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Traveling is a fun but often stressful endeavor. From planning to packing to navigating a new city, there is so much to think about! After going on many long-term and short-term trips, I have compiled this list of travel essentials for women with items I will always take with me. I will not include obvious things on this list (like underwear, headphones, or your passport). Instead, this is a list of 14 unique gadgets and items that have made traveling much easier and, in some cases, safer.
Also, remember to check out this list of top apps for travelers!
1) Rolling Backpack
My rolling backpack is an absolute lifesaver, so I placed it at the top of this list of travel essentials for women. The one linked above was my only luggage on my three-month solo trip through Europe. It is the perfect carry-on and even fits under most airplane seats! A rolling backpack saves your back by allowing you to roll it everywhere and also carry it like a regular backpack (for those cities with pesky cobblestone streets or unpaved roads). This way, you have the option to unburden your shoulders!
2) Anti-theft Purse
An anti-theft bag or purse will save you many headaches, especially when traveling to cities where pickpocketing is a severe problem. It gives you one less thing to stress about when you have a secure way to carry your belongings. The bag above, from Travelon, includes slash-resistant material and straps, locking zippers, and RFID-blocking pockets to prevent electronic identity theft!
3) RFID-Blocking Sleeves
Speaking of RFID-blocking pockets, I recommend buying RFID-blocking sleeves for extra measure. Nothing is worse than getting your card information stolen and sorting through the aftermath while on vacation. I am extra careful because it has happened to me before, and it was an absolute headache to fix! This $10 investment is definitely worth the peace of mind and security.
4) TSA Toiletry Bags
Who puts all their liquids in a ziplock bag and calls it a day? I was also guilty of this until I learned how much more convenient it is to keep my toiletries in a clear travel toiletry bag. This clear bag is a travel essential for women because we tend to have many products, from skincare to haircare to makeup. This toiletry bag is fantastic because it gives you the maximum space to pack your liquids according to TSA guidelines. Organizing your items in this toiletry bag is much easier than using a flimsy ziplock.
5) Travel Tubes
Speaking of toiletries, I recommend getting this set of travel tubes so you can easily pack liquids that come in volumes over the TSA carry-on limit. I have used this for haircare and skincare products that don’t come in a smaller size but are necessary for my daily routine. Instead of buying those crappy travel-size products, take your usual products and squeeze them into smaller tubes. You can change the tube label, so you will never have a mixup.
6) Personal Hotspot
This one is more of an investment, but it can be an absolute lifesaver, especially if you are a woman traveling solo. A personal hotspot allows you to connect to the internet at any time from almost anywhere. It is a fantastic investment if you work remotely because it lets you stay connected, whether out in nature, in the middle of a bustling city, or even on a train. However, please make sure to check the list of countries that the hotspot covers before you purchase. Follow the instructions to set it up, buy as much data as you need, and connect your device. More importantly, if you are in danger, lost, or in an emergency, you have easy access to the internet without having to rely on crappy, free WiFi that you may or may not find.
7) Universal Adapter
This one may be obvious, but I have seen many people forget to buy an adapter and scramble once they reach their destination. Buying one universal adapter will save you so much hassle and give you the peace of mind that you can charge your devices no matter where you go!
8) First-aid Kit
A first-aid kit is one of those annoying items your family may constantly nag you to bring. We all hope our vacation will be without injury or illness (and most are), but that is not always the case. If something does happen, you will be so thankful to have a kit with you! Pack a first aid kit with band-aids, alcohol pads, ointments, paracetamol or ibuprofen, and (most importantly) antacids. Traveler’s diarrhea is very real!
9) Nightcap Scrunchie
A nightcap scrunchie is a terrific gadget that covers your drinks when going out. All you have to do is take it off and put it on your cup. This scrunchie is one of the most important travel essentials for women because we are more likely to be targeted with date rape drugs. It can prevent someone from slipping a drug into your drink, keeping you safe if you go out to a bar or clubbing. As a solo traveler, I always err on the side of caution. It only takes one person for you to end up in a terrible situation.
10) Hidden-pocket Scrunchie
Another scrunchie that is a lifesaver is a scrunchie with a hidden zipper pocket. This hair tie is functional and can deceptively hold a lot! I always keep an extra wad of cash in it and tie my hair or keep it around my wrist. This way, if I get robbed, I will at least have an emergency stash of cash to hold me over.
11) Laundry Detergent Sheets
These laundry detergent sheets are small, lightweight, flat, and easy to throw into your suitcase. They are necessary for long-term travels where you’ll most likely need to do a couple of loads of laundry. They are also helpful for short-term trips as a “just in case” item. The sheets barely take up any space, and you get a lot for your money. I have used these for my travels and at home.
12) Quick-drying Towel
This towel is lightweight, compact, and dries very quickly! It is perfect for traveling through hostels where towels often are not provided. Even at a hotel or Airbnb, which may supply towels, it is best practice to carry one of your own just in case. You can also take it in your purse to wipe off sweat during the day if you are traveling to a hot and humid destination.
13) Tactical Flashlight
Completing my list of travel essentials for women is a tactical flashlight. A tactical flashlight has multiple uses, and I will never leave for a trip without one. Unfortunately, you can’t carry pepper spray on flights. A tactical flashlight is the next best thing. Not only is it beneficial to have if you find yourself out at night and need a little extra light, but you can also use it to blind an attacker in the eyes. Doing so can give you a precious few seconds to run to safety. In the worst-case scenario, you can use it to strike an attacker. I recommend taking a few self-defense classes where an instructor teaches you how to use it effectively.
14) Travel Credit Card
A travel credit card is not a travel essential just for women but a travel essential for everyone. I have seen way too many friends travel abroad with their standard credit cards and have to pay ridiculous exchange fees for every purchase. They can always take out cash, but the atm fees are just as bad. Acquiring a travel credit card before your trip is much more practical. With a travel credit card, you have no foreign transaction fees and earn points/rewards from travel purchases. Click here to get an overview of some of the best options.
I hope this list of 14 travel essentials for women helps you as you plan your next vacation! Let me know if I missed any of your favorites in the comments below! For more travel tips, check out this page. Also, check out my article on the top apps for solo travelers.