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ULTIMATE Travel Essentials for Women 2023

ULTIMATE Travel Essentials for Women 2023

Are you looking for the ULTIMATE travel essentials for women? This women’s travel essentials list covers everything from the best luggage essentials for women, essentials women’s travel clothes as well as must have travel accessories for women.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

ULTIMATE Travel Essentials for Women

In this women’s travel essentials list we will break down our travel essentials for women into categories such as luggage and baggage, essentials for a long flight, clothing and must have travel accessories.

First up the most important travel essentials in terms of luggage and packing.

Luggage and Packing Essentials for Women

As this site is dedicated to packing tips it should come as no surprise that we have strong opinions on the best luggage for women. They are:

3 piece Luggage Set

For me there are 3 pieces that are essential for any luggage set. They are:

  • one standard carry-on suitcase / hand luggage
  • a medium size checked luggage suitcase that can be used on flights where you are limited on weight i.e. those traveling to the Maldives, French Polynesia (Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora), The Seychelles and safaris to name but a few examples. And
  • one large checked piece of luggage.

I recommend packing carry on only where you can and often use the sudoku packing method or the 5 4 3 2 1 packing method to help stop overpacking. However there are instances where you will need to pack more items which is why we recommend having the above sizes.

Whether you want hard or soft sided luggage is definitely a personal choice and I can personally see the pros and cons of each. When I am packing for a cruise, Japan or to Europe, I tend to prefer soft sided cases. The reason for this is that they can be stored away more compactly when you are in smaller accommodation.

Click here to buy 3 piece luggage sets.

As well as luggage there are a couple of accessories that we also recommend packing to make your luggage more recognisable and traceable in the unfortunate event of lost luggage.


AirTags are a great way to help trace lost luggage. And while there are other brands on the market we think Apple’s Airtags are the best because they have access to the Find My network and Precision Finding technology.

The Find MY network is a really powerful Apple tool as your air tag can speak to the network. The size of this network means you have more chance of finding your luggage.

And the good news is that Airtags are relatively good value costing only 29USD for 1 and 89USD for four.

Click here to shop Apple AirTags.

For more information on how to pack airtags in luggage check out this post.

Luggage Straps

If you have relatively common luggage in traditional colors it can be difficult to pick your luggage out in the crowd. For this reason we recommend adding luggage straps onto your suitcase to make them more identifiable on the luggage carousel.

Click here to shop good value luggage straps.

Packing Cubes

I have a few different methods when packing my clothes for travel i.e. use the wrapping vs folding method, the all in one method and more.

However one packing method I keep returning to and one item that for me is an absolute essential for women travelers are packing cubes.

Packing cubes are a great way of maximising the luggage space in your suitcase and are a great way of keeping organised either by organising by outfits or types of clothes or even color coding the packing for each member of your travel party.

And one of the best things about these travel essentials for women is that there are actually very cheap. In fact the Amazon Basics Packing Cubes which are the ones which I have used for years. For 4 packing cubes they cost less than 25USD.

Click here to buy packing cubes.

For more information on how to pack clothes for travel without wrinkles check out these posts:

A travel laundry bag is also very useful for packing and separating out your dirty clothes.


A cute backpack is also definitely on my travel essentials for females list. It can be useful for day trips and sightseeing whether you are in cities, beaches or the countryside.

I personally like to have one that has a laptop section as always travel my laptop with me when I travel.

Click here to shop travel backpacks for women!

Crossbody Anti-Theft Bag

I don’t like to be alarmist regarding pickpockets and crime when traveling, however the truth is that any large tourist attraction attracts pickpockets.

For this reason I always recommend women travel with a crossbody anti theft bag to help keep their belongs safe.

Click here to shop good value travel antitheft crossbody bags.

Note: you could also use a fanny pack to help protect your belongings while traveling however I personally find these make you look like a tourist especially in Europe. For this reason we recommend a cross body antitheft bag vs a fanny pack. However this is personal choice and if you feel more comfortable with a fanny pack then be sure to add one to your list of travel essentials.

Travel Jewelry Organizer

If you like to travel with jewelry then a jewelry organiser can be a good addition to your travel essentials lists. There is nothing worse than getting to your destination to find knotted necklaces and missing earrings.

Click here to shop travel jewelry organisers.

And for more information on how to pack jewelry for travel check out this post.

Optional Travel Bags for Women

Now you know all of our must-have travel essentials in terms of luggage and bags we thought it would also be worth pointing out some other bags that may be useful depending on the type of vacation you are going on, what activities you are doing and what your itinerary is. They are:

  • Beach Bag – an essential for those going on a beach vacation (for a full beach vacation packing list check out this post).
  • Tote Baguseful for souvenir shopping in cities.
  • Camera Bagonly an essential for those traveling with large DSLR cameras.

Note: if you are traveling with a man, be sure to get them to check out our travel essentials for men post too!

Long Flight Travel Essentials for Women

Woman with plane tickets and carry on
Travel Essentials for Woman

So now you know about the travel essentials you need for packing we will turn our attention to travel essentials for long flights.

Passport Holder

The most important item when traveling internationally has to be your passport. I always like to keep my passport in a passport holder when traveling as it is easier to find in a bag, keeps it safe and can also hold other important information such as visas, boarding passes, insurance and other important documents.

I also always keep a pen inside my passport holder as it is very useful for landing declarations etc.

I recommend spending a little bit more to get a good quality durable one. I’ve had mine now for going on ten years and it has more left in it.

Click here to shop good quality passport holders.

Lip Balm

If I don’t use lip balm on a long-haul flight I am guaranteed to get chapped lips. Therefore lip balm is always on my women’s travel essentials list.

I like to have one that I can use at my destination too so recommend picking one with SPF. One of my favorite brands is Sun Bum.

Click here to shop travel lip balms.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

I personally find that the earphones that you are given on airplanes are not comfortable or good quality. For this reason I always pack my own noise cancelling headphones with me.

I personally find the over ear headphones most comfortable but if you are worried about space then noise-cancelling earbud headphones are a great choice.

Click here to shop noise cancelling headphones.

Compression Socks

As I often travel with someone who has had a blood clot, compression socks are always on my travel essentials list.

Compressions socks are worn on planes and can help reduce the risk of blood clots when combined with in-flight exercises.

Click here to buy compression socks.

Neck Pillow

If you are doing a red eye flight or plan to try and sleep on a plane then I recommend bringing a travel pillow with you.

Click here to shop neck pillows for travel.

Eye Mask

If you struggle to sleep when there is light then an eye mask can be useful for sleeping on planes and also for destinations that has sunlight late into the evening such as Norway and Europe in Summer.

Ear Plugs

Planes can be noisy places. I always have ear plugs with me.

Click here to shop ear plugs.

Note: if you are flying business class you can check if ear plugs or eye masks are provided as part of your amenities kit.

Quart Sized Toiletry Bag

If I am packing any toiletries in my carry on then I always have a TSA Approved Quart Sized Toiletry Bag with me.

This ensures that you don’t make liquids that are larger than the TSA allowance and are see through which can help speed up the process of going through airport security.

Click here to shop quart sized toiletry bags.

Reusable Travel Bottles

A personal pet peeve of mine is having to buy travel sized toiletries. That is because many of the products that I like to use don’t come in travel versions so I end up buying travel products that I wouldn’t ordinarily use.

Instead of buying travel toiletries I have now started buying reusable travel bottles and putting my own products in them. Not only does this mean you get to use the products you like, you also are being better environmentally.

Click here to shop TSA Approved Reusable toiletry bottles.

For more women’s travel toiletries essentials check out this post.

Phone Stand

A cell phone stand for planes is useful if you are only traveling with a phone, not an iPad or Laptop and want to watch your own films or listen to your own music.

Click here to shop phone stands / mounts for plane travel.

USB Cable

Many planes these days, especially newer planes and non-low cost Carriers will have USB charging points fitted into the seats. If you want to charge your phone while you fly be sure to pack a USB cable with you.

Beauty and Toiletry Travel Essentials for Women

What toiletries to pack for a cruise / cruise toiletries checklist
What toiletries to pack for a cruise / cruise toiletries checklist

If you are a woman like me then you will want to have some beauty and toiletry travel essentials in your packing. But what are the best beauty products for travel? And what toiletries should you pack?

In this section of the guide I will round up all of my beauty and toiletry travel essentials for women.

Hanging Toiletry Bag

I like to keep organised when traveling and one way I like to do this is by using a hanging toiletry bag. This keeps all your toiletries in one place and reduce the space they take up in your suitcase.

Click here to shop hanging toiletry bags for travel.


I personally always have make-up with me when I travel but I think that one mistake many women make is to overpack on the make-up front.

For this reason I try to limit travel make-up. After perfecting my makeup bag packing over many trips my travel make up essentials tend to be:

But my favorite travel beauty product is the  Nars Multiple.

Nars is one of my favorite cosmetic ranges no matter the situation but with the multiple you have one makeup stick that can be used beautifully on eyes, cheeks and lips which greatly reduces the amount you need to pack.

Brush and Hair Ties

A good hair brush and a mix collection of hair ties are an essential especially if you have long hair.

If you have more space you could add any of your other hair accessories too.

Travel Hair Dryer

I have a collapsible travel hair dryer which I like because it is a larger hair dryer that folds up. However any travel hair dryer on the market is likely to be better than any hairdryer that you get in a hotel or airbnb.

Click here to shop travel hair dryers

You may also want to get a compact travel curling iron if you like to style your hair further while traveling. Click here to shop travel curling irons.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Although many luxury hotels and cruise ships will provide some shampoo and conditioner, it is not necessarily the type most suited to your hair.

For this reason I will usually pack some shampoo and conditioner. For places where I am going to be doing a lot of swimming I will normally pack products that can protect my hair from salt water and sun.

Click here to shop sun bum shampoo.


Goes without saying.

Note: packing toiletries for me really depends on the location I am traveling to and the availability and cost of toiletries at my destination. If uI am traveling to a European city such as Rome, London, Amsterdam or Paris then I will usually wait until arrival to buy toiletries. That is because there are plenty of supermarkets and pharmacies at the destination where you can cheaply buy decent brand toiletries.

However if I am going straight on a cruise, or destinations that are more remote or where good come at a premium for instance Iceland, The Seychelles or Fiji then I will also pack them with me.

Also if you have a travel essentials that you are worried about finding at your destination, i.e. anti-frizz shampoo if you are traveling to a humid destination or items for a specific hair type then I would bring them with me.

Sun Screen with High SPF

Sun screen is an essential no matter the destination, no just as part of a beach packing list. Our favorite brand, especially for this thinking of doing snorkelling is the reef safe sun bum sun screen.

Chub Rub

If you are traveling to a hot weather destination, particularly if you are plus size, chub rub can be a real life saver and can help prevent chaffing.

Click here to shop chub rub.

TSA Approved Perfume Bottles

I love traveling with perfume, but don’t like to take my large bottle in my checked bag and of course you have to meet TSA liquid allowances for carry on.

To get round this I decant my perfume into these TSA approved perfume bottles.

Click here to shop TSA Approved perfume bottles.

Period Products

Even if I think my period isn’t due on my vacation I will always cary some period products with me. A menstrual cup is a great option for reducing the amount of products you have to take as well as being good for the environment.

Travel First Aid Kit

I never travel anywhere without a travel first aid kit. No one wants to have to use one but it is a comfort to have one with you especially in more remote locations such as when on safari.

Click here to shop travel first aid kits.

Wrinkle Release Spray

I hate wrinkled clothes so I always travel with wrinkle release spray especially when I travel with linen. Click here to shop wrinkle release spray.

Travel Clothing Essentials for Women

So now we have looked at luggage, toiletries and beauty products for travel we will turn our attention to travel clothing essentials for women.

Comfortable Walking Shoes

No matter where you are traveling comfortable walking shoes are an absolute essential.

For cities, beaches and even easier trails in summer my go to comfortable walking shoe is a sneaker. My go to brands tend to be Hoka and All Birds.

But I also love a white pair of sneakers as they pair with everything and don’t look out of place anywhere. One of my favorite pairs of white sneakers is the Adidas Cloud Foam shoes.

However, depending on the activities you are doing you may also need:

  • comfortable hiking shoes my favorite brand is Columbia.
  • comfortable walking sandals. One of the brands I love is Teva.

Depending on whether I am traveling with checked luggage or carry on only, and the length of trip I tend to try and only pack 2-3 pairs of shoes.

Comfortable Bra

Another staple of any women’s packing list is a comfortable bra. I always travel with one flesh colored bra as I find it the most versatile with most outfit. Depending on the activities you are doing you may also need a sports bra with you, especially if you want to use the gym etc.


Unless you are traveling in summer or to a tropical destination then jeans will always be on all of my packing lists.


Even in hot locations I always have a layer with me in case of a spell of cooler weather. The location and season will depend on how many layers and what weight you will need.

For this reason we always organise our packing lists by season or month. Use our search function at the top of the page and enter your destination and month of travel for specific packing lists.


A Pashsmina is an essential on all my packing lists because they can be used as an extra layer but also to make outfits more modest in religious settings such as:

to name just a few.


Eye protection and health is something that everyone should take seriously. For this reason we always travel with sunglasses, even in Winter.

Click here to shop sunglasses.

Other Travel Essentials for Women

Universal Travel Adaptor

Depending on where you are from, and where you are traveling you may need to take a travel adaptor with you to ensure that all your electronic devices will work. 

I personally never travel anywhere without my trusty Universal travel adaptor that works in pretty much all locations. 

Click here to shop universal travel adaptors. 

Battery Pack/ Power Pack

A portable charger (sometimes known as a battery pack or power pack) is another of our women’s travel essentials.

Whether it is because I am taking more photos, constantly checking my phone for google maps, or I’m just struggling to find wifi or 4G, I find my phone’s battery drains quicker than usual when traveling. For this reason I never travel without my travel power pack.

Click here to shop power banks.

Retractable Power Strip

When I am doing longer term travel I always pack a retractable power strip. I always find that hotels are short on sockets so this retractable power strip can help. I personally recommend picking one with some USB adaptors on it so I can charge with a USB cable.

Click here to shop retractable power strips for travel.

Reusable Water Bottle

I always carry my own reusable water bottle with me when I travel as it saves money on buying water when out, especially in hot weather destinations, but also is better for the environment.

If you are worried about taking up too much space then a collapsible water bottle is a great addition to your women’s travel essentials list.

Click here to stop reusable water bottles.

Security Alarm Keychain

If you are an anxious about traveling then a security alarm keychain may give you some security when traveling solo.

Just remember not to travel with pepper spray as airline and destination regulations may prohibit its use.

Click here to shop security alarm keychains.

Flashlight / Torch

A small flashlight or torch is always on my women’s travel essentials list for use in hotels or when traveling to more remote locations where power outages are more common.

Click here to shop a flashlight for travel.

Waterproof Phone Case

A waterproof phone case is useful if you are traveling to a warm weather destination or plan to spend lots of time in the pool. It protects your phone from the water but also keeps it safe from theft as you can keep it on you at all times.

Click here to shop waterproof phone cases

Pill Box

I always find it harder to keep track of medication while traveling so I use a travel pill box to keep track of medications.

Click here to buy a travel pill box.

Book / Kindle

Useful for reading while traveling whether on a flight or on a road trip and for at your location.

And there you have it our list of travel essentials for women. What do your think? Is there a women’s travel essential that you think we have missed? Then let us know in the comments below.