So, you decided to follow your wanderlust and are going to embark on an EPIC vacation! Destination has been chosen, tickets paid for…. now your left with the age old question! What do I pack?
I seem to go through this every time I leave for a trip. Packing for a long-term trip as a woman can be challenging. We have many unique situations that we have to consider when packing. Everyone is going to have a different answer on what is a necessity. What I think is important may not be for someone else. So, always choose what you think you need. Traveling long-term can be tough sometimes, so also think of a few small comforts.
The first question to answer is: What kind of weather am I going to encounter?
If you are planning a trip to Asia, chances are you can skip on that heavy coat and jeans! The opposite is true if you are trecking Iceland.
I love Turkish Towels. They are light, thin, and dry super fast. You can use them at the beach or for a shower.
After your settled into your hostel or home stay you want some type of small day bag to stash things during small day trips. make it small, pack-able into your main travel bag, and theft/water proof.
There are hundreds of bags, they nearly all do the same job. If you follow some basic guidelines it wont matter what bag you get. Ensure you have a waist strap and breathable back. I have a 40L bag. Resist the urge to get a larger pack. The smaller your bag, the less you will pack. Trust me. You don’t want to be lugging around a 70L bag through small trains, buses, stuffing it into your hostel cubby, or traversing narrow halls. I also like having a rain fly to cover my bag if (and I have) I get stuck in a rain storm/ monsoon/typhoon. Make sure you always keep an eye on your bags, or tie it to you if you catch some ZZZZZZ’s.
Universal Power Adapter
If you want to charge your phone or laptop buy one!
These are a must for staying organized. I was able to keep clothes in one, toiletries in another, socks and undies in another, wires and cables in another. The list goes on. It is so important to be organized when traveling. You don’t want to empty out your whole bag to find that shaver or charger.
Underwear– 8 or more (Trust me)
I know this seems like a lot but better safe than sorry. Underwear take up hardly any space, and washing may be few and far between. Especially if your doing water activities where you may wear 2 in one day. Even if you have to wear clothes a few time between washing them, it is nice to have plenty of clean underwear all the time.
Socks – 3 pairs
If your going on hikes and lots of walking tours then bring 5 pairs of socks. If you are going to be on a beach most of your trip, you could scale it down.
Shirts/ tank tops 4
Bring a few shirts that are right for your climate/activities. Try to avoid cotton (unless your going to a cold area). Make sure they can be mixed and matched with your other clothes. I usually steer toward solid colors, and some dark colors.
Nice clothes – 1 pair
Bring a nice pair of clothes for any impromptu night outs. You could grab a skirt/dress that packs small and can match one of your shirts you already have packed.
I love traveling in Yoga pants. They are typically light weight, easy to pack, easy to clean. Many women also travel in lightweight cotton pants, too. The amount is really going to depend on where you are going and what you are doing. You may not need any at all.
Sturdy Shoes – tennis or hiking shoes. I usually wear mine while traveling to not add extra weight to my pack. You can pack a pair of flip flops for beach/shower use. Or you can purchase at your destination.
Some parts of the world and at most temples ask that women cover their skin. Keep this in mind and pack accordingly.
Always stay under the TSA limits of liquids. Whatever you leave behind, you can always get wherever you are going. Fortunately for you, women all over the world use basically the same items.
Bar of soap (Yes, I said bar. It travels well and you get the most use of it)
Ear Plugs / Eye mask
Shampoo/conditioner** (Consider using bar products and purchasing liquid conditioner at your destination)
Face Wash /Moisturizer **
Feminine Hygiene products ** (keep in mind some countries wont have tampons)
Headlamp/ flash light
** If space is tight consider purchasing at your destination
Anti-Diarrhea – Loperamide
Anti- Histamine – Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
Various stomach issues – Peptobismol (bismuth subsalicylate) tablets not liquid
Anti-Inflammatory / Headache – Ibuprofen
Most situations you should be able to find a doctor or visit a pharmacy. I don’t leave this to chance, it may be the nurse in me!
Totally optional given space and preference:
Coocoon Grid it to hold all your electronic gizmos and gadgets
Silkk sleeping bag liner for questionable beds 🙂
Hair Straightener (This is a basic necessity for me 🙂 )
Things you can buy abroad:
Extra conditioner- Tip: Adding some extra conditioner to your wet hair after snorkeling or diving will help get the tangles out.
Sunscreen – can be more expensive in some places. Take a small container (TSA approved) with so you are prepared in case you cant find a store immediately.
Money Pouch – I don’t prefer them, others love them. I think it is a personal preference. I find the hot and uncomfortable.
Mosquito net- unless you are camping or sleeping in open air don’t bring one. I found that if I were in a country that recommended it, it was already provided.
You can usually take advantage of laundry services in your hostel or home-stay. In other countries it may be easier to wash your own. I have seen travelers use a “Stuff Sack” that is waterproof, and a bar of laundry soap. You can kneed the bag like a wash machine. Rinse, hang to dry. You would need to add a clothes line or string.
Adjust your checklist for they type of adventure you are going to embark and think about the type of traveler you are.
Before I started traveling, I looked at tons of sites and blogs about what to pack. All of them told me not to take items like a hair straightener. Well: I went to Belize and I looked like I stuck my hand in an electric socket…in Every. Single. Picture. I spent much of the trip frustrated with how my hair looked and behaved. I know, I know; what vanity! But until you live a day in the humidity with frizzy long hair, don’t judge! I bring my straightener. It makes me feel some small comfort from home.
If you have questions on vaccines, or other health related issues this link is a great place to start!