Leaving your house for ten days with nothing but the few items that can fit in your carry-on is an exciting and daunting idea. Everybody knows that a woman’s packing list can be never-ending and fitting in all of your ‘necessities’ can be a tough task. Fortunately, by planning and committing to only taking the essentials, you can avoid both over and under-packing.
Things to Consider Before Packing
The weather forecast
It is important to know what the weather will be like if you are going to be away from home because you won’t be able to run to your closet and grab what you need. If the forecast predicts snow, you need to be prepared with a carry-on filled with sweaters, mittens, and fuzzy socks. If you’re visiting a rainy area, you should pack an umbrella and rubber boots. On the other hand, if it’s going to be sunny every day, you don’t want to be stuck with jackets and sweatpants.
The reason for your trip
Considering this factor is a very important part of the planning process. You need to pack according to the reason for your trip because there’s a big difference in attire for business meetings and casual beachwear. For example, if you will be traveling for a funeral, you need to remember to include the formal black outfit that you will be wearing on the day.
Where your trip will be
Assuming that the weather will be close to perfect, you still need to consider your final destination for other reasons. If you are traveling to another state or country, you need to pack according to the culture, religion, and beliefs of the people that live there. For example, wearing clothes that only cover the bare minimum won’t cut it if you will be staying in a Muslim community.
The size of your carry-on
Let’s face it; you can’t fit 10 days worth of items into a bag designed for a week’s getaway. You need to consider the style, size, and dimensions of your carry-on before you start preparing and planning your list. For example, a small duffle bag won’t be able to take tons of clothes and more than 3 pairs of shoes.
If you aren’t too worried about the space in your carry-on, take a look at our list of travel essentials for women for some extra items that you may need.
Needless to say, clothes are the most important item on any packing list (unless you’ll be visiting a nudist community). Plan your outfits carefully to ensure that you don’t leave anything behind, and consider all factors, like the weather and destination, when choosing the items that you’ll be taking.
- Pants (shorts, denim, trousers), 5 to 6 pairs
- Shirts (t-shirts, blouses, tops), 5 to 6 pairs
- Light jacket, sweater, or coat
- Sleepwear (nightgown, pajamas), 3 to 4 pairs
- Dresses (formal, casual), 2 to 3 dresses. Packing dresses requires some extra care, here’s how to do it right.
- Swimwear (bikini, swimsuit, coverups)
- Formal wear (dress suit, uniform) at least 1 pair
- Gym or exercise attire. If you like to wear your gym attire on a flight, read our suggestions about wearing leggings in a flight.
You don’t want to be barefoot during your entire 10-day trip or be stuck with wearing the single pair you traveled with, right? Packing enough shoes that go with all of your outfits is crucial. It’s also important to remember all the elements and factors when packing, like the weather conditions and the activities that you’ll be taking on.
- Running shoes or sneakers
- Sandals or flip flops
- Formal or dress shoes
- Weather-resistant rubber boots
While clothes and shoes are the first things most women put on their list, it’ll be a catastrophe to forget to add undergarments for each day. Remember to carefully count the number of days and evenings that you will need a fresh pair of underwear and socks. If your chosen accommodation doesn’t offer laundry services, you’ll need to pack a pair for each day.
- Underwear (panties, lingerie, underpants), 10 pairs
- Bras or undershirts, 8 to 10 pairs
- Socks, 10 pairs
- Tights, stockings, or hosiery (if you’ll be wearing skirts or dresses)
- Sports bra (if you’ll be exercising on your trip)
- Menstrual panties (just in case…)
Most hotels offer a complimentary bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. But if we’re honest, those certainly won’t last for 10 days. So, it’s up to you to pack all of the necessities that you’ll need to keep yourself clean and well-groomed.
- Hairbrush or comb
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hair styling products
- Deodorant (roll-on, spray, perfume)
- Facial products (creams, toners, etc.)
- Body and face wash
- Shaving accessories (razor, shaving cream)
- Feminine hygiene products
- Nail accessories (nail clipper, nail polish & remover)
- Loofah or washcloth
- A pair of flip-flops to wear in the shower
- Contact solution if you wear contact lenses
Filling your carry-on with accessories that you won’t be wearing is unnecessary. However, some things just can’t be forgotten at home. You can make your own list based on what you typically use in your daily life but here are a few items that you may need:
- Makeup and makeup remover
- Jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bracelets)
- Hats and hair accessories
Check out our dedicated guide on the best travel accessories for women for more ideas.
- A travel purse to hold your cash or cards and travel documents.
There are some electronic devices that you may need at some point in your trip, even if you plan on going off the grid for a while. Consider this list carefully, because taking too many electronics to an unfamiliar area could be very risky.
- Cell phone
- Cell phone charger
- Voltage adapter
- Laptop (if you’ll be working)
- Electronic reader (for the flight or insomnia)
- Earphones, earpods, or headphones
You can use a binder or file to keep all of your documents in place so they’ll be easy to access when you need them. Try to keep this binder with you at all times because losing it would be a disastrous event and a mountain of admin.
- Identification (ID card, driver’s license)
- Transportation documents (rental car, public transportation tickets)
- Boarding passes
- Accommodation documents (booking confirmation)
- Activity documents (event tickets, bookings, receipts)
- Personal documents (health insurance, medical information, emergency contacts)
If you use chronic medications, you should bring them along because trying to find them in another city or country could be very difficult. If you choose to get your meds on your trip, remember to pack your prescription slip.
- Prescription drugs
- First aid kit
- Pain relievers
- Laxatives and loperamide
- Allergy medications and antihistamines
- Common flu medications (cough syrup, decongestants)
How can I prepare for a 10-day trip?
The first thing you should do is arrange a method of transport to get to your destination. This means that you need to book a flight, buy a train ticket, or hire a cab. Then, you need to arrange accommodation for the 10 days.
The next thing to do is make a list of what you will need to take on your trip. Once you are done with your list, you need to handle all of the steps before leaving your house for a while, like notifying your security company and arranging for someone to come and feed your pets. Plus, remember to arrange funds in the form of cash or cards for your time away.
Is it better to take cash or cards on my trip?
There is no right or wrong when it comes to cash vs. card. Some establishments are cash-only venues, while others are cash-free. Thus, you need to call the hotel before you leave to find out what they would prefer and they’ll likely have some knowledge of the rest of the businesses in the area.
However, remember that it could be unsafe to travel with cash, so it is better to take no more than what you’ll need. It’s a good idea to split your budget between your card and your purse so you are prepared either way.
How can I ensure that I take enough items?
If there’s enough space in your carry-on, it’s better to slightly overpack than completely under-pack. While traveling with a heavy bag full of t-shirts that you are probably not even going to unfold is a hassle, finding a way to wash and dry a worn t-shirt for the next day is even worse.
Take enough toiletries to last you 10 days, but allocate a part of your budget towards restocking if you happen to run out. The same goes for other items like medication, feminine hygiene products, and makeup.