Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

February 23, 2024

I must say, packing for any trip has probably become my least-favorite part of traveling. But over the years (and 13 countries later), I have finally narrowed down the travel essentials that are necessities for ladies. This list shares all my favorite women’s travel essentials, to help you pack for your next vacation.

Below I have broken down this post into categories of all my favorite travel essentials, as it became quite an extensive list. Feel free to skip ahead to the sections you want to read in the Table of Contents or skim the photos with direct links to products. 

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Here is my complete list of travel essentials for women to help you pack for your next vacation:

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Luggage and Packing Essentials for Women

Luggage and Suitcases

First things first, you won’t be able to pack away all your ladies travel essentials without having some luggage to put it in. Finding good quality hard shell luggage is crucial as you want something durable that will last you a long time – Especially since luggage tends to be pricey. 

There are a few different luggage brands I have used since I began my travels in 2017. And as of writing this post (2024), these have all held up through various countries and checked bag carousels at the airport. 

Away Travel Bag | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Away Luggage

My Away bag was my first real piece of luggage and is a popular choice for travelers for a reason. It’s one of my favorite travel brands because it’s durable and works well for any travel situation. And each suitcase comes with a lifetime warranty, so you never have to worry about needing to find a replacement. 

ladies travel essentials - luggage sets | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List
ladies travel essentials - luggage sets | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Luggage Sets

This luggage set from Amazon is a newer addition to my collection and has become one of my favorite travel brands because it has been an incredible investment. Not only was the price tag on this set affordable, but I love how I now have a set of bags in a variety of sizes for any type of travel situation. And they all MATCH?? I was sold. 

There are a few different luggage sets available but I went with this one that includes 6 pieces for about $200. Which is amazing considering I spent the same amount on just my 1 Away bag. 

Given the price I was a bit weary of the quality of these suitcases and wondered if they would hold up. I must say, I have been really impressed with how durable these bags are and so far I have had zero issues with any piece from the set. (If that changes, I’ll update this post. Lol.)

I love that the duffle bags and backpacks in these sets also include a sleeve that attaches to the suitcase handle, so you don’t have to carry anything on your shoulders through the airport. 

These luggage sets check all the boxes for me and are the best value I’ve seen for the price tag. 

Weekender Bags & Day Bags

These are bags that are big enough to carry enough things for a quick business trip or weekend getaway, without you needing to pack an entire suitcase.

The weekender bags and day bags I currently use came in the same luggage sets I previously mentioned. However, these can also be purchased individually if you are not looking for a completely new set. I have both a duffle bag and a travel backpack that I use interchangeably, depending on the travel situation. I won’t go on a single trip without one.

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ladies travel bags - sling bag | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Sling Bag

These crossbody bags are essential for traveling as a woman – They’re perfect for a stroll around the city or for grabbing a bite to eat, when you don’t need to carry too many things with you. 

ladies travel camera bags | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Camera Bag

Depending on what I’m doing, I will take a bigger bag to carry my camera gear in. This is the camera bag I bring with me for hiking and day trips, when I want to ensure my camera gear will be safe while out on adventures. It has adjustable compartments inside that you can change to fit your camera to your liking so it’s nice and snug.

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Packing Cubes

Compression Packing Cubes | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Compression Cubes

One of the biggest women’s travel essentials is compression cubes. Compression cubes are such a game changer when it comes to packing, especially if you are working with minimal space in your luggage. These help give you extra space so you can fit more into your bags, while keeping all your clothes organized and easy to find. These are the ones I use and they have held up really well.

**Extra travel tip: Roll your clothes inside the compression cubes for extra space!

Storage and Organization

Travel Laundry Bag | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Travel Laundry Bag

A travel laundry bag is essential for women for keeping your dirty clothes separate and your clean clothes fresh while you’re on vacation. The Away Bag I have came with its own laundry bag, which was really nice – so that is the one I use. But there are other options out there like this one that work just as well. 

Travel Jewelry Organizer

One of my favorite go-to women’s travel essentials. An organizer for your jewelry like this one keeps all your necklaces from tangling up in your luggage. 

Tech Organizer | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Tech Organizer

I don’t know about you, but tangled charging cables drive me bonkers. Getting yourself a tech organizer like this one makes packing away all your cords and cables a breeze, and keeps them all in one place for safekeeping.

TSA Approved Toiletry Bag | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Toiletry Bag

A good TSA approved travel toiletry bag like this one is essential for women for keeping all your products together. This is the one I use and pack with me in my carry-on luggage. It’s the perfect size and it has a clear window so you don’t have to take anything out during the security checks at the airport.

Reusable Travel Pouches | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List
Travel Toiletry Containers | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Reusable Travel Pouches & Toiletry Containers

These reusable travel containers are perfect for packing things like shampoo and body lotion that you can’t leave home without. I like these ones because they are made of silicone so you can squeeze every last drop of product out of them, and since they’re squishy you will get a little extra space in your toiletry bag. 

Travel Makeup Bag | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Travel Makeup Bag

I actually just keep all my makeup in the same bag at home and throw this into my luggage anytime I’m taking a trip! This one is pretty and durable which makes it great for keeping everything in both for any travel situation and at home. 

Beauty and Wellness Travel Essentials for Women


Makeup Primer and Sunscreen SPF | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Makeup Primer / SPF

I love this sunscreen from SuperGoop because it’s the perfect 2-in-1 for travel – which means one less thing to pack! I use this as a primer and a sunscreen in one step, and it doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily or residue-y like other sunscreens. It also has SPF 40, which we love. I will also reapply it during my longer travel days for an extra layer of protection. 

Makeup & Beauty Products

I tend to keep my makeup and beauty products to a minimum while I’m traveling, especially if I’m going to warmer or tropical destinations. But these below are some of my favorite products I pack on all my trips, and continue to use back at home: 

Tinted Sunscreen

Any travel situation calls for SPF. I will often opt to use a tinted sunscreen as opposed to a regular foundation when I’m traveling, or for a beach vacation. This tinted mineral sunscreen has SPF 30, and is reef safe for those tropical destinations.

Hair Essentials

Admittedly, my hair care routine is pretty minimal since my hair type is really low-maintenance – so this makes this part of my packing list a bit easier. But I understand that this isn’t the case for everyone. 

I will typically let my hair air dry and un-styled while traveling. However, for the trips where I am trying to look a bit more put-together (such as for weddings, or business trips), then I will bring these travel-friendly hair products along:

Travel Hair Straightener | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Travel Hair Straightener

This hair straightener is the perfect size for any suitcase and works really well for how compact it is. For drying my hair, I will typically skip packing a hair dryer and rely on the ones usually provided at hotels and accommodations.

Dry Shampoo | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Dry Shampoo

This product is a must for me even when I am back at home. For the days you aren’t washing your hair, be sure to pack a travel-sized dry shampoo from your favorite brand. The one I use the most is this travel sized Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo for Light Tones.

Hygiene Essentials

Diva cup | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Menstrual Cup

Naturally, packing the right products for that time of the month is one of the biggest travel essentials for women. I made the switch from tampons to a menstrual cup years ago and it has become one of my favorite travel essentials. Not only are they better for you, but they’re easier to pack and save you money on continuously buying tampons.

They also just hold more than a tampon does, so I only have to change it out once a day in the shower – and not have to worry about bringing extra tampons with me everywhere! It’s truly been a lifesaver and makes traveling while on the dot a lot easier.

Wellness Essentials

Apple Cider Vinegar capsules

When I’m at home, I often drink some apple cider vinegar diluted in water in the mornings to help with regulating glucose spikes. But while I’m traveling, I don’t want to lug around a bottle of ACV with me, so I pack a capsule version of this instead.


Probiotics are good idea for women to keep your gut happy and help with your energy levels while you’re traveling – especially if you are trying new foods. I take one of these every morning on my trips to keep me feeling regulated and balanced while away from home.

Travel Clothing Essentials for Women

Packable Clothing - Free People Packable Pippa Puffer Jacket | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Packable Clothing

Some of my most favorite pieces of clothing to take with me on my travels are packable and versatile. Free People is one of my favorite travel brands for this reason, because they carry a lot of packable clothes that are super cute and will save you a ton of space in your luggage. Especially for when you are packing for colder destinations and need bulkier items such as jackets and boots.

Some of my travel sized favorites are:

My Favorite Travel Hat | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List
Clothes and Hat | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List
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My Go-To Hat

If you follow me over on Instagram, or have read any of my other blog posts, then you have likely already seen this hat. It ends up in a lot of my photos, lol – But for good reason!

Of all the hats I have bought over the years, this one is still my all-time favorite. I have it in a few different colors and don’t worry too much about getting them dirty or folding in my bag because they’re super affordable.

Sunglasses | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List


Sunglasses are an essential travel item regardless of where your destination is. I like to pack a few pairs of cheap sunglasses for my trips – Because I tend to lose or break them and wouldn’t want to ruin one of my nicer pairs. 

This brand from Amazon has a lot of options that are super affordable and still look cute.

Women’s Shoes Essential for Travel

Comfortable travel shoes are definitely essential no matter where your destination is. I try to limit myself to about 3 pairs of shoes for any single trip. Here are a few different types of shoes to include in your packing list:

Comfortable Pair of Walking Shoes

A pair of comfortable travel shoes on your trip is essential for walking around and exploring your destination! These wool runners from Allbirds are highly rated for their comfort and durability – and the grey color option goes with everything. 

Flip Flops / Waterproof Shoes

Waterproof shoes or flip flops are a good idea to pack if you plan on visiting places such as saunas, hot springs, or places with communal bathrooms. I like to pack my go-to flip flops, these Jesus sandals for warmer destinations, and my Teva sandals for places like hot springs – both of these are waterproof shoes.

Hiking Shoes

These will come in handy for any hiking or outdoor activities on your trip. I am actually still on the hunt for a real pair of hiking shoes that is worth recommending here, so keep an eye on this space!

In-Flight Essentials | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Travel Essentials While On-the-Go

In-Flight Travel Essentials

Black-out Silk Sleep Mask

Bringing a sleep mask with you could be a such a life saver on flights, especially for surviving those long-haul flights. This one is a black-out mask and is made of silk, so you can sleep comfy and recharge while you’re mid – flight.

Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Another sleep essential for long-haul flights. This neck pillow is made of memory foam and is super comfy. I will just attach my pillow to my backpack or carry-on luggage while traveling through the airport or between accommodations so I don’t have to carry it. 

Noise Cancelling Headphones | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise cancelling headphones are another must-have if you are trying to get some sleep mid flight. I will usually just keep these around my neck in the airport or pack them away into my carry-on or travel backpack until I’m on the flight.

Airplane Phone Stand

This is something I have only recently learned about but definitely makes it on the list of travel essentials! This phone stand can be clipped on to the seat back in front of you on your flight to display your phone without you needing to hold it. These are great for those flights that offer you movies and entertainment via your mobile device. 

Kindle Paperwhite

Any other book nerds out there? I love being able to catch up on reading mid – flight, and a Kindle is the best way to make your entire library travel sized and pack it to take with you. 

Compression Socks for flying | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Compression Socks

Compression socks are essential for traveling for women who get poor circulation to their feet mid flight, after sitting for too long. These are especially great for long-haul flights and road trips where you will be sedentary for long periods of time.

Carry-On Luggage Essentials

Passport Holder | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Passport Holder

I use this passport holder as my wallet while at the airport and on flights. It’s a great way to keep everything together while you’re in transit, and the elastic band holds my boarding passes inside as well when I opt to print them out. This one even comes with a mini pen, which has come in handy during customs.

Body Wipes

For a quick bathroom refresh during your travels. These help to keep me feeling more comfortable on those long-haul flights until you’re able to shower at your accommodation.

Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Rechargeable Travel Toothbrush

Packing a travel sized toothbrush into your carry-on is another great option when you want to freshen up, especially for those longer travel days. And its compact size doesn’t take up much space.

Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Lip Balm

My lips tend to get dry often, especially up in the air. I really like this Vaseline lip balm with cocoa butter to keep them moisturized while traveling. 

Compact Travel Mirror | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Compact Travel Mirror

This little travel sized mirror comes in handy when you want to freshen up in your seat on the plane, or wherever you may be. This handheld one folds and has LED lights included, so it comes in handy on the road when you are not near a bathroom. And its compact size makes it easy to use anywhere.

Reusable Water Bottle | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Reusable Water Bottle

Bringing a reusable water bottle with me on my travels has always ended up saving me money on drinking water. Not to mention, you will always have some with you to stay hydrated in transit.

This collapsable water bottle is travel sized and great for flights because it doesn’t take up too much room in your carry-on.

Liquid IV

Liquid IV is definitely one of my favorite essential travel items. These are a great way to stay hydrated while you’re on the road. This electrolyte drink mix comes in individual servings, and each packet contains twice the amount of hydration that you would get from drinking water alone.

Travel Safety Essentials for Women

Keychain Flashlight

This mini keychain flashlight is a great tool to have handy during your travels, and even when you are back home! This flashlight is great if you happen to experience a power outage or find yourself needing to walk somewhere at nighttime.

Portable Door Lock

These portable door locks might help you feel safer if you are a woman traveling alone and provide you with some peace of mind. These locks are universal and can be attached to any door from the inside. And can’t be unlocked from the outside, even with a key. 

Personal Alarm Keychain | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Personal Alarm Keychain

Keeping this personal alarm with you is a great alternative to pepper spray, especially since you can’t bring that onboard flights. You just pull the pin to sound a loud alarm, which will scare off any threats and alert people nearby for help.

Women’s Travel Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed

Universal Outlet Adapter

A universal outlet adapter is a must-have especially if you are traveling internationally. Wall outlets will look different in many countries so it’s important to pack one of these so you are able to keep your electronics charged and stay connected. This one even has USB ports, so you can charge multiple electronics at the same time.

Apple AirTag and AirTag Holder | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Apple AirTag & AirTag Holder

This is a travel hack I only learned recently – and it’s genius! If you plan on checking any of your bags at the airport, keep an AirTag inside of it so you can track where your bag goes after you drop it off at the check-in counter. These may provide some piece of mind if you worry about your luggage getting lost.

These AirTag holders are also great to keep on any other items you may bring with you that you want to keep track of, such as your wallet or day bag.

Medication Tracker Stickers

These medication tracker stickers are such a way to keep track of your prescriptions while you are traveling. It’s not easy to maintain your day-to-day routines during your travels as you would back home, so these stickers may help you remember to take any medications you may have and keep track of what you have taken. 

Travel Steamer | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List

Travel Steamer

This travel steamer is great item to pack to keep you from wearing nothing but wrinkly clothing during your travels. These are especially great when you are traveling for work, or for a wedding and have packed some of your nicer clothes with you, and takes up minimal space in your luggage. 

Other Miscellaneous Travel Essentials for Women


If you are currently taking any kinds of medications or supplements, be sure to pack enough to last you throughout the entire duration of your trip (and then a bit extra just in case).

With any prescriptions for controlled substances, make sure to ask your prescribing doctor for documentation that the medicine belongs to you, and check with the destination you are traveling to regarding their laws on the medication. (Certain medications are illegal in some countries, even if they were prescribed to you legally in your home country.) In any case, it is best to check with your doctor regarding your prescriptions before going on any trip. 

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is definitely an essential for any kind of trip. World Nomads is the most popular travel insurance provider and is what I use for my own travels.

Travel Credit Cards

If you have any travel credit cards open, it is essential bring them with you on vacation! Many of these rewards cards offer 2x the amount of points when you use them towards things such as hotels, dining at restaurants, and airfare. 

Many travel credit cards also offer no foreign transaction fees while traveling internationally, and may even provide you with free airport lounge access with the right airlines. 

There are a variety of these travel rewards cards out there, but the gold standard is the Chase Sapphire Preferred – and is what I use the most often to rack up those rewards points the fastest. 

Physical Copies of Passport & Other Important Documents

Of course, you will need to bring your actual passport and payment cards with you on your travels. But what I also do is make photo copies of these and other important travel documents, just to have as a back-up plan. Fortunately, I have never actually had to use these – but in the event that your real documents get lost or stolen while you’re away from home, you will be glad you brought a photo copy with you if you need to show some proof of identity.

What else is on your list of travel essentials for women – Did I miss anything? Share with me in the comments below!

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Pinterest Blog Pin | Travel Essentials for Women: Must-Haves for Any Packing List
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The Gal Behind the Blog

Hi I’m Rylie – Welcome to my corner of the internet!

I’m a solo traveler & photographer turned full-time corporate travel agent – born and raised in Southern California but now based in Colorado.


I love everything!! Your neutral color palate is so chic. You had me at Away Bag. My Away Bag has gone everywhere with me and I adore it. So I know the rest of your items listed must be amazing as well. Thanks so much for the recs.

Hi Jenn,

I agree – The Away Bag is awesome. 🙂 So happy to hear you found this helpful. Thanks for stopping by!