This packing list is designed with the female traveler in mind. It contains all of the basics you need for a safe and fun adventure. With this packing list I don’t get into too many specifics about number of tops or pants to bring, because each destination requires different necessities. For instance, hiking to Machu Picchu will require very different footwear compared to traipsing through Europe’s most beautiful cities. That being said I do have packing lists for hiking to Machu Picchu and for the Galapagos islands.
But no matter where in the world I go, there are certain items that I won’t leave home without. The items below make me feel prepared, safe, and happy while I’m far from home. Many of them also decrease my carbon footprint on the world, which is fairly high as a traveler. What’s in your backpack?
The ultimate first question – backpack or suitcase. I’m a huge proponent of using a backpack because it helps me limit the amount I bring and it keeps my hands free to use. Although, I also understand it sucks to carry everything on your back, so a suitcase may be more your style. Since working for an airline I keep seeing the Away luggage and people seem to love it. So I may give that a whirl soon! Whether you choose backpack or suitcase, smaller is better. And packing cubes are a must!
This is the backpack I used for 3 months South America and 6 months in Europe. It’s 40L with a detachable 10L day bag. I really like the comfortable waist strap that helps alleviate some weight on my shoulders.
You do not need to go out and buy a new wardrobe for travel. I repeat, do not buy a new travel wardrobe. Pack the items you’ll need for the activities you plan to pursue on the road. You likely already have what you need if participate in them at home. Like I said, I’m not going to go into details with the types of clothing to pack with this packing list. However, there are a few items that really made a difference in keeping me extra comfortable.
I packed THE WORST shoes for my first trip to Ireland and ended up with a very severe case of shin splints. It happens to be the one and only time I’ve ever had shin splints. They are awful. Since then I’ve found shoes that make my feet happy and are cute!
There are some things that will make traveling easier on us ladies. The game changer for those 10+ hour bus rides for me was the Diva Cup. I try to get everyone to use one 🙂 I also tried to limit my liquids to South America and bought a bunch of bar soaps and conditioners from Lush, they got stolen about a month in and I realized I could get shampoo and conditioner from the corner store. So buy your toiletries when you land!
The Photography Gear
Because you’re going to want to remember this time, whether you’re in the photo or not! Most smart phones these days come with pretty good cameras so if you’re taking photos just for the hell of it, then that will do. If you’re looking to get creative with your travel photos and develop your skills, these are good starting tools to use. I’ve written a post about how to take epic travel selfies if you’re interested too!
I ruined my lenses in the sand. So I had to get new ones and I’m loving the challenge of the fixed portrait lens and how the wide angle FINALLY gets everything I want in the landscape! Plus, I love a good bundle deal.
Many people talk about the Gorilla Pod as a great table top tripod. I had it for a day and forgot it attached to a tree. So I decided to try out this Fotopro tripod and found it just as stable and it fit more easily in my bag! It comes with attachments for a DSLR and iPhone!
The Health & Fitness Gear
Before I left for travel, I had lost 25lbs over the course of a few years. It’s safe to say I gained it all back thanks to my daily quota of gelato. However, I could’ve gained a lot more had I not been diligent about working out at least twice per week. I used bands, my body weight, and online programs to keep me fresh. I also did a lot of yoga. But, all that sweat doesn’t counteract the sweet… I’m reminded.
Keep your water cold or your tea warm in a Hydro Flask. I used a carabiner to clip it on to my backpack as it is a little bulky. But it is so durable (I dropped it a lot). Plus, reduce your plastic bottle usage.
The Safety Stuff
Safety is never far from our minds as women in this world. But it becomes an even stronger concern when we venture out and begin traveling the world solo. These items I keep with me for every trip and they help me feel confident and safe while traveling solo.
This door stop is certainly not practical in a hostel dorm room setting, but for an Airbnb, Couchsurfing or hotel stay – I love it. It doesn’t just act as a door stop – but also as an alarm so it wakes you up if someone tries to intrude!
And there you have it – everything you will need for an epic solo travel adventure. For more specifics on how many of each item to bring – it really depends on how long and where you’re going. But remember that less is more. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes about packing to bring home the point that you really don’t need much when traveling – “When preparing to travel, lay out all of your clothes and all of your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money” – Susan Heller