These must-have travel essentials for women will make your travel life so much easier. You’ll wonder what you ever did without them!
Traveling can be a thrilling experience, but it can also be stressful, especially for women. There are many factors to consider when packing for a trip, such as the destination’s climate, the length of the trip, and the activities planned. However, there are some travel essentials that every woman should have in her luggage to make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable. And after visiting over 65 countries over several years, we know exactly what they are!
When it comes to travel essentials, women need to think about practicality and convenience. The right products can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth travel experience. From luggage and packing cubes to skincare and makeup, the options are endless. However, it’s important to pay attention to the critical things when selecting these products, such as the size, weight, and durability.
After years of travel around the world, we have tried and tested various travel essentials for women to identify the ones that make traveling more comfortable and stress-free. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or a first-time adventurer, our comprehensive guide will help you pack the right essentials for your next trip.
Disclaimer & Affiliate Disclosure: Almost all posts on this site contain affiliate links, and this travel guide to 50 Travel Essentials for Women is no different. This means that if you click on any of the links in this post (and make a purchase) I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Each post is carefully crafted to (hopefully!) answer all your questions and recommendations are made where we believe they will improve your trip and help with your planning. As such we thank you in advance should you decide to click & buy. Read my full Disclosure here.
In This Post
- 1 Must-Have Travel Essentials for Women (for every trip)
- 1.1 RFID Passport Holder
- 1.2 Travel Insurance
- 1.3 Travel Wallet / Travel Organizer
- 1.4 A Digital Copy of Important Documents
- 1.5 Travel Adapter
- 1.6 Mobile Phone & Charger
- 1.7 First Aid Kit
- 1.8 Collapsible Water Bottle
- 1.9 Hand Sanitizer
- 1.10 Noise Cancelling Headphones
- 1.11 Neck Pillow / Travel Pillow
- 1.12 Silk Eye Mask / Sleep Mask
- 1.13 Power Bank
- 1.14 Compression Socks
- 1.15 Portable Luggage Scale
- 1.16 TSA Approved Travel Lock
- 1.17 Makeup & Personal Hygiene Products
- 1.18 A Pen
- 1.19 Snacks
- 1.20 Kindle
- 1.21 Personal Alarm
- 1.22 Portable Door Lock and/or Alarm
- 2 Women’s Travel Essentials: Luggage, Bags, Packing & Laundry
- 3 Carry On Travel Essentials for Women
- 4 Essential Travel Clothing & Accessories for Women
- 4.1 Sunglasses
- 4.2 Sunglasses Case
- 4.3 Travel Jewelry Organizer
- 4.4 Reusable Lint Roller
- 4.5 Packable Waterproof Jacket
- 4.6 Period Cup or Period Underwear
- 4.7 Comfortable Walking Shoes
- 4.8 Hiking Boots
- 4.9 Flip Flops
- 4.10 Travel Laundry Detergent
- 4.11 Travel-Sized Sewing Kit
- 4.12 Travel Steamer
- 4.13 Hidden Pocket Infinity Scarf
- 4.14 Hat or Cap
- 4.15 Bra Case
Must-Have Travel Essentials for Women (for every trip)
RFID Passport Holder
An RFID passport wallet is an essential travel accessory due to its ability to protect your sensitive information and prevent identity theft. With the advancement of technology, passports and credit cards now come with embedded RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips that can be scanned wirelessly. This leaves travelers vulnerable to potential hackers or thieves who can easily access personal data.
An RFID passport wallet acts as a shield, using special materials that block the radio signals and prevent unauthorized scanning. By investing in a RFID passport wallet, you can travel with peace of mind, knowing that your passport, credit cards, and other important documents are secure and protected from digital theft.
This one is made of genuine leather and comes in over 20 different colors. Click here to find the perfect shade to match your luggage!
Now, this may be a contentious issue for some, but I am a firm believer that if you can afford to travel you can afford insurance, and so is definitely a travel essential for women (and everyone else!)
Travel insurance can help you out in a number of big – and small – ways. From compensation for delayed flights or lost luggage to covering doctor or hospital expenses if you get injured, and covering the cost of flights home in the event of an emergency.
There are lots of different policies available, from the basic 1-2 weeks general cover, or annual policies for frequent international travelers whose trips are typically 1-3 weeks. Then there’s backpacker cover for specific destinations (ie. South Africa or South America) or extreme sports cover, and even travel insurance policies that specialize in providing cover for long-term travelers or digital nomads.
Travel Wallet / Travel Organizer
A travel wallet or travel organizer pouch is an essential companion for travel as it provides a secure and organized way to store your cards, cash, and important documents. With multiple compartments and slots, it allows you to keep everything in one place, making it easier to access and locate your essentials while on the go. And keeps them protected from loss, damage, or theft with its RFID-blocking technology.
This one comes in black or pink and has an additional neckstrap for hands-free/easy access on the go.
A Digital Copy of Important Documents
We highly recommend that all travelers, not just women, have multiple copies of their passport and driver’s license – a hard copy to carry with you, and scanned, digital copies in a password-protected account online. This way, should the worst happen with your actual passport (lost, stolen, destroyed etc), the copies can help identify you and help get replacement passports quicker.
(You could also have digital copies of any living will, or power of attorney you may already have in the online folder, just in case you need them. None of us go on vacation thinking the worst is going to happen, but being prepared for any eventuality can actually make dealing with the practicalities of the worst happening, a lot easier.)
A multi-country travel adapter is a musthave item as it enables you to charge your electronic devices and stay connected while traveling internationally. With different countries using various types of electrical outlets and voltage standards, a travel adapter ensures compatibility and allows you to plug your devices into foreign sockets.
Whether it’s charging your phone, laptop, or camera, a travel adapter ensures that you can power your devices anywhere in the world either via traditional plug or USB. Its compact size makes it easy to pack, ensuring you’re always prepared to plug in and recharge wherever you go.
Mobile Phone & Charger
Whether its Samsung, Apple, or Pixel (or any other phone) Packing your phone and its charger is a no-brainer.
First Aid Kit
Even if you are trying to pack extra light, never scrimp on your first aid kit, it’s just not worth it! You can pick up a ready-stocked travel first aid kit / medical kits that will contain all the self care travel essentials from bandages to antibacterial wipes but we would also recommend adding some if not all of the following… just in case!
- Hand sanitizer (more below)
- Throat lozenges
- Pain relief tablets
- Muscle relief cream
- Diarrhea relief tablets
- Mosquito repellent and bite relief spray (bugs love me and so I never leave home without these!)
- Glucose or other sugar to treat hypoglycemia (essential items for backpacking if planning a trip in extreme conditions)
- Oral rehydration salts (essential if traveling in extreme conditions or have a jam-packed itinerary)
- A half roll of toilet paper (possibly with the tube removed for space) – just in case you ever get caught short.
You may not need these women travel essentials but if you do, you will thank us:
- Travel sickness tablets
- Antacid tablets
- Allergy tablets (particularly if you suffer from hay fever)
- Biodegradable Soap
Collapsible Water Bottle
A foldable reusable water bottle is such an awesome accessory to have. Water is always expensive in airports – and sometimes not free on the plane(!) – this little beauty lets you through security with an empty bottle that can then be filled up at the water fountains which are airside. It’s also great to carry around when you’re out and about on your adventures and folds up small when not in use.
Check out the best water bottles for travel and find your perfect drinking buddy!
Hand sanitizer was always a good idea, even before the pandemo. Now, it’s even more essential. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be stylish. These refillable containers each have their own colorful clip and tassel which you can match to your bag.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Whether you’re on planes, trains, buses or any other form of public transport, a pair of noise-canceling wireless headphones can be a lifesaver. Whether you want to block out the noise of a crying baby (we know it’s not their fault) or an over-excited child, or simply watch a movie or TV show in peace (or even have them on with nothin playing for the ultimate sound of silence!) these are the 1 item I would never travel without. Choose from over-ear or earbuds (or both) depending on what you like.
Neck Pillow / Travel Pillow
Depending on if you can sleep leaning to the side, or prefer to lean forward, we have the perfect Neck pillow for you.
The inflatable neck pillow supports your neck and shoulders, folds down to nothing and can be inflated in a matter of seconds. You can also watch movies or play games while resting due to the open base.
If you haven’t heard of the TRLT Travel Pillow, you are seriously missing out. I always struggle with traditional neck pillows as they don’t provide enough support for my giraffe like neck. Soft and Strong it is scientifically proven to provide incredible neck support and possibly be the best thing to ever happen to naps! Better still, if folds down to nothing and will take up way less space in your bag than the traditional neck wrap.
Silk Eye Mask / Sleep Mask
In the interest of being comfortable – especially on the long haul, late night or early morning flights where you may want to grab a bit of shut-eye, a silk sleep mask is a luxurious addition to any traveler’s kit. This one comes with double straps to help keep it secure for even the most fidgety sleeper.
If you’re flying on one of the premium airlines, in-seat power is usually a given – however, budget airlines are well, budget. Having your own little power bank/portable charger means you’ll never run out of power, and is great for popping in your handbag when you are out and about exploring to make sure your phone or camera never runs out of battery. Perfect for those who like to take a million photos (I mean, who doesn’t?!) and for using maps to help you get around an unfamiliar city.
Compression socks are an essential travel item for women as they promote circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots and swelling during long flights or journeys. They provide comfort and support, preventing leg fatigue and discomfort, and can help you feel more refreshed and ready to go on arrival at your destination.
Portable Luggage Scale
Airlines can be strict when it comes to baggage allowance (especially budget airlines in Europe – IFYKY!) Using a portable luggage scale make sure that your bag is not even slightly overweight can really put your mind at ease – and avoid that post-souvenir shopping spree check-in queue panic of ‘will they charge me extra?!’
TSA Approved Travel Lock
If your bags are going to be out of your sight for any amount of time (plane, train, ferry, etc) – or even if they are not and you are just on public transport – making sure they are locked can be enough to deter any would-be thieves. (Even if professional thieves won’t care at all). Luggage locks will stop opportunist thieves and can also double as locker locks (in hostels, gyms or luggage lockers, etc)
We recommend these ones with a flexible wire locking mechanism, over a solid locking loop as they are more versatile.
Makeup & Personal Hygiene Products
- Lip Balm – it’s always a good idea keep your lips hydrated. Nobody wants uncomfortable cracked lips while traveling.
- (Minimal) Make Up – You probably won’t end up wearing most of it anyway, but it’s nice to have the basics on hand.
- Make Up Remover Wipes – To remove the above.
- Travel Mirror with adjustable lights – To apply the above.
- Ear Plugs – For public transport, noisy hotels or just dimming the hum of a busy city if you are feeling overwhelmed. They also come in their own mini-travel case and are easily cleaned for continuous use.
- Travel Razor – This mini safety razor with its own travel case and 4 spare blades is a great addition to your travel kit.
- Tangle Teezer – If you’ve been around a while, you know that I swear by this compact travel hairbrush.
- Medications (and copies of relevant prescriptions)
- Tweezers, Nail Clippers & Nail File.
Never be caught short without a pen when traveling – filling in arrival and departure forms, customs declarations, you don’t have to be the person scrabbling around the desk or waiting your turn for the one pen that is tethered to the desk! Any pen with a lid or that is retractable (because you don’t want pen all over your stuff) will do.
It might just be me, but I always travel with snacks. A protein bar, trail mix, or even a bar of chocolate could be just the pick-me-up you need in the middle of a journey, or as an emergency snack to keep the hangry at bay.
Back onto the keeping you entertained front, a Kindle Paperwhite is (and has been for years) a great alternative to lugging heavy paperback books around. Now I know some people just love the feel of a book in their hands, and the ability to trade or swap with other travelers in hotel or hostel libraries, but if you are short on space (or weight) a Kindle is the way to go. (And is the eco-conscious choice too!
A personal alarm is a small, portable device that makes a loud noise when activated. It can be used to attract attention and deter attackers or other dangers. Many personal alarms also have a built-in flashlight, which can be helpful in low-light situations, and mean that you are not using your phone and potentially making yourself an easy target for would-be theives.
In case of an emergency, a personal alarm can be a quick and easy way to call for help. The loud noise can alert nearby people to your situation and potentially scare off an attacker and can give women travelers an added layer of protection and peace of mind when traveling or walking alone.
*Note* While we understand pepper spray can also be handy to carry, depending on where you are traveling to, you may not be able to take it into the country – especially if you are only traveling with a carry-on, so a physical alarm, on a keychain for example, is a great go-anywhere investment.
Portable Door Lock and/or Alarm
From 5* hotels to renting a bedroom in a private house, a little extra locking mechanism on your door can give you peace of mind you didn’t know you needed. Perfect for solo female travelers.
Two of the most common extra locks are doorstop alarms, which when placed behind and under a door acts as a wedge to provide extra resistance when opening the door, with a corresponding alarm to alert those inside the room. The second is simply known as a portable door lock and fits into the existing locking mechanism of a door – without causing any damage, of course.
Both are great forms of travel safety gear and we recommend traveling with both. This way if your hotel room door opens outwards, the portable lock will still work where the doorstop won’t, and in reverse, if you can’t use the portable lock for whatever reason, you have the doorstop alarm ready to go.
They are both small and lightweight (the linked set is cheap too) – and can easily be packed inside a shoe or trainer. It’s a no-brainer for me.
Women’s Travel Essentials: Luggage, Bags, Packing & Laundry
Suitcase vs Backpack
People can argue their case until they are blue in the face when it comes to which is the best travel bag, but deciding between a suitcase and a backpack entirely depends on your travel style, how many destinations you’ll be visiting if you are likely to have to carry your bag over large distances, stairs (or cobblestones!) – and ultimately, personal preference.
My picks are an expandable roller case for 90% of my trips, and a good-quality backpack for overland or adventure travel (such as Africa). But I’m not here to judge. If you are comfortable and confident with a rolling suitcase and can carry it up stairs if need be – Go for it. I (almost) always do.
Carry On Bag
There’s a reason this Carryon Bag has gone viral on social media in the past few months. Its large capacity, multiple pockets, suitcase-style opening, padded laptop sleeve, ‘wet pocket’ and, most importantly, the fact it complies with several budget airlines cabin bag policies, is the reason it has thousands of positive reviews.
It’s great if you are planning on traveling with carry on luggage only, but if you just need a ‘personal item’ bag, you can’t go wrong with a classic tote such as the Longchamp Le Pilage.
Antitheft Travel Purse
When it comes to a good day bag, an easy to carry, crossbody, anti-theft travel purse with multiple pockets and lockable zips is a great investment. This one from Travelon also has a slash-proof base panel, and sturdy strap clips which you can also clip your hand sanitizer to!
Compression Packing Cubes
If you’re a traveler, you probably know all about packing cubes. But not all packing cubes are created equal, and what most people leave out when recommending them is the ‘compression’ part. Compression packing cubes do exactly what they say on the tin, allowing you to compress or ‘shrink’ your clothes and so allow you to pack more than you ordinarily could.
Cosmetic Bag / Cosmetic Pouch
I love that this makeup bag has a large capacity and fully opens giving you access to everything in all the pockets and corners. But if you can fit your beauty products into your hanging toiletry bag (below) – you can skip the cosmetics bag altogether!
Hanging Toiletry Bag
This hanging travel toiletry bag has multiple waterproof pockets that fold down when using the built-in clip, giving you have access to everything you could possibly need in the bathroom. And it is quite compact when zipped up. Perfect.
Believe me. This flimsy bit of fabric is a must-have travel essential. Put simply, it’s an easy way to keep the dirty clothes away from the clean ones, in a bag that can just be emptied into a washing machine when you get home (or whatever place you plan on washing).
Reusable Shopping Bag
A foldable reusable shopping bag is great to have in your day pack. Perfect for carrying the souvenirs you bought, whatever treasures you found at the local thrift or artisan market, or basic groceries from the supermarket.
Carry On Travel Essentials for Women
If you’re traveling with Carry On only, your needs may be slightly different in that you need a lot more solid travel toiletries such as solid shampoo and conditioner bars or travel sized deodorant – we’ll include a bullet point checklist below – but in this section we’d also like to highlight the benefit of a travel or airplane pack that includes toiletries for freshening up both during the journey and on arrival. (Noting that a lot of the women’s travel essentials above are also relevant to carry-on travel)
Airplane Travel Pack
- Antibacterial wipes
- Face Wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Toothbrush & mini toothpaste
- Floss Sticks / Dental Floss
- Face mask and/or under-eye patches (yes you can, and absolutely should, be wearing them on the plane – especially on long haul flights!)
- Lip Balm
- Travel sized moisturiser and/or hand cream
- Small pack of tissues
- Mints / Chewing Gum
- Spare hair ties
- Any medications you’ll need on the plane (prescription, jet-lag preventative, sleep promoting, etc)
Solid Toiletries for Carry-On Only Travel
In addition to the above, you’ll also need:
- Ear buds / Q Tips
- Cleansing Stick / Face Wash Wipes
- Solid Shampoo Bar and Solid Conditioner
- Travel-sized Dry Shampoo
Essential Travel Clothing & Accessories for Women
I never leave home without these mirrored, blue lens, polarized sunglasses. Not only do they do their job of protecting your eyes from the sun, but are also great for hiding your eyes to avoid unwanted eye contact while you are traveling. These simple frames are available with multiple different colored lenses too, perfect for personalizing to suit your style.
They are reasonably priced too, so it’s not the end of the world if they get lost or stolen (although that would be mighty inconvenient, and as I love these, devastating for me!)
If you’re like me, you travel with multiple pairs of sunglasses – and this sunglasses roll is perfect for keeping them all safe and secure without multiple cases taking up space in your bag. Grab this sunglasses roll with 3 or 5 slots, depending on your level of sunglasses addiction!
Travel Jewelry Organizer
We always recommend taking travel friendly jewellery (i.e. not your best stuff – you don’t want to lose it or become a target for pickpockets, or worse). But whatever you are taking, you’ll want to keep it organised and not all in a wrapped up tangled mess. Enter this flat jewelry pouch – flexible and soft with a deceptively large capacity.
Reusable Lint Roller
This compact, washable, reusable lint roller is one of my new favorite travel possessions. Small and cute, it fits seamlessly into my toiletry bag and is perfect for de-fluffing clothes on the go. And just a quick rinse later and it’s clean and just like new again. No more ripping sheets off a plastic stick like the old rollers. This washable reusable, super cute lint roller is an absolute travel essential for women.
Packable Waterproof Jacket
While we all dream of sunny skies and warm weather on our travels, sometimes the rain sneaks in and tries to spoil all the fun. But not when you have a packable rain jacket. Taking up minimal space in your case, and small enough to carry in your daypack, be prepared for that surprise shower, no matter where you are. (And this one comes in a variety of colors!)
Period Cup or Period Underwear
Comfortable Walking Shoes
A comfortable pair of walking shoes, sneakers or walking sandals are essential when it comes to city breaks that require you to be on your feet all day exploring. I like a low-top canvas shoe for weight, flexibility, and comfort, but a lot of my female friends swear by their sneakers. Choose what is comfortable and suits your own style.
But only if you are planning to actually hike. Unless you are serious about hiking, a pair of regular sneakers or trainers will be absolutely fine. If you are taking hiking shoes or hiking boots, be sure to break them in first, and carry some decent socks and blister plasters with you just in case.
Great for slipping on around the pool, the spa (or if there is a shared shower situation!). Havaianas are my go-to but I also swear by a pair of FitFlops (above) that have a little bit more support and that I use for everyday walking alongside my low top canvas shoes.
Travel Laundry Detergent
Whether you need to do a quick wash of small pieces or are changing your hotel bathroom (and anywhere else you can hang things to dry!) into a full-scale laundry, having some travel sized laundry detergent in a handy pack will be a lifesaver.
Keep your clothes looking fresh and freshly pressed – without paying for hotel laundry services – with a mini travel steamer. This one is lightweight, comes in its own travel bag with a foldable clothes hanger, and heats up in seconds. PerIt’s perfect if you travel with linen clothes or those that are easy to crease.
Hidden Pocket Infinity Scarf
I’ve always loved a scarf on my travels – they’re great for a bit of extra warmth on the plane, for modesty reasons at religious sites, and can elevate any outfit. But this hidden pocket infinity scarf has been a game-changer for the past few years. It’s a discreet way to carry important documents or other bits and pieces, while still providing all the original benefits. This one also converts to a regular scarf or a blanket – still with hidden pockets!
Hat or Cap
Protection from the sun (the straw one above has SPF50!), or stylish statement. You decide. Just don’t forget to add a hat clip to your travel kit for easy carrying – both on the plane/train and day to day.
Although this may not be as much of a womens travel essential for the smaller chested ladies, for those with an ample bosom, don’t let those expensive bras (because we all know the larger over-the-shoulder boulder holders don’t come cheap!) get crushed or snagged in your case and keep them protected in a bra case.
And that’s a wrap folks, we hope this list of women’s top travel essentials has given you everything you need for a safe and smooth trip. And if you know of a girlie heading off on her first adventure soon (or her first one in a while!), be sure to send her this womens travel essentials list or share on social media. And remember, sharing is caring!
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