What items should ALL women travel with?
When I left NYC in 2014 to travel for a year I was a packing rookie. It was the first time I had to pack for a trip that was longer than two weeks, and I felt a bit over-whelmed.
I did some research online, and my travel buddy Michael gave me a list of essential gear for traveling that was helpful. However, all the information I had on what to pack came from men. Needless to say, I made a few packing mistakes. I should have left behind the duct tape and paracord Michael convinced me I needed, and brought along more tampons, for starters!
Now, almost two years later, I dare say I’ve learned a thing or two about packing, for both long and short-term travel. I’ve also learned what the most essential travel items for women are. I’d never leave home without these nine lifesavers!
So ladies, if you are planning on hitting the road, make sure you have the following. It will make your life soooo much easier.
Essential Travel Items for Women
Travel Backpacks for Women
Despite the name of our website, I travel with two backpacks. One for my clothes, shoes, toiletries, and other essentials, and a carry-on size backpack for the electronics and valuables I prefer not to check into flights or store in luggage compartments on buses and trains. Both are travel bags for women specifically designed to fit our bodies and meet our needs.
My larger bag is a Sierra Designs Jubilee Women’s Backpack. It is designed to comfortably fit women’s bodies, has a special suspension system, S-curved shoulder straps, and a pre-curved waist belt. It also has , and a top-loading main compartment and several other smaller compartments and pockets for storage. It’s roomy but even when fully loaded it’s never too heavy to carry around. It even has a nifty little bottle opener on one of the straps! I couldn’t be more pleased with this pack.
My smaller bag is a The North Face Women’s Recon backpack. It’s made for smaller frames, has a back panel that’s nonabrasive against exposed skin, and has multiple storage compartments. It’s also super lightweight and highly durable. After almost two years of travel, mine is still in perfect condition.
Travel Yoga Mat
I love traveling but it’s not always fun. Long flights and bus rides usually leave my muscles feel tight and sore for a few days. Carrying a travel yoga mat means I can do some extensive stretching after a long travel day or night. It’s also fantastic to have for sunset or sunrise yoga sessions and means you’ll never have to rent a mat when taking yoga classes. My travel yoga mat is one of my favorite travel items.
I bought my sarong on the beach from a local guy in Phuket, Thailand about 8 months into our trip. It was hands down the best investment I’ve made thus far for travel gear because it’s so versatile. I use mine as a towel, a scarf, a head cover, a beach blanket, and a a bathing suit cover-up. I also use it to stay warm on bus rides and planes and to cover my shoulders in temples and cathedrals in Asia and Europe. It’s one of the best travel accessories for women I can think of.
Anyone who knows me knows that I can feel cold even when it’s 90 degrees outside. A hoodie is a lifesaver on long overnight bus rides or plane trips when the air conditioning is cranked up to unnecessary levels (which always seems to be the case in Central and South America and Asia).
Tights are great to help stay warm during sub-zero bus rides and flights but also come in handy when traveling around Asia or Central and South America. They’re nice to have to cover your legs when visiting temples and cathedrals or when riding scooters in a skirt.
Water Bottle Filtration System
Traveling to foreign countries often means encountering undrinkable water sources, which can make staying hydrated difficult and increase your changes of getting food poisoning. Having food poisoning abroad is not fun and most travelers resort to buying loads of bottled water, contributing to “plastic pollution”, and increasing their daily budget. Buying a water bottle filtration system is one of the best items you can bring with you to stay healthy and keep your skin hydrated and soft.
A water bottle filtration system guarantees drinkable water anywhere. We recommend the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle. It filters up to 264 gallons of water, removes 99.9999% of Waterborne backteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, is BPA-free, and is leak-proof. If you’re in the United States or Canada use our coupon code JUSTAPACK10 here for a 10% discount on all LifeStraw products or here with our Discount Code: lifestraw10 if you’re in Europe.
Organic Coconut Oil
I spent almost an entire year soaking in the sun and swimming nearly every day. It was fantastic but after a while my skin and hair started to suffer. Now I travel with organic coconut oil keep my skin hydrated and soft and my hair shiny and strong.
If you’re traveling for a while, you won’t want to leave home without one of these bikini shavers. They are really hard to find abroad and if you’re anything like me, waxing one of the most sensitive parts of my body is not an option. Also, don’t forget to stock up on razor refills and batteries.
My sewing kit has been a lifesaver so many times. I’ve repaired shirts, dresses, bags, and other items quickly. The kit also comes with a handy little pair of scissors.
Tampons are not easy to find abroad. Last year I found myself in a small surf town in El Salvador desperately going from tiny shop to tiny shop looking for tampons and never found them. There wasn’t a single store in that town that sold them. Tampons are taboo in some countries and if you do happen to find them they usually come without an applicator.
A better option to tampons, in my opinion is a menstrual cup. They’re reusable, better for the environment, non-toxic and animal friendly. Read more about why I think the menstrual cup is the one thing all female travelers should pack here.
Intimates Laundry Bag
When you’re traveling for an extended period of time bras and panties can take a beating when you send your laundry out to be cleaned. Traveling with an intimates laundry bag to put them in before sending them off to the washer/dryer will ensure that they keep in good shape for longer. Alternatively you can wash your intimates by hand in the sink of your hotel or hostel and line dry them. It’s cheaper and more gentle on your undies.
Need more packing advice? Check out our full packing lists here.
Disclaimer – As you can see we included handy little affiliate links for some of the above items, in case any of our readers want to order them from Amazon. We receive a small commission for any sales made, without any additional cost to you, our dear reader.