Travel essentials for women

Travel Essentials for Women #1 – Bags

Is there such a thing as too many bags? If you’re trying to cut down your travel packing list to the minimum travel essentials for women don’t pack three different day bags. Instead, these are my suggestions.

Suitcase

When it comes to packing, I’ll never have more than one primary suitcase. If I’m going anywhere for more than a few days then I’ll always bring a large suitcase so I can be sure that there’s plenty of space for souvenirs.

You can simply put more stuff in the suitcase, not only in terms of quantity, but also what you can pack.

For example nail clippers, nail scissors, large bottles of liquid (shampoo, conditioner, and body wash), and razors. These items are often prohibited in your carry on luggage but are fine if they’re going in the hold.

There’s also the matter of anything you purchase during your trip. Not only do you have to think about how you’ll carry it home, but if you don’t have checked luggage you must also consider if you’ll even be allowed to take it on the plane.

If you don’t check in a suitcase, you can say goodbye to your European spirits and wines! I have several sets of these suitcases of all different sizes and they’ve always served me well.

Backpack

Of course, that’s not to say that carry-on luggage isn’t brilliant – and I would absolutely advise picking up a sturdy (and stylish) backpack for this.

Handbags are great, but when you’re already dragging around a suitcase, the last thing you want is a heavy handbag on your arm.

And mine is always incredibly heavy with my DSLR, large water bottle and books in it!

Plus, it creates more of a security risk if your purse and travel documents are dangling on show.

Small Evening Bag

An evening bag or some sort of small cross-body bag is a must for any holiday. I love exploring cities by night and just wandering around and I find there’s no need for the big bag I usually take around in the day.

It’s handy for carrying your essentials and a good option if you’re planning any nice dinners or bar visits.

If you’re really trying to cut down on luggage space then I’d skip the cross-body evening bag and just stick with a tote bag (below).

Tote Bag

Last on the list, I would always recommend taking a tote bag which you can fold up and stash away until you need it. If you’ve ever got lost on your way to the beach, trying to carry your towel, book sunglasses and other beach accessories, you’ll understand.

Tote bags are the unsung hero of travel essentials, and if you don’t already have one – get one!

Travel Essentials for Women – Bags

Travel Essentials for Women #2 – Toiletries

Now, this is where our suitcase comes in handy. Worldwide travel guidelines state that only bottles up to a certain (generally very small) size are permitted in hand luggage – everything else must be stowed away in your carry-on luggage.

Let me ask you this: have you ever tried to wash your hair on holiday with one of those mini travel toiletries? Nightmare.

They simply aren’t big enough and carrying hundreds of them around on every trip rather defeats the object of making them travel size. It’s certainly not great for the war on plastic we are in the midst of!

Clear Toiletries Bag

Let’s start with toiletry holders. I personally have a lovely makeup bag that is the perfect size and shape to carry all my bits, and fits perfectly in a side pocket in my suitcase.

But there are inevitably items which you’ll want with you – such as lip balm, hand cream and maybe some hand sanitiser – and for those, you will need one of the very attractive and super-stylish clear airport security bags.

These bags are readily available at the security checkpoint of most airports. However, with one of these clear bags, you can prep in advance so you’re not scrabbling to do this as you rush for your flight.

What’s more, no one wants to be the person who leaves something in their bag by accident and gets hauled aside at security to explain the rogue bottle of sun cream in their carry-on bag.

In the interests of being organised and ensuring a calm airport experience, pre-pack your see-through bag with what you think you might need on the flight.

Getting one of these TSA approved bags can be really convenient too if travelling to the USA. 

This could include any of the following items:

Hand-Sanitiser

This one is just good sense (especially in these times!), after all, you never know who has had contact with the surfaces you use throughout your travel experience. What’s more, you may struggle to find a hand sanitiser brand you trust once you get to your destination.

Browse travel hand-sanitisers and check prices here.

Menstrual Cup

A menstrual cup is a really excellent and sustainable solution to menstruation that allows you to get involved with all sorts of holiday activities without worrying about changing your tampon/pad or worse, leaking.

My favourite brand is Mooncup, which is one of the OG menstrual cup brands. It comes in two sizes so you can pick the most suitable one for you.

Lip Balm

No explanation needed. Everyone needs lip balm! Chapped lips are not sexy. Carmex is my absolute favourite lip balm and it comes in different forms and flavours.

Shop Carmex lip balm here.

Hair ties

I don’t know about you, but I always think I want my hair down and around my face, until I try to read a book or watch a film, and realise my hair is completely in the way. Take hair ties and thank me later.

This pack of black hair ties will do you nicely and shouldn’t tug on your hair.

Or if you’re willing to spend a tiny bit more, I’d recommend getting some spiral hair ties as these won’t lose their stretch and last way longer!

Browse for durable spiral hair ties here.

Suncream

You never know how long you could be waiting at the other end, or where you’ll be waiting, and it’s always best to be prepared to spend some time outside in the sun! Plus, suncream is super good for wrinkles and ensuring your skin looks the best it possibly can.

If you’re not doing so already, you should make sure you are using a moisturiser with some sort of SPF in it so you have daily protection.

Moisturiser

Flying is notoriously bad for our skin, and it’s not unheard of to get off the plane and break out in spots and dry patches of skin. Combat dehydration and dry skin by staying moisturised!

I swear by brands like Aveeno and Nivea but I’ve heard good things about Cetaphil too!

Travel Essentials for Women #3 – Clothes

Breaking your clothing pack list down into different sections is actually a really great way to make sure you don’t forget anything.

There’s nothing worse than getting to your hotel only to realise you left half of your favourite bikini behind or forgot to pack socks! This list of clothing essentials should help you make sure you’ve got everything you need.

Underwear

No explanation needed. As girls, we’re probably guilty of packing way too much underwear, but better too much than not enough! You can’t go wrong with this pack of simple black cotton underwear.

Swimwear

If you’re going somewhere long haul and plan on spending a lot of time on the beach then you may choose to pack multiple swimming costumes. A bikini or swimming costume for swimming in, and one for looking fabulous in. Plus, maybe one that will give good tan lines…

If you’re packing light then you’ll need to find one that meets the above three criteria all in one.

Activewear

Maybe we’ll hit the gym, maybe we won’t. But it would be nice to have the option… besides, you can always wear gym leggings on a holiday hike! I own several pairs of black Nike leggings and highly recommend them for stretch, comfort and durability.

Day Trip Attire

Denim shorts are a given, as is a set of t-shirts. Neutral or plain t-shirts can go with lots of different outfits, both formal and casual so it’s great to be able to pack outfits you can mix and match.

If you’re worried about space, plan your days in advance a little and assign one outfit for each – anything beyond that list is overpacking!

Evening wear

It’s great to have at least one nice evening outfit and a dress will take up the least about of space. Don’t forget that evenings can be chilly in even in the warmest of places, so take a cardigan or two to make sure you stay snug and comfy.

Shoes

Flip flops, sandals, trainers, wedges. Anything else is probably unnecessary… but I’ll let you be the judge of that!