Packing List & Tips for the Ladies
Packing is the WORST…for me at least.
I hate packing, I hate unpacking, I hate re-packing…I’d rather take out the garbage (my least favorite chore) than pack, lol….and unfortunately, it’s essential in any trip we take.
One of the main issues with packing is we usually pack too much! Ladies..let’s be honest, we usually over pack and don’t even end up using majority of what we bring. So to help remedy this situation, I have put together my packing list and tips below which allows me to carry-on my luggage whether it’s a roller bag or backpack for my short or long trips. Keep in mind, this list is currently geared towards my international trips and packing minimally, but adjust the list according to your needs.
But…before we get started, pour yourself a glass of alcohol…this is a long list.
- Passport/ID cards
- Make a photocopies and leave a copy at home and bring a copy with you
- Email copies to yourself and your ICE (in case of emergency) contacts
- Credit cards/cash
- If you are looking for some new plastic, check out this blog post on cards I recommend on the road that help maximize travel expenses and eliminates ATM withdrawal fees: Solo Travel for Beginners
- Contact your banks/credit card companies to inform them of your trip and take digital copies of your credit cards as well
What clothing you pack depends on the climate and the activities that you intend on doing. Do some research on the weather for the timeframe you are visiting and cater the following list accordingly based on your style. I am pretty minimal and simplistic when it comes to clothing, so keep your inner fashionista and expand the boundaries a bit if this list doesn’t align with your closet. Keep in mind, the quantities below are for ONE week. If your trip is shorter, then adjust the amounts, but if it is longer than one week and you have the ability to do laundry, keep the quantities as is.
- 1-2 maxi dresses/romper
- 1 pair of leggings
- 1 skirt
- 1 pair jean shorts
- 1 pair of nicer shorts
- 1-2 casual shorts/capris that can also be used as sleeping clothes and working out
- 1-2 casual tops that can also be used as sleeping clothes and working out
- However…if you want separate pjs, then bring 2-3 pairs of pajamas
- 3-4 tops/tanks that you can mix and match with your shorts/skirt
- 1 cardigan for colder days/evenings
- 1-2 swimsuits
- 1 maxi dress
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of nicer pants for the evening
- 1 skirt
- 1 pair of leggings
- 1-2 casual pants/shorts that can be used as sleeping clothes and working out
- 1-2 casual tops that can be used as sleeping clothes and working out
- 3-4 tops/long sleeves that you can mix and match with your pants/skirt/cardigans
- 2-3 Cardigans
- 1 warm coat (suitable for the weather)
- 2-3 pairs of socks
- 8-9 pairs of underwear
- 2-3 bras/sports bras (I like bringing bralettes as they take up less space)
- Walking shoes/gym shoes (dual purpose)
- Shower slippers/casual flip-flops (dual purpose)
- Nice sandals for warm weather / nice flats or comfortable boots for colder weather
- Do not bring heels…unless you need them for a wedding or other event during your trip
- Rain coat/jacket
- 1 hat
- Can be used for warmth or cover up if you visit a temple/church
- Day bag (crossbody or daypack)
- Evening bag/purse (crossbody)
- Waterproof bag (if you are planning to do water/beach related activities)
- 1-2 pieces of jewelry to accessorize (don’t bring anything expensive)
- Packing cubes…I love these things – they organize your clothes and belongings nicely in your bag. MUST HAVE, especially if you are traveling with a duffel bag or backpack.
- Toiletry bag
- I really love the one I have which is the eBags Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kit
- Toothbrush (get a cover too)/toothpaste/floss
- Retainer/invisalign trays
- I know we get lazy wearing these when we travel, but bring them!
- Eyeglasses, contacts/case (bring an extra pair in case), contact solution
- Face wash, makeup remover wipes
- I actually bring this makeup eraser towel…you just add water!
- Buy those travel size containers at Target or Walmart and fill it up with your shampoo/conditioner
- You can either bring body wash in a travel size container or a bar of soap. For longer trips, I go with a bar of soap because it lasts longer, but it really depends on your preference.
- Lotion/facial moisturizer
- Hair gel/straightening gel/wave spray
- Again, put it in travel size containers or if your fav brand offers it in travel size, then go for it
- Dry shampoo
- I’ve had the dry shampoo aerosols confiscated before so on my last trip, I brought a foam and it was fine. If there is a foam or powder, it’s a safer bet getting through security if you are carrying on your bag.
- Perfume (rollerball ones are perfect for traveling)
- Makeup (separate post on travel makeup: Travel Makeup Packing List & Tips for Your Trip by my BFF, Justine Cudi coming soon, get excited)
- Baby wipes
- Cotton Swabs/Q-tips
- Straightening iron/curling iron
- I think this is up to you.. I personally bring a mini-straightening iron by FHI and it doesn’t take up much space. Also keep in mind, you don’t want to burn out your nice expensive straightener/curling iron due to the international outlets/adapters malfunctioning.
- Travel towel (if you are staying in hostels and/or you do not trust hotel towels)
- I really like this one, it’s compact and fast drying: Sunland Microfiber Towel
- Make sure to contact your service provider to tell them about your trip and see the costs for using your phone abroad. Sometimes getting a SIM card in that country is more cost effective, so do your research!
- Laptop/tablet (if you need it)
- Chargers (phone, laptop, camera, etc.)
- Waterproof case for phone/electronics
- If your phone isn’t already waterproof and you are doing water related activities, buy a waterproof case and/or bag for when you do these activities.
- External hard drive (if you need to backup your photos/videos on the road)
- External battery pack (I use this one and love it: Anker PowerCore 10000)
- Solar backup battery (This was helpful while hiking)
- International plug adapter
- Check to see what voltage/outlets they have in your destination and plan accordingly. I have this one: LOOP World Adapter Plug
I bring a little first aid kit my sister (who is a nurse) made for me which has a bunch of meds and items in it that I used for my four month backpacking trip which included hiking up mountains, trekking through rice paddies, scrambling up rocks, and other physical activities. Below is the full list, but adjust as needed based on your trip.
- Pain medicine i.e. Ibuprofen (Advil)
- Cold medicine (DayQuil/NyQuil)
- Motion sickness pills (Dramamine)
- Allergy meds
- Daily vitamins/Vitamin C/Zinc
- Sleeping aids (Melatonin)
- Prescription meds
- Facial tissues
- Alcohol pads
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibiotic cream
- Medical tape
- ACE wrap
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet Wipes/Clorox Wipes
- Bug spray/cream/insect repellent bracelets (I use Ultrathon Insect Repellent)
- Locks for your bags/hostel lockers/etc.
- I like these: Venture 4th TSA Lock
- Personal emergency sound grenade for safety
- I’ve never had to use it, but I always have this on hand: Robocopp
- To stay informed about the country you are visiting and receive travel alerts and warnings, enroll your trip with the U.S. Department of State – STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program)
- Travel notebook/pens (to capture your innermost thoughts or sketches…I tried drawing the Sydney Opera House while sitting on a bench and I’m no artist, I just felt like it, lol)
- Extra zip-lock bags
- I always find these are handy if something spills or you need to separate something in your bag
- Sleeping Bag Silk Liner
- If you don’t trust the sheets, I always bring my own so I feel better about myself. This is what I use: The Friendly Swede Travel and Camping Sheet Sleeping Bag Liner. Super lightweight and doesn’t take up a lot of room.
- Clothesline/detergent (depends how long your trip is and where you are going)
- I only did laundry once on my own in Kenya and the place I was staying at had their own clothesline, but I still brought this around with me just in case: iSuperb Portable Windproof Clothesline. If you are heading to Southeast Asia, getting your laundry done is super cheap ($1 per kilogram). Europe is a bit more expensive.
- Camping spork
- Desperate times call for desperate measures, lol – I bring this Light My Fire Spork from REI everywhere, haha.
- Emergency FOOD
- Super side note tangent: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck on a bus or plane for hours or go on an unexpected hike during the day and had to tap into my emergency food reserve. One of my favorite stories of emergency food saving the day was when I took a girls trip with my best friends to Montreal…We were in our fabulous room at the Ritz Carlton (on my points of course because we aren’t rich, haha) and could not make a decision on where to eat. We were really getting on each other’s nerves because no one wanted to be the one to make the decision and we were all starving. Then I pulled out my trusty snack pack of almonds and it literally saved the evening. Two almonds each and we all transformed back into humans, smiling and laughing again…like best friends should behave. So moral of the story….always have emergency food!!
Do not bring…
- Blowdryer…they take up way too much room. Depending on where you stay, they may have a blowdryer for you to use.
- Depending on whether you are bouncing around from one city to the next, bring one week’s worth of clothes. You can do laundry and save so much space in your luggage to buy more goodies…and also save on checked baggage costs!
- Don’t bring extra of anything you can buy there. i.e. baby wipes, pads/tampons, facial tissues, Q-tips, etc.
And that’s it!! 🙂
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about what to pack for your trip or if you have any suggestions/comments from my list above. Thanks for stopping by!
For more travel tips, read the following articles: