My 24 Travel Essentials for Women to Make Your Journey Safe and Comfortable

Christine Steuber
Nov 14, 2022
Don't know what to take with you on a trip? Check out these 24 essentials you'll definitely need!

Ladies, 2023 is almost upon us and you know what that means? New Year’s resolutions and new travel plans. Isn’t it  exciting? 

But while traveling is an experience no one gets tired of, it comes with its own headaches. 

For instance, we can never be sure that we’ve packed all the basics, and we often realize something is missing when we reach the destination. All women have gone through this frustration at least once, I’m sure of it.

That’s why, in this guide, I’ll share the ultimate list of women’s travel essentials so that you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest. I’ll also share my personal recommendations and reviews.

Let’s start right away. 

Category #1: Packing

We ladies can never have too much storage, am I right? Therefore, the list of travel essentials for women will begin with packing – backpacks, suitcases, fanny packs, and more. 

I’ll introduce you to amazing brands selling genius storage solutions to accommodate anything you require for your adventures.

Suitcase: Floyd and Samsonite

Anyone who knows me will laugh at the idea of me arriving with just one suitcase. Being a notorious overpacker, I usually have two bags with me, which are as follows:

Floyd Cabin airport luggage
Credit: Floyd

I often arrive at the airport with this uber-chic, 1970s-themed luggage. With wheels resembling vintage roller skates, it’s no wonder why I’m obsessed with it. 

Regarding its practicality, there are various compartments, a built-in double-lock system, a laundry bag, and a flexible aluminum handle. However, all this comes with a hefty price – €445, according to the official website.

And here’s my recommendation for those who prefer a more girly look:

Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX luggage
Credit: Amazon

This attractive golden rose suitcase made of polycarbonate will remain loyal to you with a 10-year warranty, which is WOW, isn’t it?

Moreover, this bag has TSA-approved locks and multidimensional big spinner wheels that will make your life so much easier – you’ve got flawless carry-on luggage. Just be careful with the dents after extended use.

Backpacks: Kelty and eBags

For shorter trips, backpacks are better, but it might take you a while to find the perfect one.

Here are the winners, in my opinion:

Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack
Credit: Amazon

I believe Redwing 50 is a great traveling bag for females owing to its PerfectFIT suspension. But remember that if you have a large waist, you should find something else. My friend had a problem with it, so it’s unsuitable for plus-sized women.

Instead, consider this alternative:

ebags Mother Lode Travel Backpack
Credit: Amazon

Mother Lode travel backpack is in my collection due to its many compartments. It’s proven to be comfy and breathable in my adventures. But it’s not water-resistant, so keep this in your mind.

P.S. Do you want more backpack options? Read this guide I wrote on the best products in this category.

Fanny packs: Stoney Clover and Veckle

Add fanny packs to your packing list to make your belongings more accessible. Besides, wearing one will give you peace of mind since your stuff will be closer to your body.

Here’s the first item I recommend:

Veckle Store clear fanny pack
Credit: Amazon

Speed through airport security with this transparent, cheap bag. Since I don’t care about privacy in my fanny, I own this in three shades. It’s been very durable so far. Plus, it’s water-resistant. 

Need to pack some things you want to keep private, like hygiene items? Choose this instead:

Stoney Cloveer Tie Dye Fanny Pack
Credit: Stoney Clover

This Instagrammable trendy fanny can be worn around the waist, over the shoulders, or across the chest, as I prefer. It was my fav accessory when visiting Disney World.

Packing cubes: Rei and Vallilan

Do you want to be a true packing wizard?

These super useful packing cubes will help you organize your carry-ons and suitcases. Plus, all your belongings will be separated.

Here are some things you should remember regarding packing tubes:

  • There’s no true recommended size, as it depends on your luggage, destination, and other factors. Whether you’re using two large cubes or eight tiny ones, they should fit inside the suitcase. 
  • You should also use travel-friendly tubes for storing any fluids and aerosols, like cream or dry shampoo. 

Now, let’s see my first favorite in this category:

Rei Eagle Creek Pack-It Containment Set
Credit: Rei

Eagle Creek Pack-It Containment Set comes with an Isolate Laundry Sac that restricts the growth of odor-causing bacteria. I always throw small things in the Pack-It Gear Pouch. Cubes are water-resistant but not UV-resistant, so if you have something you need to protect from the sun, these won’t be helpful.

Got more belongings? Buy this instead:

Vallilan Amazon a set of packing cubes
Credit: Amazon

I prefer this one on my long journeys because it inhibits bacteria, prevents odor, and ensures maximum space. However, the zips are a bit difficult to maneuver. 

Category #2: Toiletries

When deciding what toiletries to bring on their trip, female travelers are pickier than men, especially if they only bring a carry-on. 

However, some items are more important to pack than others, so I will be listing them in order of importance.

Sunscreen: Supergoop and Banana Boat

Sunscreen for international travel is essential, not just for beach days. This item can not only prevent sunburn but also serves anti-aging purposes. 

Remember to only bring a travel size and a high SPF. I’m sharing one mineral-based and one chemical-based sunscreen for your beautiful skin. 

Here’s the mineral one I blindly trust: 

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Credit: Supergoop

This sunscreen is for people who hate white residue, as its invisible application is not only sheer but super lightweight. The Unseen sunscreen works great for all skin types, even on my acne-prone skin. 

However, note that it wears a considerable price tag due to such attributes. 

Here’s another option:

Banana Boat® Light As Air™ 6 oz. Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+
Credit: Banana Boat

This is my fav chemical sunscreen, which blends with my fair skin tone. It’s also lightweight, runny, and comes with a pleasant scent. 

While we’re on the topic, let me remind you of the difference between mineral and chemical-based sunscreens. The latter weakens UV rays by generating heat, whereas a mineral one just reflects the sunlight. 

Moisturizers: Sunday Riley and Kiehl’s

Flying can wreak havoc on your skin, which is why so many women get dryness or pimples after arriving at the airport. 

You can fight these undesirable effects with a high-quality moisturizer. It is one of the must-have things to bring for vacation, especially if there’s too much sun and the air is dry.

Here’s the first brand in this category that I recommend:

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream 50g
Credit: Revolve

Even with my oily skin, long air travel dries it up significantly. And that’s when I mostly noticed how strong the power of this product is. It perfectly nourishes my face!

This product also has one great perk – it contains Vitamin C, which shields and repairs skin, along with delivering a bright glow. But caution – it’s expensive. 

I also love this moisturizer:

This one is a staple in my beauty routine, especially while traveling. I think the non-greasy and lightweight formula serves as a good base for makeup. However, there’s just too little product in the packaging. 

Lip balms: Glossier and Fresh

Plane travel has no mercy on lips, which is why you must carry a solid lip balm. It can prove to be an excellent travel companion. I never travel without this gem, and I love how I can tuck it anywhere easily. 

These are my favorite ones:

Glossier Cherry Balm Dotcom
Credit: Glossier

The coverage and refreshing scent are some of the best qualities of this Glossier product. However, the effect is only short-term.

Let’s move to the next product:

Fresh Sugar Lip Balm
Credit: Fresh

When I want a tinted lip balm, I pick this one. If you’re ready to splurge, get your hands on this gem. Besides, with the SPF 15, expect your lips to be protected and moisturized.

Personal hygiene: Lunette and Cora

Menstruation items are must-haves for traveling so that you can tackle this time easily. If you’ve been using pads all your life, I’ll try to convert you to menstrual cups. 

Not only are they a one-time purchase and eco-friendly, but they are so much simpler to use too. Just empty the cup before sleeping and after waking up. Easy right? And it’ll never leak too.

Here are my favorites:

Lunette menstrual cup
Credit: Lunette

Are you a seasoned cup user? Try splurging on Lunette, which boasts bigger holes that are also easier to clean. It’s a pliant product with many available colors. However, newcomers will find it tricky, but trust me, it’s worth a try.

The following cup is great for beginners, so you can first go with it:

Cora menstrual cup women's travel essentials
Credit: Cora

The reason why everyone believes Cora cups are beginner-friendly is due to their unique design. At the start of my cupping journey, I loved how easy it was to clean the soft silicone.

Travel-size razors: Gillette and BIC

A travel-size razor keeps your skin smooth and feminine while occupying minimal space in your bag. Here are the best razor brands I discovered:

Gilette Venus travel-size razor
Credit: Amazon

This is my travel shaver, which I really love. It’s designed specifically for females and adapts well to curves. I also love the smooth shave and the activated moisture, but you should be careful because it can get rusty quickly.

See this shaver alternative:

BIC Silky Touch travel-size razor womenr's travel essentials
Credit: Walmart

This is another good blade razor that gives me a silky and comfy finish. Two thin blades are fitted inside the cartridge head. However, in my opinion, the design could be improved. 

Dry shampoos and conditioners: Amika and Oribe

No woman is ready to compromise on her hairstyle during travel. But it’s not easy to shower regularly during a hectic travel schedule. 

Luckily, technology has improved to offer us dry shampoo that absorbs sebum and dirt in under 5 minutes, bringing back the gorgeous mane we love to show off. 

I’ve tested tons of dry shampoos and conditioners and picked the best in both categories.

Let’s start with this one:

Amika Perk Up Talc-Free Dry Shampoo
Credit: Amika

I love this Amika’s dry shampoo due to its clear finish and unbelievable oil-absorbing quality. The fruity vanilla scent is refreshing, and the formula works for all hair types. But I find its nozzle difficult to press. 

Afterward, you can use this dry conditioner:

Oribe Thick Dry Finishing Spray
Credit: Net-a-Porter

Oribe is a luxurious hair care brand, and I own many products from their collection, including this one. Just do a quick spritz to enjoy a touchable softness on your hair. Warning – a steep price.

By the way, if you’re not sure whether you’re allowed to pack dry shampoos in your luggage and carry-on, I have a detailed guide on this topic.

Non-liquid deodorants: Kosas and Kopari

Bad odor can really put a damper on your travel experience. But don’t worry, there are plenty of different types of deodorants on the market that can help you out, including non-liquid ones that are perfect for taking on flights.

Here’s the first one I like:

Kosas Sport Chemistry Deodorant
Credit: Kosas

This Kosas deodorant goes the extra mile by masking the unpleasant odor and decreasing the pH, which ultimately prevents the spread of bacteria. 

Another feature I absolutely adore is the blend of alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate your underarms. Before using this, I had darker pits, but this product brought in a brightening effect. Caution – needs reapplication throughout the day. 

Next, we have one from Kopari:

Kopari Natural Aluminum-Free Coconut Deodorant
Credit: Revolve

My long hunt for a coconut-scented deodorant ended with this gem. I was skeptical at first as I sweat too much. But I can assure you that this deodorant will remove all stickiness and sweat. I spent the whole afternoon with my friends at a wine tasting event and didn’t sweat at all in my synthetic blouse. However, it left marks on it. 

Makeup remover wipes: Olay and Klorane

Many women wear makeup on trips as it’s a special occasion. Whether you only wear lipstick or go all out, makeup wipes are crucial after you’ve had a fun day. 

I personally prefer these wipes:

Olay water-activated dry cloths
Credit: Amazon

I never travel without these lifesavers. In my opinion, there’s no need for a liquid cleanser if I take this Olay product. 

Klorane is a killer brand too:

Makeup Remover Biodegradable Wipes with Soothing Cornflower
Credit: Amazon

I struck gold with these wipes after I took them to my weekend escape to a forest cabin. They work as amazingly as Neutrogena or some more expensive wipes. But I admit that mascara is a bit hard to remove with them – it’s better to use micellar water for it.

Category #3: Clothing

Being a fashion guru allows me the privilege to discuss must-have clothing for travel. Irrespective of your destination, you’ll need some clothing items more than others throughout the trip. 

Ahead, you will find genius recommendations for footwear and outerwear. You can thank me later.

Hiking shoes: KEEN and Danner Trai

For nomads who demand substantial footwear to walk on rough terrain or do activities in the wild outdoors, hiking shoes are a perfect choice. 

But even if you don’t plan to hike, these shoes for travel will make your long walks more comfortable and pain-free. You can explore the destination all day without feeling tired on your feet.

Here’s my first recommendation:

KEEN Women's Terradora 2 Waterproof Low Height Hiking Shoe
Credit: Amazon

Specifically built for women’s feet, I applaud these shoes from KEEN for offering breathability, arch support, and a dual-density footbed. I also sometimes wear them to the country club when playing tennis. However, I noticed that my toes sometimes sweat too much in them.

This footwear is my personal backup:

Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes - Women's
Credit: Rei

This high-performance footwear is my go-to when I have to engage in multiple activities on one trip. Who wouldn’t love the stealthy grip and feather-light weight? Every step in these shoes is light, and, for a moment, you even forget that you are walking on challenging terrain.

The downside? Unfortunately, they overheat in warm weather. 

Activewear: Alo Yoga and Lemedy

You might hit a gym while you’re on your trip, or you might not. Either way, it can’t hurt to pack some workout clothes in your suitcase while traveling. 

First, I recommend taking some yoga pants with you. Consider these:

Credit: Alo Yoga

Leggings are an essential athleisure item that pairs nicely with all clothing. This set from Alo Yoga maximizes comfort and softness, but the only downside is that it gets dirty easily. 

Pair these leggings with this sports bra:

Lemedy Women Padded Sports Bra
Credit: Amazon

Doubling as a tank top, I have worn this piece to biking and other activities, and I love it. However, it doesn’t give impact support if that’s your preference. 

Windbreaker jackets: Smartwool and Patagonia 

When the wind starts howling in the chilly weather, lightweight windbreaker jackets become necessary things to pack.

Personally, I recommend this one:

Smartwool Merino Sport Ultra Light Hoodie - Women's
Credit: Rei

I’ve worn this light blue jacket to breezy lakeside adventures. It boasts breathability, ventilation, and zippered pockets. But while everything else is great, the main zipper can snag. 

I am sure you’ll love this one, too:

Patagonia Houdini Jacket - Women's
Credit: Rei

I needed a jacket that could handle some serious wind for my first mountain summit, and this one did the job flawlessly. I love how it looks and how lightweight and packable it is, but I don’t like that it’s not breathable at all.

Category #4: Carry-on essentials

Women’s travel kit is incomplete without some carry-on basics. Lost at what you should bring? 

Read the following sections for some packing inspiration. 

Silk eye mask: Alaska Bear and Brooklinen

Is your skin acne-prone like mine?

Then you should consider swapping your cotton or fleece eye mask with a silk one. While I know that most airplanes already offer this item, it’s still better and more hygienic to have your own. 

See my recommendations below:

Alaska Bear Silk Sleep Mask and Cloud Soft Eye Cover
Credit: Amazon

A flat design and adjustability make this mask fit for all face shapes, but it tends to apply pressure on the eyes. 

Want something more luxe? Try this:

Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eyemask
Credit: Brooklinen

The lightweight silk fabric and maximum coverage are the reasons why I take this beauty on all my trips. However, it could be more adjustable and leaves marks on the hair in the morning. 

Bags: Luca Faloni and Away Travel 

Bags are also at the top of women’s travel essentials. However, most of them don’t combine good looks with practicality, which can be a bummer. 

In my search for a perfect travel bag, I’ve picked the following one:

Luca Faloni Weekender carry-on bag
Credit: Luca Faloni

You’ll love this bag for the same reasons I do – it features a passport pocket, key holder, bank card pocket, and more handy compartments. But the main zip is a tad weak.

You can also wear this blush beauty on your next trip:

Away Travel The Everywhere Bag carry-on
Credit: Away Travel

The thoughtful compartments in this one proved to be very useful for me – a waterproof umbrella pocket, a 15″ laptop pocket, and a lot more to fit tons of stuff. The only con is the tight slide-over handle. 

Ear plugs: ZQuiet and Eargasm

If you’re planning on staying in a hostel dorm, I highly recommend investing in a good pair of earplugs. You don’t want to be constantly woken up by other people walking around, and earplugs can also be helpful on planes.

I personally love these:

ZQuiet QuietOn 3 Noise Cancelling Earbuds
Credit: ZQuiet

I was doubtful about their claimed 28-hour battery lifetime, but the results were pleasant. And all the other aspects are impressive, too, except that these plugs are not for side sleepers.

You can buy these as a backup:

Eargasm Squishies - Moldable Silicone Earplugs for Sleep
Credit: Amazon

Since I have small ears, I followed the manufacturer’s advice on breaking the piece to make it smaller, and it worked great. But what I don’t like is that it gets tangled with my long hair. 

Power bank: PowerTraveller and OtterBox

A power bank is another must-have item in women’s travel essentials because you will depend on your phone during your journey. Think about all the apps you’ll need to commute or have a smooth trip. 

This device might be helpful:

Powertraveller Merlin 75PD Power Pack
Credit: Rei

I underestimated the small-sized Merlin 75PD initially but was pleasantly surprised after it charged all my devices, even my laptop! Since it’s water-resistant, I can also bring it to outdoor activities. But beware – according to some reviews, it won’t last longer than a year. 

Avid travelers should consider this too:

OtterBox Fast Charge Power Bank - 15,000 mAh
Credit: Rei

Fast charging, connection to multiple devices, and a durable design – what more can you want? From Google, Apple, Samsung, and beyond, I can charge literally anything with it. But it has a minor drawback – poor lifetime.

Travel adapter: Lewis N. Clark and Ceptics 

Having a travel adapter comes in handy before you go on your trip. That way, you won’t have to worry about keeping your devices charged.

Since I usually travel within America, I don’t use travel adapters much. But I own them just in case. 

I swear by these brands:

Lewis N. Clark Adapter Plug Kit
Credit: Rei

When I’m traveling to just one country and don’t require an all-rounder converter, I choose this one. It boasts adapters for 175 countries. Please be careful of fake ones, though. 

Here are lighter options:

International Travel Adapter Plug Set
Credit: Ceptics

When I need something cheaper and smaller, I prefer this. However, you will also need an individual multiport charger to bring different devices to life.

Reusable water bottle: Super Sparrow and YETI

The next item on my list is a solid reusable water bottle because you might not always have access to clean drinking water while on your trip.

Back when I started to travel, I got two water bottles as gifts and have been using them ever since. 

Here they are:

Super Sparrow Sports Water Bottle
Credit: Amazon

Non-toxic construction is safe for the environment and your body, and that’s why I bring it everywhere. It’s quite long-lasting, but sometimes water drips from the air hole.

Here’s another option:

YETI Rambler 26 oz Bottle
Credit: Amazon

This bottle has never slowed me down on adventures. Plus, its foolproof insulation won’t change the temperature of your beverage. However, the inner top is tricky to open.

Category #5: Non-Obvious Travel Must-Haves

The previous four categories revolved around common things, so let’s shift our attention to miscellaneous basics that you’re unaware of yet. Ahead, I’ll be sharing women’s travel essentials to bring better comfort and safety. 

Travel insurance

Let’s be honest – planning exciting adventures takes a lot of our money and time to make everything smooth. But everything cannot always go as planned. For instance, you can get in an accident, have your stuff stolen, or get sick. 

So, to have peace of mind regarding your travels, insurance is a must. It will protect you when there’s no one by your side, especially on a solo trip.

Here are the four main coverages provided by travel insurance:

  • Travel interruption or cancellation insurance
  • Personal effects or baggage insurance
  • Long-term or short-term medical insurance
  • Airplane accident or sudden death 

You may pick any based on your preferences and the destination you visit. 

Personal security alarm keychain: Alphahom and She’s Birdie

Need a solo female travel hack?

Explore new places with a personal security alarm keychain attached to your backpack or purse so that the surrounding people can help you if you get attacked by a perpetrator. 

When triggered, this product will start flashing and producing an alarm sound.

Alphahom Personal Safety Alarm for Women
Credit: Amazon

This is my absolute favorite, as it works for a year on just a single charge and can sync with my phone through Bluetooth. I’ve found my keys numerous times by using the app available on Android and iOS. But there’s a drawback – it takes effort to set up. 

And here’s a colorful gadget:

She’s Birdie–The Original Personal Safety Alarm for Women
Credit: Amazon

When I go to an isolated destination, I bring this lightweight alarm. But fellow users have complained that it goes off unprompted sometimes. 

Portable door locks: Addalock and DoorJammer

Another item for the solo travel essentials list is a portable door lock.

I hate feeling uneasy when I have to check into a hotel on my own. So, I understand how difficult it’s for solo females to sleep in hotels at night.

If this feeling resonates with you, I urge you to invest in a portable door lock/jammer. There’s no better layer of protection. Here are my recommendations for both:

Addalock Portable Door Lock
Credit: Addalock

This is an affordable yet minimalistic device that stops strangers from entering your room. But it’s not one-size-fits-all.

Consider this alternative:

DoorJammer portable
Credit: Door Jammer

Although it’s bulky, I trust it blindly as it guarantees more protection. Even if someone successfully unlocks your door, it won’t budge. 

Supportive neck pillows: OstrichPillow and Dot&Dot 

I hated wearing neck pillows up until my incredibly long flight to Australia. Before this experience, I used to think that neck pillows were uncomfortable and caused more harm than good. 

But after my friend shared these two brands, traveling is anything but tiresome.

Due to my frequent neck pain, I couldn’t travel as often as I used to. But this supportive pillow made me travel pain-free again. However, I won’t recommend it to anyone with a thick neck.

And this is my backup pillow:

Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow for Neck
Credit: Amazon

I love how this piece bends in any shape I desire. This is why it’s so different from its competitors, but it tends to dig inside itself. 

Over to You

That’s all I have to say for travel essentials, ladies! I hope now you’re feeling prepared to enjoy 2023’s adventures to the fullest. 

Let’s go over the categories once again:

  • Suitcases, backpacks, fanny packs, and packing cubes are essential for packing. 
  • Travel-size razors, sunscreen, moisturizers, lip balms, personal hygiene, makeup remover wipes, dry shampoos/conditioners, and non-liquid deodorants are must-haves for toiletries.
  • Add windbreaker jackets, hiking shoes, and activewear to your clothing list.
  • Silk eye masks, handbags, earplugs, a power bank, travel adapters, and reusable water bottles belong to carry-on essentials. 
  • Travel insurance, personal security alarm keychain, supportive neck pillows, and portable door locks are the underrated genius travel basics.

Would you fancy reading more travel-related guides? Check out my blog today!

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