and minimizes excess.
- Rolling your clothes is another space-saving technique that prevents wrinkles and provides easy access to your items. It’s an excellent choice for organized travelers seeking to maximize space.
- If you want to lighten your load and avoid baggage fees, shipping items ahead is worth exploring. However, it requires careful planning and consideration of costs.
How you pack to go backpacking versus traveling in an RV will look differently. No matter what packing methods you choose, you want to consider what type of activities you’ll be doing, how you’ll be transporting your luggage, and what clothing options are actually essentials.
How to Pack Like a Pro
Packing like a pro involves a combination of smart, simple, and minimalist approaches. There’s no one right way to pack, but there are a few things you can do to make the process easier.
Begin by researching the weather and activities at your destination. If you’re hiking, camping, or staying in hotels, tailor your clothing and gear accordingly. Think realistically, consider your travel plans, and ensure you have enough for your activities.
Embrace a minimalist mindset regarding clothes and personal items. A mix-and-match wardrobe allows you to create multiple outfits with fewer pieces, saving space in your luggage. While it may be tempting to pack fun new gadgets and gear into your bag, if it is not something you will regularly use, it is wasting your precious space.
Pack Necessities Only
Avoid overpacking by focusing on essentials. Remember that you can always purchase items as necessary during your trip. This approach keeps your luggage light and manageable.
The Best Travel Essentials for Women
1. Safety Devices
As someone who often travels solo, safety is my top priority. Even if you’re traveling in a team, there are still some safety devices you can bring to keep everyone safe. However, it is worth noting that the best thing you can do for your safety is to be knowledgeable of the area you’re traveling to and adhere to all travel advisories. Furthermore, stay aware and smart about your situation and surroundings wherever you are.
When traveling, I always bring this portable door lock. This device slips in between the door jam and makes it so the external lock cannot be picked. If you’ve ever been staying in a hotel or a hostel and awoken to someone jiggling your door handle, even if it’s an innocent wrong room number, you know the feeling of panic that can cause. Even if you’re staying in a luxurious hotel, using a door lock is great peace of mind. They are lightweight and take up little room in your bag but can make a big difference.
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Additionally, pepper spray or a safety alarm or whistle are great compact personal defense tools that can deter potential threats. However, for those traveling internationally, make sure to research ahead of time if pepper spray is legal in the country you are visiting as many countries do not allow it.
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2. Well Fitting Backpack or Quality Suitcase
Your choice of luggage is crucial for a comfortable journey. A well-fitting backpack offers convenience, especially for hands-free exploration in cities or on day hikes. On the other hand, a quality suitcase with efficient compartments and organization is ideal for longer trips or urban adventures.
If choosing a backpack, you’ll need to consider the backpack’s capacity, features, and how it fits you. Keep in mind how much weight you can comfortably carry when determining what size to buy. Measure your torso length and waist size to find the right pack for you. Make sure you are buying a backpack that was specifically designed for women’s measurements as they provide a more comfortable fit.
3. First Aid Gear
Accidents can happen anywhere, and a compact first-aid kit should be part of any list of travel essentials for women. It should mainly include:
- Bandages for minor cuts and scrapes
- Antiseptic wipes for disinfection
- Pain relievers for headaches or minor pains
- Alka-selter tablets for upset tummy
- Any necessary medications specific to your needs.
This kit ensures you’re prepared to address common travel-related health issues.
4. Reusable Menstrual Products
Mother Nature likes to travel to and may make a visit to you during your trip. While everyone has their personal preference of menstrual products, a reusable menstrual cup is a cost effective and eco-friendly solution. They offer reliable menstrual care without using your precious storage space on one-time-use products. A menstrual cup is great not just while traveling and backpacking, but also while camping as it eliminates the need to bury or dispose of any single use products.
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5. Comfortable Footwear
Proper footwear is vital to keep your feet comfortable and pain-free during long days of exploration. While it can be tempting to prioritize fashion over comfort, in the long run you’ll be glad you took a practical approach. Pack sneakers for urban adventures and sturdy hiking boots for outdoor activities. Keep in mind, you will always properly break in your shoes or hiking boots before you head out on your adventure. You don’t want to be dealing with surprise blisters that stop you from exploring everything you want to see and do.
6. Sleep Essentials
As someone who doesn’t sleep well when in a new environment, there are a few essentials I have found help ensure a good night’s sleep. A travel pillow is not only great for neck support while in transit but can also provide extra cushioning if you’re staying in a hotel with less than ideal pillows. Additionally, a high-quality black out eye mask and wax ear plugs that mold to perfectly fit your ears are essential for optimal sleeping conditions.
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Pro Tip: If you like to sleep in, you’ll love snoozing in one of the 7 Best Blackout Tents.
7. Travel Wallet or Purse
A dedicated travel wallet or purse can be important, especially for international travel. It provides a secure place to store documents like your passport, ID, travel itinerary, and money. Travel-specific wallets and purses are designed to work against pickpockets while enabling all-day carry in comfort. You can also look for options with RFID-blocking features to protect your personal information from electronic theft.
For the Mortons’ travels in Europe, they got two different types. First was an RFID-blocking money belt to keep money, passports, and phone attached and even underneath clothing.
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The second was a cross-body sling bag to carry a little bit more than the money belt. This bag is comfortable and feels safe and secure on your chest where you can keep an eye on it.
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8. Cozy Accommodation
Comfortable and safe accommodation when traveling is a must. For those wanting to sleep under the stars, we found some of the best small 2-person tents for backcountry camping that provide comfort, but are still easy to carry. Alternatively, you can explore alternatives like hostels, guesthouses, or boutique hotels.
When searching for a hotel or hostel on booking platforms like Booking.com and Hostelworld, always start off by using the map to pinpoint the area you want to stay in. This ensures you are located in a safe neighborhood and are close to everything you wish to see. Next, read reviews from previous travelers. Keep in mind, some people have different travel styles and expectations of lodgings, so take negative reviews with a grain of salt. However, if certain themes continuously appear, you may want to skip booking at the destination.
Whether you embrace the solitude of a solo tent or opt for the convenience of indoor lodgings, finding a safe and comfortable space is essential for a memorable and worry-free journey. It allows you to fully immerse yourself in your adventure.
9. Portable Chargers and Battery Packs
Staying connected is vital in the digital age, and as someone who uses their phone to take pictures, follow directions, quickly Google restaurant recommendations, buy tickets to sites, and more, my phone battery can drain quickly. However, a full battery is not just essential for guaranteeing you never miss the chance to capture a travel memory. Phones also ensure safety should you need to quickly call for help or get directions if you’re lost.
Battery packs and portable chargers should be on any list of travel essentials for women. They can ensure your devices like smartphones and laptops stay charged throughout the day. I prefer a power bank, like this one, with the necessary cords built in so I don’t have to worry about additionally packing a charging cord in my bag.
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Keep in Mind: Many countries have different power outlets than we have in North America. You will likely need an adapter or two before you plug in.
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10. Personal Tracking Device
Enhance your safety by carrying a personal tracking device that allows you to share your location with trusted contacts. While you may not need to use this for city travel, if you plan to travel through remote or unfamiliar areas, this device can be great to have on hand. It ensures someone always knows your whereabouts in case of emergencies.
11. Wi-Fi Booster and/or Reliable Data Plan
Stay connected during your travels with a Wi-Fi booster or a reliable data plan. If traveling internationally, you’ll have to do some work on this beforehand. Relying on Wi-Fi can be very limited anytime you’re out and about. If you’re planning on traveling internationally, get a local SIM card, or E-SIM depending on your phone model, to ensure you have data while abroad.
Having your own data plan grants you access to maps, communication apps, and essential information. These devices are crucial for solo travelers, especially when traveling in remote areas. Having the peace of mind that you can call for help when necessary is essential.
12. Refillable Water Bottle and Water Filtration
It can be a challenge to find public drinking water when on the go. And if you don’t want to spend a chunk of change buying multiple plastic water bottles a day, carrying a refillable water bottle and a portable water filtration system ensures you have access to clean and safe drinking water wherever you go. I always travel with this water bottle that comes with a handy filter in it for quick fill ups from any tap,
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Stay Safe By Packing Right
Packing efficiently and choosing the right travel essentials for women is necessary for a smooth and enjoyable journey. By following smart packing methods and including these must-have items, you can travel with confidence, comfort, and peace of mind. Whether you’re exploring a bustling city or venturing into the great outdoors, these essentials will ensure that you’re prepared for any adventure that comes your way.
What are your top packing essentials? Let us know in the comments!
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