Published Oct 19, 2020
I’ve read somewhere that “packing light” and “women” don’t go together. While this is slightly offensive (and a rather unfair stereotype), it has some grain of truth to it. Or if we’re being truly honest, there’s a sack-full of grain to it. Most of the time, we women are guilty of packing way more than what we need for a trip.
Yes, we understand how you just want to be prepared for any eventuality. But baggage fees can be expensive. Besides, lugging bulky luggage all over the place won’t only ruin your back. It can also ruin the mood of whoever you’re traveling with.
So to save you some baggage fees and spare your back from this torture, we’ll help you trim down your packing list to just the necessities. Here are twenty travel essentials for women you should never go without:
1. Walking Shoes
One common mistake that we women do when packing for a trip is packing different types of footwear. I’ve been guilty of this several times before. I packed a pair of slippers, rubber shoes, and heels. As you might have guessed, I’ve only ever used the flat walking shoes I was wearing. Lesson learned? You don’t need to pack different types of footwear. Just bring comfortable and versatile walking shoes that go well with all of the outfits you brought.
2. Comfy Pants
Comfy pants make a whole lot of difference when you’re traveling. Ditch those heavy and bulky jeans. Instead, pack pants that won’t restrict your movements and let you walk comfortably. But make sure that it’s versatile too so you can use it on multiple ocassions.
If you’re traveling to tropical areas, genie pants and lightweight shorts are usually the go-to pieces. But if you’re planning to do a lot of outdoor activities, those trusty yoga pants would serve you best.
3. Lightweight Jacket
Jackets are versatile pieces that won’t just save you from a sudden change in weather. It also comes in handy if you’ve bought only a few pieces of clothing. You know what I mean. So don’t forget to pack a lightweight but durable jacket on your next trip.
4. Multifunctional Dress
As we’ve said, it pays to be prepared for any eventuality when traveling. But that doesn’t necessarily mean bringing your entire closet with you. Even one versatile piece of dress can be enough. Make sure to pick out neutral colors so it will go well with any footwear or accessory.
5. Tote Bag
They say that we, women, tend to bring our entire life with us wherever we go. In a sense, that’s true. And it’s evidenced by our ever-reliable tote bags. It’s where we put our wallet, medicine, pens, makeup, and other knickknacks. That’s why if you’re traveling, a tote bag makes a very practical companion.
6. Travel Credit Card
A traveler’s worst nightmare is to run out of money while on the road. This is why you need to make sure that your credit card will work in your country of destination. If not, you can just get a travel credit card. As the name suggests, its a credit card designed specifically for travelers. It works in most countries and there’s a very small discrepancy for currency conversion.
7. Ziplock Bags or Packing Cubes
Women or otherwise, ziplock bags come in handy whenever you’re traveling. You can use it to protect your clothes in case your perfume or lotion spills or leaks while. Don’t forget to bring some extra for your dirty clothes. You don’t want them ruining the freshly-laundered ones.
8. Travel-Sized Containers
According to the TSA liquid rule, you can only bring up up to 3.4 ounces of liquids, aerosols, and gases in your carry-on bag. Anything bigger than that should be placed in your checked baggage. This is why travel-sized containers are a must. Especially if you’re just going for a short weekend trip and not bringing any checked baggage. Or if you’re in for a long-haul flight and want to have some lotion or hand sanitizer in your carry-on bag just in case. After all, you don’t want that new bottle of expensive perfume ending up in the TSA dumpster.
9. Lightweight Shawl
Shawls are a lifesaver when you’re traveling. They’re very flexible and can be used on multiple occasions in a variety of settings. If you’re going to the beach, you can use it as a cover-up. Or if you’re traveling up north during winter months, you can use it as a neck warmer. Some religious sites like temples, mosques, and churches have pretty strict clothing policies too. So if you’re visiting these places and aren’t really dressed for the occasion, you can just whip up your shawl and use it as a cover-up.
10. Clear Toiletry Bag
Admit it or not, our toiletry bag can sometimes be a labyrinth of things we do and don’t use. So it can be a struggle to find small items like hairpins, scrunchies, and the like. If you’re traveling, you won’t have the time nor the patience to deal with such stuff. A clear toiletry bag will definitely make your life easier. Just one look and you’ll know where your hairpins are or if you even brought some.
11. Compact Makeup Kit
While packing, you’ve probably looked at your dresser and thought which makeup item you should bring. Chances are you’re thinking along the lines of “If I’m bringing lipstick, then I might as well bring the whole entourage”. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. But as you’re here for tips on how to pack light, then bringing your entire makeup collection just won’t do.
If you’re not comfortable with an all-in-one makeup kit, then at least weed out the essentials. A few lipsticks, foundation, small blush-on, eyebrow pen, and a small eyeshadow kit will usually suffice.
12. Travel Sunglasses
Do you ever wonder how celebrities manage to look fab even with no make-up on? Aside from great skin, it’s the sunglasses. So don’t forget to pack your trusty travel sunglasses if you want to look fab in all your travel photos.
13. Safety Alarm/Pepper Spray
Security is a primary concern for most travelers. And if you’re a woman traveling solo in a foreign country, that concern is even more heightened. Many unsuspecting tourists have fallen prey to muggers, thieves, and the like. While in some places, sexual assaults against women top the list of tourism-related crimes. So it doesn’t hurt to bring some sort of protection before traveling.
Pepper sprays are banned in some countries though. So make sure to check the regulations in your country of destination before including it in your packing list.
14. Facial/Body Wipes
Y’all can’t argue on this. When you’re on the road, having a place to shower is not always guaranteed. This is where facial/body wipes come in handy.
15. Oil Blotting Paper
If you’re going somewhere tropical, getting excess oil on your face might be unavoidable. So having some oil blotting paper on the ready is not a bad idea.
16. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Whether you’re on the plane, bus or train, noise-canceling headphones will be handy. You won’t have to suffer through kids screaming, boisterous laughter, and loud callers when all you really want to have is a great night’s sleep.
17. Neck Pillow
Just like noise-canceling headphones, neck pillows are very much useful if you want to sleep tightly without risking a stiff neck.
There’s no argument about how useful sunscreens are when you’re heading to, well, sunny places. And if you’re about to brave a particularly dry winter, moisturizers will save your skin from drying out.
If you have maintenance medicines, don’t forget to pack them too especially if you’re traveling abroad. Drug regulations differ from country to country so there’s a good chance you might not be able to buy it in your destination.
Like your medications, you should never forget to stock up on tampons. In some countries, women use sanitary pads much more than tampons. So you might have a hard time finding it in a nearby grocery or convenience store.