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It’s every woman’s dream – to be able to travel with a bag with a limitless bottom like the one Hermoine from Harry Potter had. Unfortunately however, that kind of magic isn’t available to those of us from the muggle world, and we must instead carefully choose each item for the journey so it fits in our bag.

It’s a talent to take only the most necessary things with us when we travel, and not every female wanderer is gifted with the skill. Though keeping to the following packing list will rescue your from endless hours of selecting items for your travel bag.

This travel checklist accents on the needs of female travellers who want to travel light and with essentials.

The Ultimate Packing List for Female Travelers

You can hover over this (or any image) to quickly pin it!

Documents

Documents are the most essential part of your packing list. Without these papers you won’t be going on your trip.

Passport

Transport tickets

Student / senior card

Health insurance card / information

Driver’s license (regular or international)

Money and credit cards 

Little notebook with necessary contacts (number of booking orders, addresses, list of places of interest) emergency phone numbers, including embassy contacts in each country, next of kin contacts, and the number of your hotel in case you get lost.

Copies of valuable papers (tickets, hotel reservation, etc). Be sure to scan and keep an electronic copy too (email it to yourself or store in a password protected file on your computer).

Clothes

The process of packing means you must be ruthless with your clothes, even though we never want to hurt the feelings of any of our dresses or bathrobes! But the tough reality is that traveling with your whole wardrobe will hurt your back.

So, understand that you will be happier with the lighter bag than with piles of unworn dresses. When you choose clothes for the travel, do so according to the following criteria:

Take only items in which you will feel comfortable.

Every item must match with 2-3 more other pieces of clothing (do not take the top that matches only with specific pair of trousers).

Give priority to items that you do not need to iron.

Regardless of climate, take at least two items of warm clothes and put it on the bottom of your bag.

Limit yourself to 3 pairs of shoes. 1 – for formal occasions, 2 – comfortable footwear for walking, 3 – water shoes. Especially if you’re packing shoes but traveling with one bag.

Don’t limit your underwear if you’re not planning on doing laundry during your trip.

Make sure you have something to wear to bed. Sleeping in your day clothes means they won’t last as long as they otherwise would, so whether you travel with pyjamas or a comfy bathrobe, make sure you have something specifically meant for bed.

First Aid Kit

Never underestimate the importance of traveling with a solid first aid kit – in fact, this should be one of the very first things you pack. Make sure you have everything you need to administer first medical help if need be. This includes:

Personal medications, and make sure you bring more than enough to last your entire trip. Personal medication may not be easy to find at your destination, and often they will be known locally under different names. (e.g. if you have asthma do not forget inhaler).

Water filtration device if the tap water is not safe to drink. Water in a new destination might contain microorganisms that will make you sick, and in less developed countries, you are more likely to run into water that you want to avoid.

For minor injuries like bites, grazes, cuts and scrapes, make sure you travel with a good first aid book; adhesive dressings like band aids, gauze pads, bandages, insect repellent and an antihistamine cream, sterile pack for prevention of blood-borne infections if traveling somewhere where health care facilities may be poor, antiseptic for sterilizing and cleaning wounds, handwash, a cold pack (disposable and instant); and eye wash for any foreign objects to the eye.

Suntan lotion and aloe-vera gel to sooth your skin if you get burnt.

Immunization records for visiting developing countries where you need immunizations before you go.

Personal Items

The main rule here is not to bring full packs with yours. If you run out of something you will be able to buy it. But in case you go camping, completely provide yourself with the following items:

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Menstrual pads

Comb and hairpins

Small falcons of perfume, shampoo and shower gel

Deodorant (preferably roll on as you can’t travel with spray in your carry on)

Only necessary cosmetics

Tech

Obviously, don’t plan to bring a blow dryer, iron or PlayStation. Aim to travel with as little tech as possible, after-all you’re meant to be enjoying your time away, though the following are usually essential for a trip:

If it’s necessary to take a laptop, ie if you work from the road, or you’re a teacher and need to order term papers writing, make sure you have the correct adaptors.

Smartphone with earphones and power bank

Flashlight

Camera with memory card and charge

Navigator or GPS with saved maps (in case you travel by the bike or by the car). This can often double as your smart phone.

Other Stuff

Snacks and a drink bottle of water. If you keep to some kind of diet don’t forget to put special products into your bag.

Umbrella or raincoat

Sanitary items like tampons, pads, or your menstrual cup

Bottle opener and a corkscrew

A couple of plastic bags, or zip locks

Keys from home (don’t find yourself locked out when you get back!)

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Passport photos by Christopher Ruud & Kevin Spencer. Immunizations by Pan American Health. Water filtration by The Legendary Adventures of Anna.

    26 Comments

  1. God Meg I don’t know about you, but I find the worst is clothes! Like, I still want to look cute, but they’ve gotta be comfy, layer well, be lightweight… a million factors. For so long I backpacked with purely functional clothing but finally gave up and just went with the love of layering… Some days are colder than others. 😛

    • I’m all for the love of layering!! Clothes are the worst for me too – I always try and aim for the method of pulling everything out you think you should take and then halving it 😀

      Also, I find that versatile clothes which can be matched with many different outfits works well too 🙂

  2. I’m about to pack for a trip to Canada to see the polar bears first before going to Montreal. I promise I will try not to pack more than three paris of shoes :-)! Wish me luck.

    • Have an amazing time Christina! Making it up to the tundra in Canada to see polar bears is on my list!

      It’s always more difficult when you’re heading out on a trip which has different extremes in temperature, because you obviously need to pack for each. Best of luck! XX

  3. I love posts like this because I mentally tick off everything I usually pack. I didn’t know you need a record of the immunisations you’ve had- thank goodness I read this before going on my big trip to Africa later in the year!!

    • Glad the post was helpful Maddy! Definitely travel with your immunization record – we were asked for our record of Yellow Fever on entering Australia last month, and that was having just been around South America. If you rock up to Africa without proof, sometimes they make you take the injection again … and it’s usually at the airport in a room which is less than sanitary!!

  4. A corkscrew is a must when traveling around Europe. I bring around a multi tool pocket knife which has a small corkscrew. I decided to get one after one too many attempts opening a bottle of wine via You Tube 🙂 Great list and tips!

    • Good tip! Haha I’ve been there done that re trying to get creative with opening a bottle of wine. I usually carry a corkscrew around in my handbag for just in case moments in every day life … gotta remember to take it out of my hand luggage when I go to the airport next!!

  5. Hahah Hermione’s bag would be really convenient for every traveller, wouldn’t it? Great list of things, one that could be even printed out and used to check everything. I totally agree about the copy of documents, comes in handy often.

    • Wouldn’t it!! Yes, a copy of documents is a must. I learned that the hard way when I was overseas a couple of years ago and hotmail blocked my email access … EVERYTHING was on there!

  6. So glad you included a cork screw! I never travel without one! I always forget my student ID though… that would save me so much money. Great list!

    • Student ID’s have saved me so much money over the years, I was so psyched when my university issued me a new card in my last year of study with an extra 5 years on it haha 😀

  7. This is a great list – I should use this AS my packing list – instead of as a basis for packing after which I inevitably pack way more stuff than I need!

    • Thanks Vicki! Glad we could help 🙂

  8. The clothes one has the most useful reminders for the next time I pack- “Every item must match” I draw little charts to make sure of that. And “Regardless of climate” is so important! Everyone should take note if they don’t want to freeze on the bus in hot tropical Thailand because of the air conditionining

    • Sounds like you’re talking from experience there on the air conditioning 😀 Lol – but also I’ve found because if you don’t take warm clothes with you, you then have nothing to wear when you jump off the plane on returning home (or vice versa) – because often you’re coming back to a totally different climate than where you’ve been 🙂

  9. Great list! The one thing I always forget is Aloe Vera gel. I have very pasty skin so I burn easily! I always forget the damn tube and then end up having to spend a lot of money buying a new one!

    • Thanks Anita! I will NEVER forget Aloe Vera gel lol I’ve been burnt too many times, so that one’s probably been literally seared into my memory not to forget :(!!!

  10. Over the years I found a way of packing light for 2-3 month trip in the outdoors. Once I had a 6 month trip with everything in it, from outdoor activities to leisure and formal meetings and ended up overpacking. After that experience I don’t leave home unless my bag is below 15kg. Sometimes it takes weeks to tweak and twist it until I get it right, but the homework is really worth it!

    • I think 15 kg is a pretty good weight limit to aim for. Even when I think I’ve packed quite frugally, I still always end up with items or pieces of clothing that I haven’t used, so I’m constantly trying to twist and tweak my packing skills with each trip too!

  11. Great ideas to pack light while having what you need. Glad to see you listed a power bank. Many don’t think about it, but having one has saved me so many times because I can charge my phone for nearly a week if I don’t have the right adapters.

    • Thanks Melissa! I usually travel with two or even three power banks now, they’ve become such an important part of my travel bag! I usually run out of battery at the most in opportune times, like in the middle of a flight where you can’t access a power point, or a day tour, or a bus ride. They come in handy in so many different situations 🙂

  12. Making sure one carries the right personal items is crucial since you might travel a place where there no items of your liking to purchase.

    • Absolutely – it’s always wise to research ahead and make sure you can find personal items, for instance, if you’re not planning on packing them. As an example, shampoo and conditioner and sanitary items in Cuba are super expensive because of the trade embargoes, and many travelers are caught off guard by this.

  13. Thanks for your post it is very interesting for me!

    • You’re welcome J, I’m glad it was helpful 🙂

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