I’m going to start by saying that I’m not an over-packer. I travel the world full time with a carry-on bag and a small backpack… oh and my husband! 😜 and after 2 years of doing this, I’ve learned that there are things I absolutely cannot live without because they make my life on the road a lot easier. So, whether you’re getting ready to start jet-setting across the globe or exploring hidden gems closer to home, you’re about to revolutionize your packing game! I’m going to share all my secrets as a minimalist packer, as well as my top 15 travel essentials for women. No BS!
Ready to Learn About My Top Travel Essentials For Women? Let’s Dive In!
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First: Let’s Talk About Minimalist Packing!
Less is always more. Once you learn to have a minimalist approach when it comes to traveling, you will not only save time and stress, but you will also free up valuable head space. Yes, you read that right!
The less things you have, the less you will worry about what to wear and the more free space you’ll have in your mind. This can help you be more creative and save you time to read, relax or to think about things you actually care about. The less meaningless decisions you have to make every single day, the better.
Today, I’m going to teach you how to become a minimalist packer and help you think about the essential travel pieces you actually need. NO BS! Are you ready?
Basic Things To Consider When Packing Your Suitcase:
- Obvious one, but where are you going? Check the weather a week in advance. There could be rain, or a cold front, or a heat wave, or it could be sunny and 70 degrees… all of this matters when deciding what to bring with you.
- What type of activities will you be doing? Beach, hikes, museums, party, etc.
- Is it a fancy or a casual trip?
- How long is the trip? My current packing set-up allows me to create outfits for at least 15 days before I have to do laundry (although we do end up doing laundry every week).
- Is there a washer at your Airbnb? Does your hotel have 24-hour laundry service? This is especially important if you like to pack white t-shirts like me :)
- Do you sweat a lot? Weird question I know, but this helps you think about how many times you can realistically wear something before you have to wash it. This is different for everyone.
- How many times a day do you usually change while on vacation? Try to picture how your days will look like and what seems realistic. You will most likely wear only one outfit per day. For this one is very important that you picture how your days will look like, and where your accommodation is located. For example, we were in Rome this past summer and our hotel was very far from the center, so we just committed to spend the day in the center until after dinner. Hence, I only needed one outfit per day ;)
- Have you checked how walkable your destination is? Because if you’re going to Western Europe, it is very unlikely you will be wearing heels or flat sandals with slippery soles. You know the ones I’m talking about… forget about those if where you’re going is hilly and with cobblestone streets.
How To Pick The Right Pieces To Pack?
Ok, so this blog post is not about a detailed packing list, but about the best travel essentials for women, but I think if you’re here, you probably need some guidance on which pieces to pack. Here’s my advice:
- Quality over quantity. This will help you look more polished, even if you wear the same thing 2 or 3 times.
- Go back to basics! T-shirts, a little black dress, white sneakers, comfortable pants, a plain midi skirt… these days all of these basic pieces can look very chic if you style them correctly. Solids and neutrals are your best friends! These are some of my favorite outfits with my most styled basic pieces:
- Versatility is key! Button down shirts can be styled open, tied around your waist, thrown over a dress, as a beach/pool cover-up and they make GREAT layering pieces if the temperature drops.
- The right accessories can elevate any look. Don’t underestimate the power of these! More on that below.
- Lay every single thing you want to bring with you on your bed. This way you can really visualize the quantity of items and easily see if the colors/prints you want to bring work well with each other (don’t underestimate this step).
Resist the temptation to overpack “just in case.” Stick to the mindset of embracing simplicity and trust that you’ll have everything you need within reach throughout your trip. I understand traveling can be stressful and that you’re just making sure that all of your needs will be covered. But I can tell you from personal experience that you will be able to find everything you need. And you will be amazed at how much your concept of “need” evolves over time. I promise, you don’t need as much as you think.
What NOT To Pack!
This is only based on my own experience. Please remember that I’m a full time digital nomad, so even though I travel full time, I am for sure not on vacation mode:
- Books… BIG TIME NO. Bring a kindle instead.
- Neck Pillow. Controversial I know… but you really don’t need one. Airlines have pillows. You can always use a sweater or pashmina to take a quick nap on a bus/train.
- Beach Towel. We used to travel with one of these, and even though it was awesome, it wasn’t worth it because we only used it a handful of times and it took a lot of precious space out of our carry-on bags. Also, check if your Airbnb/hotel has beach towels. They usually do.
- Umbrella. Accommodations usually have complimentary ones, and if they don’t you can ask for one.
- Anything that you will only wear once. I mean, unless you are going somewhere for less than 7 days, try to pick pieces you can wear multiple times and style in many different ways… which leads me to… 👇🏼
15 Travel Essentials for Women!
Here you have them all, but they’re organized by clothing, accessories and miscellaneous below. Make sure to read my advice for each as well ;) I promise I have a valid reason for all of these.
- A white linen shirt
- A top/bottom set
- Comfortable/Stylish Joggers
- Waterproof Birkenstocks
- White Sneakers
- Statement Earrings
- Neck Scarf
- Crossbody Bag
- Compression Packing Cubes
- Menstrual Cup
- Comfortable Pajamas
- Foldable Tote Bag
- Face Towel
5 Travel Essentials For Women (Clothing)
It was so difficult to pick just 5 things, but if I list them all, then this post becomes useless. These are the things I pack on repeat. I always have some kind of version of these, and my suitcase would simply not be complete without these 5 (maybe 7?) pieces, no matter the season (except for winter, we don’t like cold weather):
- A white linen shirt: (feel free to also replace with a chambray shirt) A very underestimated piece, but you can seriously wear it in so many different ways! (Read this post for more ideas)
- A top/bottom set: These are great because you can wear them together and make them look like a dress or a jumpsuit. You can also wear them separately to create even more looks! My go-to set is a top and a midi skirt. (Browse this site for cute sets!) – Side note here: I used to think either a jumpsuit or a maxi dress were better choices, but no. Sets are way better! You can style them in more ways and they take less space. (I just learned this, and are heading to Italy with this exact set, so make sure to follow me here if you want to see how else I style this top & bottom set!)
- Comfortable/Stylish Joggers: Forget about jeans and pants! A good pair of joggers are a game changer. These are great for hikes, travel days and you can even dress them up with cute espadrilles or sandals. (These are the ones I love the most. But honestly you can’t go wrong with this brand!)
- Birkenstocks: I have 2 pairs and I always travel with one OR the other. (I use these ones the most, but this style is also very versatile and nice for easy hikes!)
- White Sneakers: I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t have a pair of white sneakers and now that I travel full time with only 3 pairs of shoes at a time, I understand why. These are the ones I have, just keep in mind that they are often sold out, so if they’re available just snag them! (I recommend you pre-order them if you have no rush though). AND they also have a Canva version which are the ones that my husband has, and I also have had these ones for many years. So there you have 3 great options. This is something you will buy only once every 3-5 years! (FYI: no matter which ones you choose, you can wash all of them by hand)
You Will Also Like These Articles:
- My 7-Piece Capsule Wardrobe Checklist (for more outfit ideas and ways to style these basic pieces!)
- What To Pack For A Beach Vacation (Free Packing List Included)
- How To Wear White Sneakers All Year Round!
5 Travel Essentials For Women (Accessories)
When it comes to traveling, having the right accessories can make all the difference. I like to choose a couple of statement pieces like a neck scarf, headband or jewelry which can transform any of my outfits instantly! And because I always pack neutrals, it’s hard to go wrong with which accessories I bring with me.
Accessories take up little room and add plenty of variety to your travel wardrobe, so have fun picking these (this is where I keep all my accessories while on the road). Think about bold, colorful pieces to really take your outfits to the next level! Here are my top 5 accessories for women:
- Pashmina: a versatile travel scarf is essential. Not only does it add a fashionable touch to any outfit, but it can also double as a blanket or pillow during long flights or bus rides. Look for one made from lightweight material so it takes less space. With a pashmina, you can add an extra layer to any look, you can use it as a picnic blanket, beach cover-up AND to cover your head or shoulders when visiting religious sites. (Here’s a great budget option – And here’s a dressier one)
- Statement Earrings: Have fun with these! Choose tassel earrings with bold or multiple colors. I also always have with me these pearl earrings and I wear them a lot, so they were a good investment. Because earrings don’t take a lot of room, I usually travel with 4-5 pairs :) (option 1 $29 – option 2 $29 – option 3 $58 – option 4 $48 – option 5 $30)
- Headbands: I love a good headband! And if you’ve ever watched any of our travel videos on Youtube, you know that I wear them often. These are my top 3 websites to shop for headbands that don’t give me a headache lol – I recommend packing 2-3 and mix and match between printed/coloful and neutrals. (option 1 – option 2 – option 3)
- Neck Scarf: Little did I know all the different ways I could use a neck scarf. You can tie them to your bag, wear them around your neck or even to dress up a pony tail. Have fun with this piece and choose a couple of fun prints! This is one of my favorite travel essentials for women!
- Crossbody Bag: Also something I didn’t know I needed, but have you ever tried to take anything out of a backpack? It’s annoying AF! I love carrying a small crossbody bag with me, and my main criteria is that it fits my sunnies, cellphone and travel wallet. (here you can browse some cute crossbody bag options for every budget)
Note: Picking the right accessories can vary depending on your personal style. Feel free to swap earrings for rings or necklaces. Just don’t go too crazy or you’ll need a bigger suitcase.
5 Travel Essentials For Women (Miscellaneous)
- Compression Packing Cubes: I think packing cubes are specially useful for girls. My husband hates them, but for a guy who only packs shorts and t-shirts, I see his point. I love them because I can keep my bag organized by category, I can easily find things as I need them, they’re easy to unpack and it helps me with space management. For example I have one packing cube for my tops and whatever fits in there, is what goes on my trip and so on. (These are my go-to! The brand was created by fellow full time travelers, so it was a no-brainer for us to support them!)
- Menstrual Cup: Ideally you won’t have to travel when having your period, but if you’re in it for the long term like I am, there’s no escaping this one. Full disclosure, I don’t always wear mine. I’m still figuring out which one is the right fit (literally) and I’ve had accidents lol – but I’ll get there. I still think these are a must because they save space and the planet! My advice is that you don’t try a menstrual cup for the first time during your trip, test it in advance and make sure it works for you!
- Comfortable Pajamas: This might be crazy, but nothing beats going to bed with good silk pajamas. I travel with 2 of these and a silk robe lol (I might leave the robe behind for my next 6 months of travel, but I will miss it dearly!). To save space, I travel only with short sleeve and short styled PJs. (This is my go-to website for cute and comfy PJs)
- Foldable Tote Bag: Having an extra bag that folds up small but expands when needed is incredibly useful. We use ours on travel days to carry random food items from one Airbnb to another, on day trips, for shopping at local markets and for beach days. Basically, whenever we don’t have baggage restrictions (aka bus and train travel), we throw anything in there last minute! Don’t overspend on this one because if you use it like we do, it will get dirty. Make sure it’s washable too!
- Face Towel: I cannot dry my face with Airbnb/hotels towels… who knows where those have been. Seriously, who knows!? That’s why I always travel with this cute face towel :)
PS: if you use a curling iron, this can be considered an essential too. This one is great for traveling because it collapses! I’ve had it for 2 years now and use it at least twice a week! Also, don’t forget your adapter to plug your electronics (different countries use different plugs). This is the one we’ve had since we left to travel full time.
Did You Know?
Let’s talk about Makeup! – These Are My Best Makeup Packing Tips!
No post about ‘Best Travel Essentials For Women’ would be complete without talking about makeup.
I actually use very little makeup, but it hasn’t always been that way. Let me explain.
I’ve made my fair share of mistakes here. I used to travel with a giant bag full of products. Turns out I really don’t need much. Despite making travel videos for a living, I’ve learned to let go of the need to look perfect, so I don’t use a lot of make up anymore!
Less is more applies here as well, and I’ve learned that the best thing to do here is to have products that are versatile. You know, those 2 in 1 kind of products?
My advice is to try to downsize as much as possible at home. Try the setup you want to bring for your travels for one week and see if it works out. Spoiler alert, it will!
This Is My Current Make Up Bag Set Up:
Turns out, I only use 5 things! Plus, 3 makeup tools including my makeup bag.
- Foundation: I love this brand so much! They are experts at matching your color online! I always order my foundation while in the US. My foundation is my biggest make up item and that’s why I pack it in my toiletry bag.
- Concealer: I don’t really have a preference. I buy what I can find and it depends on where I am when I run out. This is the one I have right now and I like it.
- Blush: This is the brand I’ve been using for years and I order it when I’m back in the US whenever I need it. I try to plan ahead when I’m about to run out. I like it because it’s small and you have to use very little product, so it lasts me for well over a year!
- Mascara: I’m also not loyal to any brands here… I buy what I can find, whenever I need it. This is the one I have right now.
- Eye/Brow Liner: Same as above. Bought this one last time I was in the US and I’ve had it for 2 years lol – it’ll be good for 2 more years. I only use it for my eyebrows.
- Makeup Sponge: I use this sponge to apply my foundation. It usually lasts me 6 months and I wash it with water and soap once a month or so while on the road.
- Makeup Brush: This is the brand I’ve been using for many years! I only bring one make up brush for my blush. That’s it!
- Makeup Bag: Just a small makeup bag that came with my brush set. (here’s a small one in case you need one)
General Advice When Choosing What Makeup Products To Pack:
- If you use more products than I do, focus on multi-purpose products to save space and reduce clutter. For example: A Foundation with SPF protection – A tinted moisturizer that combines hydration and coverage – A lipstick that doubles up as a blush – An eyeshadow palette with versatile shades VS carrying individual pots. You get the point. There are a lot of multi-purpose products out there!
- Buy travel sized products! It will save you so much space. And you will be amazed at how much things actually last! If you generally don’t wear a lot of makeup, I suggest you to try travel sized products for your every day life too. This way you won’t be using expired products. That’s not great for your skin.
- Remember that if you run out of something, you will be able to buy a replacement, and honestly it can be a fun travel experience too.
- As a general piece of advice, grab a very small makeup bag and bring only what fits in there. As mentioned earlier, try and test your ideal makeup travel routine one week before your trip to make sure it works for you.
I’ve also realized that having a solid beauty routine while traveling, helps my skin look so much better, hence I need less makeup. That being said, this is how my beauty routine looks like right now:
- Face Wash (once a day – at night)
- Exfoliant (only once a week)
- Serum (morning OR night)
- Vitamin C Day Moisturizer (every morning)
- Night Moisturizer (every night)
- Eye Cream (every morning AND night)
- Face Sunscreen (every morning)
I’m not 100% loyal to brands because I buy what I can find wherever I am, but I always have access to good products. These are my top 5 beauty brands. I like to browse these websites to try new products whenever I’m in the US (this was hard, because I love so many!):
- Origins – High quality natural products that won’t break the bank!
- Skinceuticals – definitely a splurge, but their products are the best I’ve ever used. Can’t wait to afford them again! 😂
- Beauty Counter – Natural products with safe ingredients. I’ve never tried any products from them I haven’t liked.
- TULA Skincare – Excellent skincare products powered by probiotic extracts & superfoods. Can’t say enough good things about them!
- TATCHA – Great Japanese brand, actually, they’re AMAZING!
I could go on and on… but there you have it. Top 5.
*if you’re shopping for any product from any of these brands, enter your email as you first visit their website to get between 10-15% discounts – also, if you know you won’t be checking in your carry-on bag, remember to buy travel sized products!*
Save This Post For Later & Have This List Of Travel Essentials For Women Handy – Pin It!
What’s Inside My Toiletry Bag? Toiletry Bag Essentials For Women:
Toiletries are another important consideration when packing for any trip. Opting for travel-sized versions of your favorite products will save space and weight in your bag. Additionally, investing in some reusable bottles can help ensure you have all your necessities without exceeding liquid restrictions.
This Is My Current Toiletry Bag Set Up:
All the beauty products mentioned above, plus:
- A bar soap.
- Body moisturizer with collagen in a travel bottle for toiletries.
- Hydrating shampoo in a travel bottle for toiletries.
- Travel size hairbrush
- Mani/pedi travel kit (without the case)
- 2 nail polishes (I alternate the colors every 6 months)
- 1 top/base coat (2×1)
- Natural deodorant
- A razor
Notice: I don’t pack conditioner. Just an ultra hydrating hair mask that I use maybe once a month (it’s expensive but it’s a miracle worker and I only buy it once a year). These containers are super cool because you can fill them with any beauty product you already have. This way you don’t have to buy anything new or travel size if you already have what you need :) – Also, my toothbrush/toothpaste goes in my husband’s toiletry bag.
Again, you don’t need as much as you think. And this is coming from someone that already feels has a lot of stuff! I really feel like I have everything I could possibly need. I still take care of my skin/hair because that’s important to me, but I don’t over do it.
PS: my toiletry bag came with my compressible packing cubes! I don’t think it comes with every set of packing cubes any more, so make sure to double check first! If not, here’s a cute toiletry bag from Amazon. I recommend a clear one so you know exactly what’s inside.
Final Thoughts About Travel Essentials For Women:
I didn’t want use the word ‘essential’ loosely, that’s why I kept this article simple.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make this post useful, so I hope you leave this random page you found on the internet with some direction and new ideas about things you’ll actually need while on vacation.
Remember, these are just some suggestions based on personal experience – every woman’s travel needs may vary depending on her destination and preferences! The most important thing is packing light with only the essentials. This way you’ll have more freedom to explore and enjoy new experiences while keeping your stress levels low! It does make a difference to pack light. I can tell you from my own experience.
If you feel like I left anything out, please leave your questions in the comments and if you have any suggestions about what you want to see next in here, I’m all ears! Leave them in the comments too.
Thanks so much for being here and safe travels wherever you’re heading next :)
Not Ready To Leave Yet? Read These Travel Related Posts Next:
- Comfy Airport Outfits (What To Wear To The Airport & What NOT To Wear)
- How To Create a Capsule Wardrobe For Traveling (European Summer Edition)
- Outfit Ideas For Traveling (With 5 Outfit Formulas So You Can Maximize Every Piece!)
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