Travel Essentials for Women: 50+ Must-Haves for Any Trip + Packing List (Free Download)

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A woman carrying a yellow backpack looking out onto a green mountain landscape.

Picture this: you’ve finally booked the trip of your dreams. Flights, hotels, and travel insurance are all taken care of, you’ve received all the required vaccines, and all that’s left to do is pack your bags. It’s almost too perfect – but you can’t relax just yet! There is still the matter of luggage to deal with.

Packing can often be one of the trickiest parts of travelling, leaving you to wonder which items are travel essentials, and which you can leave at home to save some space in your luggage. Travel essentials for women, in particular, can quickly pile up, making it difficult to pack light and leaving you to carry heavy bags throughout your holiday. 

But what if we told you it really doesn’t have to be this hard? In this article, we’ll list some essential travel items for women and give you handy travel tips to make packing your suitcase(s) a breeze. Read on for a list of the best travel items for women. And if you’re a man, don’t worry! These can still apply to you – after all, packing is for everyone.

What essentials are needed for traveling? 

We know there is a lot to think about when packing travel essentials: clothing, toiletries and medication, electronics, drinks and snacks, accessories… The travel essentials list goes on and on. (Want a comprehensive packing list now? Scroll down to the bottom of this article!)

But depending on your trip’s length, mode of transport, or even destination, you may need to bring completely different items – the plane travel essentials you take on a beach holiday may be totally absent from a packing list for business trips, or from a list of the best road trip essentials for women. 

Female travellers with disabilities and medical conditions should also ensure that they bring all the medication and/or equipment they may need. If travelling by plane, boat, train, or coach, check what you are allowed to bring on board and speak to the airline or travel company if necessary. Most companies will allow you to bring necessary medications and medical devices, so do not worry.

So if you’re wondering which carry-on essentials women should bring on board a plane, or what the best travel gear for women is, just keep reading!

Women’s travel essentials

First things first: what is a travel essential to you? What is considered a woman’s essential travel products can be very personal – for example, some tea or coffee lovers may view a travel kettle as an absolute must-have, while others may be happy using hotel room facilities or boiling water over a portable gas burner during a camping trip.

Similarly, someone flying to South Africa or Australia may be in trouble without a hat, but you might not need one if you’re going somewhere with very little sun. (But do keep out of the sun as much as you can, cover up, and remember to wear sunscreen – even on cloudy days.)

Similarly, luxury travel accessories for her may not be everyone’s cup of tea – so no need to splurge for the best travel toiletry bag from Louis Vuitton if your current travel pack fits all your products just fine! Instead, make a list of the ladies’ travel essentials you think you might need, and stick to it – read on below for some ideas to get you started.

Carry on essentials for women

Flying to an exotic destination, while exciting, also means you’ll be spending a significant amount of time inside a plane, or hurrying to catch your connection, and this can be especially difficult for female travellers. Honestly, packing all of your ladies’ travelling necessities inside a small toiletry bag that fits carry-on requirements should be an official Olympic sport!

Here are 5 travel essentials for long flights that will ensure you land feeling refreshed and ready to start exploring a new destination (or, you know, go straight to the beach).

1. A water bottle. If travelling with your own refillable water bottle, make sure to empty it first before going through security, then refill it before you board – most airports now provide refill stations. Or if you need to, buy bottled mineral water from the airport shop. Either way, it’ll keep you hydrated even in the dry environment inside of a plane.

2. A travel pillow and eye mask. Between uncomfortable seats, noisy neighbours, and sometimes even the dreaded motion sickness, it can be almost impossible to get some shuteye on long flights. Packing an eye mask in your luggage will allow you to block out any bright lighting – so pair it with earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to get some sleep before landing.

3. Travel size toiletries. Is there anything more heartbreaking than having skincare products thrown away by airport security? To avoid getting in this situation, pack a clear travel purse with mini versions of your favourite products – sunscreen, baby wipes, face cream, lip balm, hand sanitizer and feminine hygiene products are of course essentials, but you may also want to include products such as toothpaste and floss, dry shampoo, a hair brush and makeup in case you need a touch-up before landing. Hair styling items such as hair dryers and hair straighteners can go in your checked-in luggage.

4. Medicine and medical equipment. If you are travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, make sure to keep all essential medicine or equipment in your carry-on luggage. A first-aid kit may also come in handy, but don’t forget to remove any scissors or sharp objects from the bag as these are prohibited by airport security. If your immune system is compromised, wear a face mask to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and other viruses.

Make sure to pack any prescription drugs and/or birth control you’re currently taking, with a copy of your prescription details and your doctor’s contact details. You can organise your medication in a pill box for ease of carrying, but always remember to bring extra in case of delays or interruptions to your journey. If you regularly take vitamins, bring those, as well as small amounts of over the counter medicine such as antihistamine tablets, paracetamol or ibuprofen, anti-diarrhoea tablets, or rehydration sachets.

5. Travel gadgets for women are also very important when travelling abroad. Don’t forget an international travel adapter for your phone charger, as most other countries will have different plug sockets than you’re used to. A power bank, also known as a portable charger, is another one of the best women’s travel accessories, and it can be a real lifesaver when there are no plug sockets around. Options range from single-charge power banks to ones that can charge your smartphone or tablet more than five times – browse through Amazon or head to your local electronics shop to find the right one for you.

You may also be wondering what not to travel with on a plane – while security rules can seem a little daunting, a little planning will ensure you go through airport security without a hitch. Read on below to find out what you should pack in your checked-in luggage!

For more information, you can refer to the GOV.UK website’s comprehensive list of hand luggage restrictions while packing, or check your specific airline’s rules.

Travel essentials for her: checked-in luggage 

Before packing your suitcase, check the weight limit for your hold luggage – different airlines and ticket categories will usually mean you must stick to different rules. If you’ll be taking internal flights once at your destination, make sure the weight limit matches that of your initial flight, or you may end up having to lose some items.

When packing clothes, don’t forget to check the weather at your destination and plan for unexpected changes in temperature – it’s always a good idea to include a light jumper, even when going to a country that is normally hot.

If you’ll be away for a long time and need to bring a lot of clothes, packing cubes can help you maximise the space in your suitcase or backpack. They’ll help you organise and separate clothing (think separating your dresses from your tops or underwear) and can even be used to pack your outfits by day if you know you’ll be too busy to figure out what to wear every morning.

Comfortable walking shoes are also a must if you’re planning to do any sightseeing or walk around parks, museums, shopping centres, and more – your feet will thank you! If you’re planning a lot of walking or physical activities, shoe inserts can help keep your feet (and shoes) smelling and feeling fresh even in the heat.

Large toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, body sunscreen, face cleanser, and more should be kept in your checked-in luggage. If you shave, it’s best to keep razors and other shaving items in checked-in luggage as well, unless allowed in cabin baggage by your airline. 

Avoid keeping valuables or important documents in your checked baggage, as it may be lost by the airline. And be aware that some prohibited items are excluded from both hand luggage and checked-in luggage – these include flammable liquids and explosives; bleach; Christmas crackers, party poppers and fireworks; spirits containing more than 70% alcohol; radioactive materials; and more. Chances are you won’t be transporting any dangerous materials, but check your airline’s website for information if you’re worried.

What should you never forget when traveling?

It may sound obvious, but number one in the list of travel essentials for international travel is your passport – without it, you won’t even make it past the boarding gate! Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6-8 months from the date you travel out, as some countries have strict restrictions on passport validity.

Another thing to remember is your boarding pass, train or coach tickets. When travelling by plane, you should usually be able to check-in online the day before your flight and get a digital boarding pass, which can be safely stored on your smartphone. However, it may be a good idea to also print out any tickets or boarding passes as a backup in case your phone runs out of battery. Don’t forget to also print out your accommodation and pick-up details (if applicable), as you may need to hand these over when you arrive at your destination.

Depending on your destination, vaccination certificates may be necessary. Bring those in your hand luggage – either digitally or as hard copies – and make sure you have backups of all your documents in case something goes wrong.

Finally, do not travel without a first aid kit, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition or are travelling with children and family – no one wants to be getting sick while on holiday! 

Some items you’ll want to include in your first aid bag are: painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen; a thermometer; anti-diarrhoea tablets and rehydration sachets; bandages and plasters; and insect repellent. For cuts, bites, and stings, an antihistamine cream or gel can help provide relief. If you’re going camping or to a hot and humid destination, you may want to pack a mosquito net alongside your bottle of insect repellent – this will keep you safe from bites and reduce the risk of illness.

If you are concerned about sickness and/or diarrhoea, consider taking probiotics before and during your holiday to feed your gut with friendly bacteria. This may help you avoid the infamous traveller’s diarrhoea and all the unpleasantness that comes with it. Essential oils can also be a fantastic addition to your self-care bag to promote relaxation and wellbeing throughout your trip.

Travel packing list for women

You may be wondering: what do I need to pack for a 7 day vacation? How do I pack for a 10-day trip? In reality, no matter how long you’re planning to go away for, some things will always need to be part of your packing list. Here is a list of 5 travel must-haves for women that we think are non-negotiable:

  1. Your passport (or other form of ID for domestic travel), and any travel visas you need together with some cash and a credit/debit card
  2. A small backpack, tote bag or shoulder bag to keep your most important carry-on items in
  3. A clear toiletry bag for travel-size cosmetics and your essential medications
  4. Some snacks and refillable water bottle to save money on airport shopping
  5. Enough weather-appropriate clothes, socks and underwear to last your trip – remember you can wash items to reuse if you’re short of space! 

Going away for longer, or need a more comprehensive list? Yourtravelandhealth.com has compiled a full list of 50+ travelling essentials for women (and men – we think you’ll appreciate the reminders as well!) 

Just read on below or download a copy of our list here to use at home.

Hand luggage packing list

Handbag essentials for women

  • Passport
  • Mobile phone
  • Tickets / Itinerary
  • Accommodation details
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Vaccination certificates
  • Money and credit/debit card
  • Keys (to your home and/or car)
  • Medicine / Vitamins
  • Travel-size toiletries
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Lip balm
  • Travel adapter
  • Portable charger
  • Travel pillow / Eye mask
  • Headphones / Earbuds
  • Earplugs
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Books or Kindle
  • Sunglasses, prescription glasses and contact lenses (solutions for this can go in hold luggage)
  • Fold-up tote bag

Checked-in or hold luggage packing list 

Toiletry packing list (female)

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss or interdental brushes
  • Mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash or soap
  • Facial cleanser
  • Facial toner
  • Facial moisturiser
  • Face and body sunscreen
  • Make-up
  • Make-up remover
  • Shaving or waxing items
  • Feminine hygiene items (tampons, sanitary pads, menstrual cup etc)
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair brush
  • TravelHair dryer 
  • Hair styling items (flat iron, curling iron etc)
  • First aid kit and other items such as paracetamol, anti-diarrhoea tablets and rehydration sachets, and insect repellent. For cuts, bites, and stings, an antihistamine cream or tablets,

Clothing packing list for women

  • Underwear
  • Vests / Bras
  • Nightwear / Pyjamas
  • T-shirts
  • Tops / Shirts
  • Sweaters / Sweatshirts
  • Jeans / Trousers
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Socks / Stockings
  • Formal wear (if required)
  • Swimwear
  • Swimwear cover up (such as a sarong)
  • Jackets / Coats
  • Hats
  • Gloves / Scarves 
  • Umbrella
  • Trainers / Walking shoes
  • High heeled shoes for evening if required
  • Sandals / Flip flops / Beach footwear
  • Jewellery (do not bring expensive items as they could get lost or stolen)
  • Exercise clothes

Summary On Travel Essentials For Women

Are you ready to pack your bags yet? Don’t forget these essential items! 

A refillable water bottle, travel pillow and eye mask set, carry-on toiletries, travel adapter, and your prescribed medications are absolute must-haves. However, make sure to leave full-size shampoo bottles and shaving items alongside your clothes in your checked-in luggage to avoid any issues at security. Better still, don’t take full size bottles – decant them into smaller containers so you have just enough for your stay and get more luggage space! 

Depending on your destination, stocking a first-aid kit might look slightly different – but don’t travel without one, especially if you have a medical condition. Some must-have items will include painkillers, bandages and plasters, insect repellent, rehydration sachets, and anti-diarrhoea tablets. Finally, bring any medical or travel documents you’ll need, and don’t forget your passport and travel money!

Download our comprehensive packing list here to use at home, and let us know in the comments below which items you absolutely can’t travel without! We’d love to hear from you.

FAQ on Travel Essentials For Women

Do you still have some questions or concerns about packing for your holiday? Read below for some frequently asked questions by travellers like you.

What everyday things are not allowed on planes?

For safety reasons, you may be prohibited from packing certain items in your hold luggage. These include lighters, flammable liquids such as acetone or aerosol cans, non-safety matches, vapes and e-cigarettes, lithium batteries, toy guns and more – however, some of these items may be allowed in your hand luggage. Check your airline’s website for a comprehensive list.

What is the 3 1 1 rule?

The 3-1-1 rule refers to the amount of liquids you can bring in your carry-on bag when you fly. Each liquid, cream or paste needs to be in a 100ml or less container (3.5 ounces, which is the “3” in 3-1-1), placed in a single clear plastic bag (“1”). Finally, one passenger is only allowed one plastic bag (“1”).

What is the most common thing people forget on vacation?

Travel essentials women often forget include umbrellas, glasses and contact lenses, and toothbrushes – while you may be able to purchase some of these at your destination, you could really do without the added stress! To avoid getting caught out without an important item, make sure to write down a list of everything you’ll need while travelling and once at your destination, or refer to our comprehensive list above.

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