This site uses affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you use my links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.
Whether you’re planning your first trip or your hundredth, deciding exactly what you need to pack for a trip can be overwhelming! So what are the female travel essentials that you ACTUALLY need? After decades worth of constant travel (seriously, decades), I’ve put together this guide that includes all of my favorite travel essentials for women.
This guide has everything you need to pack, for any trip, no matter where you’re going! Within this list, I’ve also included some recommendations for my favorite travel products for women. These are all the travel must haves for women – leave everything else at home and enjoy traveling carry on only. Read on for the entire list of women’s travel necessities!
Looking for a printable list of female travel essentials? I’ve got that for you, too! Subscribe below (at the very end of the post!) and I’ll send it to you by email! It’ll be yours to edit and print, forever and evermore.
If you’re in a hurry and want to skip to a printable list of female travel essentials, you can do that in the table of contents below.
Women’s Travel Essentials
Whether you’re packing clothing, shoes, accessories, toiletries, or hair and beauty items, this comprehensive list of women’s travel essentials has everything you need!
Luggage: Travel Essentials for Women
Let’s start with the travel essential basics: your luggage! Bringing the right luggage on your trip will set you up for packing light and efficiently.
I recommend bringing three kinds of bags with you on every trip: a carry on size suitcase, a tote bag or backpack, and a smaller purse such as a cross-body bag or clutch.
If you plan to check your luggage, it also helps to know what to put in your carry on vs checked bag.
Travel Bags and Luggage for Female Travelers
- A carry on suitcase: This is where you will pack your clothes, shoes, accessories and toiletries. I love this Samsonite bag because it’s easy to maneuver, lightweight, and has enough compartments to keep you organized.
- A tote bag or backpack: Put your carry on essentials in a larger tote bag, along with any electronics such as a laptop, tablet, or camera.
- A cross-body bag or clutch: This is what you’ll use for daytime exploring or nighttime outings. Here’s one I love: a cross-body bag with a removable shoulder strap, so it converts into a clutch bag for the evening. It is also under $20 and comes in a zillion colors. Genius!
Clothing and Accessories: The Travel Must-Haves for Women
When it comes to packing for a trip, deciding which clothes you want to bring is usually the first thing to consider. Whenever I pack, I try to stick to one color palette since that makes mixing and matching pieces much easier. For me, that means a lot of black and gray!
When it comes to travel clothing, try to think through the activities you’ll actually be doing during your trip, and making sure you can mix and match with basics to create an outfit for every activity.
To pack light and save even more space, I love bringing reversible clothing for travel! And respecting the environment is so important, so check out these five brands that make environmentally friendly travel clothes.
Women’s Travel Clothing
- Tops: Bring a mix of casual and dressy tops, including pieces like cardigans that you can layer (I love this one – it’s perfect to wear on a plane since it’s so cozy!).
- Pants: Pack pants that have some stretch to them, so that they’ll be comfortable.
- Dresses: one piece, one outfit!
- Underwear and bras: I love these super-duper comfy wireless bras for travel. Don’t forget any specific bras you might need, like a sports bra for hiking, or a strapless bra for dresses and tank tops.
- Swimsuit: you just never know.
- Shoes: Comfort and versatility are the keys here. Check out all of my picks for travel shoes, including my favorite ballet flats which can be worn just about anywhere, as well as the best shoes to walk in Europe.
- Jewelry and accessories: try to stick to basics. If you can bring only one necklace and/or earrings for a trip – you win! Here’s a few more tips on packing jewelry for travel, and another one on how you can get anywhere with three necklaces.
Toiletries: The Essential Travel Products for Women
Next up? Travel toiletries! To be honest, packing toiletries can often be my least part of preparing for a trip. Why? Confession: I love my skincare and beauty products, and I don’t like to be without them! So there always ends up being a lot of stuff to cram in to my bag.
Since I never check a bag when I travel, I’ve had to learn to edit the contents of my travel toiletry and makeup bags so that they only includes the essentials. I’ve also learned some toiletry packing hacks along the way!
Travel Toiletries for Female Travelers
- Leakproof bottles for travel-size toiletries: I love this set of travel toiletry bottles! I’ve brought them EVERYWHERE and they do. not. leak. EVER. I love them so much that I even did a video review of them on my Amazon storefront!
- Shampoo and conditioner: For all of my detailed recommendations, check out this post on the best travel hair products.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Dental floss
- Shower gel or soap: Pro tip: you can save space in your liquids bag by bringing bar soap!
- Lotion: a must-have for travel, since my skin always gets dry
- Face wash
- Feminine products
- Q-tips and cotton pads
- Makeup remover: save space in your liquids bag by packing makeup remover wipes instead
- Nail clippers and nail file
- Razor: yes, they come in travel size! In a very cute case!
- Contacts and contact solution
- A clear, TSA-Approved 1 quart bag to put all liquids in: I like using a long-lasting bag, rather than a disposable plastic bag. It’s more eco-friendly and won’t get any holes!
- Makeup: Pack your day-to-day makeup basics. Of course, everyone’s travel makeup bag will look a little different. Here’s exactly how to pack makeup for a flight.
Additional Ladies Travel Essentials List
In packing for any trip, there are also a few more things to add to this ladies travel essentials list that you can’t forget! Here’s a few things to make sure and add to your bag:
Additional Travel Must Haves for Women
- Flat iron or curling iron: I almost always have my flat iron with me for quick touch-ups
- Hair ties
- Scarf: even in the summer, I bring a scarf with me to help keep me warm on cold flights
- Prescription medicine
- Over-the-counter medicine as needed: you know best what you might need on-the-go! Personally, I always bring painkillers, pesto-bismol tablets, and allergy medicine. These three medicines address the most common travel ailments, so they can be life-savers in a pinch.
Pro Travel Tip: These days, travel can be more uncertain than ever. Check for any COVID-related restrictions at your destination, and never travel without travel insurance! I recommend SafetyWing, because they have flexible + affordable insurance plans, and also cover COVID-related impacts on your trip (not all companies do)!
What to Pack in Your Tote Bag
Now that your suitcase is packed with all the female travel essentials you need, it’s time to pack your carry on essentials!
Throw these items in a large purse that you can keep with you at all times. They’ll keep you entertained and comfortable while you’re in transit.
- Tablet, laptop, or e-reader
- Headphones: noise-canceling headphones (or ear buds) are the best option for travel because they’ll mask loud background noise from a plane (or your fellow passengers)
- Camera: For most travelers, a phone camera is sufficient, but if you want a camera that’s a step up, yet still travel-friendly, try a mirrorless camera. Panasonic has a feature-packed model at a great price point.
- Power cables for all electronics
- Power bank for charging electronics on the go: don’t get stuck without power for your devices! I recently bought this power bank. It’s lightweight and has a built-in cable. You can check out my video review of it here.
- Travel documents (ID, passport, visa, vaccine records as applicable)
- Cash and credit cards
- Water bottle: avoid plastic water bottles and bring a reusable water bottle
- Lip balm
- Sanitizing wipes or antibacterial lotion
There you have it – all of the travel essentials for women you’ll ever need!
Here’s A Printable Version!
Looking for a printable list of these female travel essentials? Subscribe below, and I’ll send you the list of travel essentials for women by email that you can edit and print – it’ll be yours forever.