Whether it’s a business trip, special event, or vacation away from a busy life, traveling for a trip can seem like a daunting ordeal of checklists and what-ifs. Thankfully, travelers, especially women, can manage these scenarios with planning and preparation ahead of time.
Why make a packing list at all?
Writing out a packing list can save you from a lot of stress. It also serves as an efficient time and energy saver, giving you the peace of mind of being prepared. This is especially beneficial for travelers prone to procrastination or forgetfulness because scrambling to pack items or losing them last minute can cause unnecessary complications such as missing a flight or buying replacements. In addition to the practicality of a packing list, our article on women’s travel essentials lists 37 must-haves for your adventures.
Take a look at your carry on
To ensure you can easily travel with your belongings, consider your carry-on’s dimensions and storage methods before filling it. This will help you assess what and how you should pack; clothing can be stored in the main compartment, while smaller belongings, such as toiletries, can be kept in smaller zip-up enclosures. You also may only consider some essentials you’ll need for your trip; in this case, it helps to take a visual of your belongings within your house so you’ll see and remember what to bring.
Finally, it never hurts to carry extra essentials, such as chargers, deodorant, feminine products, etc., in one of our top-rated travel purses in case they get lost or you run out earlier than expected.
Consider your destination’s conditions (weather, accommodations facilities, etc)
On the other hand, while it’s wise to pack a bit extra, you should always stay manageable with your carry-on; a packing list that’s too long may cause difficulty finding your belongings. In addition, knowing your destination beforehand will help you decide which items are most appropriate to pack, given the circumstances.
For example, if you are traveling to a beach-town getaway in the summer, only packing thin, light clothing will keep you cool and save storage space in your carry-on. If you stay at a hotel, another way to maximize your carry-on space is to book a hotel that offers free-onsite laundry, so you can cycle through your clothing as needed.
If you are traveling somewhere that gets cool at night, consider wearing clothing with insulated material, such as down, wool, polyester fleece, or polyester fiberfill. To save storage space in your carry-on, you may also wear your day shirts to function as sleepwear at bedtime.
- Shorts or pants, 2 to 3 pairs
- Shirts or blouses, 3 to 4 pairs
- Light sweatshirt or jacket
- Sleep outfits/pajamas, 1 to 2 pairs
- Set of formal wear (if you attend special events, business meetings, etc.) If you’re going for business purposes, here’s our business trip packing list for women.
- Swimwear, 2-3 sets (if you plan to visit beaches and pools)
- Cover-ups (if you plan to visit beaches and pools)
If you plan to take a few dresses, check out our article about packing dresses: to roll or to fold.
Packing appropriate footwear is essential based on your trip’s planned activities, but only take what you need. For example, consider wearing your walking shoes to and from your destination since they take up significant space in a carry-on.
- Comfortable walking shoes,
- Sandals or flats
- Dress shoes (Four outings, special events, etc.)
- Cycling shoes
- Hiking boots
- Water-repellent footwear
- Foot insoles (such as Dr. Scholls)
You should bring a set of undergarments for each day on your trip and adjust the types you get based on your planned activities. For instance, consider packing sports bras rather than underwire bras if you are hiking. Also, if you have booked an accommodation that offers complimentary laundry service, you can bring fewer pairs and cycle through as needed. This will also help save carry-on space.
- Undershirts or bras, 4 to 5 pairs
- Underwear, 4 to 5 pairs
- Socks, 4 to 5 pairs
- Back-free bras (for dresses, summer apparel, etc.)
- Tights or hosiery (formal wear)
These items are easy to pack in travel-sized containers. They are typically sold at drugstores or grocery stores. You may also purchase refillable travel-sized bottles if preferred.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Styling products (mousse, hair spray, gel, etc.)
- Facial cream
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Lip balm
- Razor and shaving cream
- Feminine hygiene products
- Contact lens solution with case
- Hand sanitizer
It is always wise to have sufficient protection from the elements, especially when most of your traveling is spending time outdoors. You can enjoy a rugged mountain hike or a relaxing nap on sun-kissed beach sands in peace of mind with simple preparation.
- Wide-brim sun hat
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Bug repellent
- Moisturing lotion
Carefully consider which electronic devices you’ll need to bring on your trip. Opt for ones that are compact or travel-friendly. In addition, consider any destinations on your journey that may provide access to certain electronics to save carry-on space.
- Cell phone charger
- Electronic reader
- Voltage adapter
- Music player (MP3, iPod, etc)
Check out our dedicated list of travel accessories for more great ideas.
It’s essential to refill prescription medications or pack necessary medical supplies before your trip; one easy method of storing and keeping track of medications is by putting them in a pill planner. It’s also advisable to bring a medication list with you in case of a medical emergency. Also, consider getting travel-sized, over-the-counter medications as well.
- First aid kit (band-aids, skin ointment, sterile gloves, etc.)
- Pain relievers (Aleve, Motrin, Tylenol)
- Sleep aids (Doxylamine, Melatonin, ZzzQuil)
- Mild laxatives (Ex-Lax, Miralax, Dulcolax)
- Sinus decongestants (Sudafed, Vicks Sinex, Mucinex)
- Cough relief (Robitussin, Delsym, Ricola cough drops)
- Antihistamines (Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claratin)
- Antacids (Alka-Seltzer, Pepcid, Tums)
- Irritable bowel relief (Pepto Bismol, Immodium, Kaopectate)
- Photo Identification Card or Driver’s license
- Emergency documentation (Proof of health insurance, emergency contacts, list of allergens
- Confirmation documentation (For hotels, public transportation, rental car orders, and event tickets)
- Boarding passes (either paper or digital)
- Passport or Visa
- Credit/debit cards
Traveling for longer? Check out our recommended packlist for a long term trip.
Giving yourself a week before your trip date to pack will suffice. This will provide you with plenty of time to take proper inventory of what you have and allow you time to purchase last-minute essentials or downsize more oversized products, such as bulk toiletries, into smaller, travel-sized compartments.
When you have more time to prepare, you can set fun goals such as staying stylish while traveling with just one carry on.
Depending on whether you are traveling alone or with other people, $50-$100 per person should provide enough coverage for day-to-day expenses. However, it’s best to research the destination you are traveling to and the locations you plan to visit for a more concrete idea of how you’ll need to prepare financially. Formulating a budget plan, such as the 50/30/20 rule, will help you manage your finances while traveling.
The 50/30/20 rule is a budget-calculating formula that helps you categorize your income. This idea is based on the following: personal needs compromise 50% of your budget, wants compromise of 30% of your budget, while savings (such as for emergencies) comprise 20% of your budget.
- Inform your bank or credit card company to ensure your debit/credit card is properly working and has sufficient funds.
- Contact your cell phone company about an affordable international text, talk, and data policies if traveling abroad.
- If your home has a security system, notify the company of your departure. You can opt for upgrades or additional features of your protection coverage. Alternatively, you may have a family member, friend, or neighbor house sit, especially if you have pets or children who are staying behind.
- Double-check that all your reservations are good to go. This can include hotel stays, special events, restaurants, or flight or rental car reservations.
- Pay off all bills in advance. This will help ensure these services continue to operate smoothly without paying any fees for late payments or having benefits reinstated.
Now that you know what to pack, secure good deals for your accommodation by checking out our tips here: 16 ways to get the best deals when booking a hotel room.