Wondering what to pack for solo travel as a woman? Worried that you’re going to forget essential items? Relax. Preparing for your trip is easy when you use my solo travel packing list for females.
This packing list contains 100 items that every woman needs for solo travel. It is suitable for both short-term summer vacations (a few days to a week) and long-term travel (several months).
I’ve also listed items that should not be included on a female solo travel packing list. Plus, I help you decide between a suitcase vs backpack and share my top ten tips for travel packing.
Find more solo travel gear and packing tips on Nomadic Yak – the home of solo travel and adventure!
Solo Travel Packing List for Females – 100 Essential Items for Women
Essentials and documents
Regardless of where and when you are travelling, there are some essential items and documents that must be included on every woman’s solo travel packing list.
- Passport – Required to pass through immigration when travelling internationally. Can also be used as ID if required by accommodation, police, medical professionals, etc.
- Driving licence – If you plan on driving around your destination, check whether you are required to also carry an International Driving Permit (IDP).
- Visas – Check whether you need a visa to visit your destination. Use your official government travel advisory or this visa checker.
- Tickets and reservations – You will likely have your flights, transport and booking information stored in your email. Download the files to a local folder on your phone in case you don’t have internet access. You could also print off physical copies in case you lose your phone.
- Credit and debit cards – Before leaving, alert your bank that you will be travelling overseas so that your cards aren’t blocked. Also, consider getting a travel debit card, which can help you save on transaction, withdrawal and exchange fees.
- Local currency – Visit an exchange before leaving and get about $100-200 USD of currency for your destination. You may need it when you arrive, for transport from the airport to your accommodation.
- Extra passport photos – Can be used if you need to replace a lost or stolen passport whilst overseas.
- Copies of your ID – Scan and save a digital copy of your passport, driving licence and any other form of ID. Consider also printing off a paper copy of each and carrying it with you.
- Vaccination certificate – Some countries may recommend or require you to show proof of vaccination upon entry. Check this CDC list of destinations.
- Bank statements – Some countries will require you to show that you have a certain amount of savings upon entry.
- Travel insurance documents – Some countries will require you to show proof of travel insurance upon entry.
- Emergency contacts – Carry a piece of paper with your emergency contacts (in case you lose your phone). Also, set up the emergency contacts feature on your iPhone or Android.
- Plastic folder – Use a thin plastic folder to store all the essential documents on your solo travel packing list for females. Stow it in your carry-on bag.
- Travel wallet – Use a travel wallet to store your passport, cash and cards in one easy-to-reach place when travelling alone.
All Your Vital Documents in One Safe Place
Bags and backpacks
Most female solo travellers carry one large bag for luggage, one backpack for carry-on use and a number of smaller bags for specific purposes. Your setup will depend on the type of equipment you are taking. It will also depend on how you like to travel and how manoeuvrable you want to be.
- Suitcase or 55L travel backpack (luggage) – This big bag will carry your clothes and toiletries. See the section below when trying to decide between a suitcase vs a backpack for solo female travel. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
- Small backpack (day/carry-on bag) – This smaller backpack will carry your electronics, essential documents and miscellaneous extras. High-quality travel backpacks (such as the 55L Osprey Fairview) come with a detachable daypack.
- Anti-theft shoulder bag or crossbody fanny pack – You can use a shoulder or fanny bag for carrying small items on day trips (when you don’t want to carry a small backpack). I use it for items such as my phone, wallet, sunglasses, charging cable and lip balm. When not in use, I stow it in my small backpack.
- Hanging toiletries bag – For keeping all your toiletries together. A hanging toiletries bag is preferable for women travelling alone because it’s easier to access your cosmetics when getting ready to go out.
- Ziplock bags x3 – Required to carry your liquid toiletries and cosmetics in your carry-on luggage on flights. Can also be used to keep your phone dry in the wet.
- Dry bag (optional) – If you plan on partaking in water sports such as kayaking or tubing during your solo female travel, a dry bag will protect your things from the wet.
- Backpack rain cover (optional) – If you are travelling during the rainy season and concerned about your backpack getting soaked, protect it with a cover.
Your Daily Go-To
Electronics and gadgets
The electronic devices and gadgets that a woman includes on her solo travel packing list will depend on how long she will be travelling, how much photography she will be doing and whether or not she will need to work whilst travelling.
- Smartphone and case – Your smartphone is your lifeline when travelling alone as a female. Protect it with a shock-proof case and a glass screen protector.
- Multi-charging cable – One cable with three connectors – lightning, USB C and Micro USB. Can be used to charge all my devices (iPhone, iPad, Airpods, GoPro, power bank) without carrying multiple cables.
- Local SIM Card – Most of the time, you will buy a local SIM card upon arriving at your destination. However, sometimes you can preorder them in advance and pick them up at the airport. Just make sure you buy a SIM with plenty of data.
- Global adapter – Rather than buying an adapter for each country that you visit, buy a global adapter with multiple USB A and USB C charging ports. Make sure that it has adapters for the USA, UK, EU and Australia.
- Airpod Pros 2 – Earbuds are preferable to headphones because they take up less space. I also protect my Airpod Pros with a rubber case.
- Airfly Bluetooth transmitter – Listen to aeroplane movies on your Bluetooth earphones. Only takes 10 seconds to set up and means you don’t have to use crappy aeroplane earphones.
- VPN – One of the best solo travel safety tips is to connect to a VPN before using any public Wi-Fi network. This will help to protect you from having your data stolen.
- Maps.Me – This is the best navigation app for solo travel overseas. It allows you to download offline maps and save points of interest so that you can always find your way around without internet access.
- Laptop and sleeve case (optional) – It is not necessary to travel with your laptop unless you will need it for work. Most of your bookings and trip organisation can be done on your smartphone.
- iPad (optional) – Again, it is not necessary to include a tablet on your solo travel packing list for females. However, it is nice if you want to read or watch a film. It can also be handy for photo editing software.
- Kindle E-reader (optional) – Do not take a separate E-reader if you have already included a tablet device on your solo travel packing list. Save space by using apps such as Kindle or Apple Books on your tablet.
- Power bank (optional) – If you take a power bank, be sure to pack it in your carry-on luggage. It cannot be stored in your checked luggage on flights.
- Airtag (optional) – Place the Airtag in your luggage so that you can track its location if it is lost by an airline or stolen.
- Nintendo Switch (optional) – Keep yourself entertained during long flights and lonely nights.
3 Pieces of Tech I Take on Every Solo Trip
Clothes and shoes
Your season of travel, the size of your bags, the duration of your trip and the type of trip that you are undertaking (e.g. adventure, backpacking, luxury, etc.) will determine the types of clothes and shoes that you include on your solo travel packing list for females.
- Underwear x7
- Bras and sports bras x3
- Socks x5 – Include one pair of thick dry-tech hiking socks if you plan on trekking.
- Swimsuit or bikini x1 – Try to take a pair that can double as both sports shorts and swim shorts.
- Shorts or biker shorts x2 – Avoid denim shorts as most women find that they chafe. Instead, take cotton, linen or moisture-wicking fabric.
- Skirt x2 – A lot of women will find a skirt more comfortable and cool when solo travelling through summer destinations.
- Dress x1 – Some solo female travellers will want to wear a dress in semi-formal occasions (e.g. going out for a drink at the bar).
- Yoga pants or leggings x2 – A go-to for many female travellers when hiking or exploring their destination by foot.
- Tee shirts, tops or blouses x5
- Long-sleeved top x1 – Offers sun protection in summer and warmth in winter for women travelling alone.
- Sweatshirt x1 – Even the warmest destinations can get chilly sometimes (especially during the night). Take a sweatshirt or hoodie for warmth.
- Pyjamas x1 – If you’re going to be staying in
- Wide Brim Hat x1 – Protect your face and neck from the sun and keep your hair out of your face.
- Sarong or summer scarf x1 – When visiting modest cultures (e.g. Islamic or South Asian countries), you may be required to wear head coverings to enter certain attractions.
- Sunglasses and case – Protect your eyes from sun damage. Particularly important when visiting the sea or snow.
- Rain jacket or poncho x1 – If you will be travelling solo during the wet season, take a proper rain jacket or rain shell that can be packed into its own little bag. If you think there is only an occasional chance of rain, a throwaway poncho should suffice.
- Trainers or sneakers x1 – It’s worth investing in a good pair of women’s trainers or sneakers that provide comfort, support and grip. These will be your main shoes when travelling solo.
- Sandals or flip flops x1 – All women should include flip flops on their solo travel packing list. They can be used at the beach, in the shower, around your accommodation and for quick trips to nearby stores.
- Throwaway shorts x1 (optional) – An old pair of shorts that you can get dirty during adventure activities and throw out afterwards.
- Throwaway tee x1 (optional) – An old t-shirt that you can get dirty during adventure activities and throw out afterwards.
- Jeans or trousers x1 (optional) – Chances are that you will visit a restaurant, bar or club at some point during your solo travel and women may be expected to wear jeans or trousers.
- Belt (optional)
- Hiking shoes x1 (optional) – Only take a pair of hiking shoes or boots if you plan on doing lots of trekking doing your solo travel. Otherwise, it is not worth carrying the extra weight.
Additional winter clothes
If you will be travelling during the colder winter months, add these additional clothes to your solo travel packing list for females.
- Jacket x1 – The outer layer that will trap heat and protect you from wind and rain.
- Fleece x1 – A middle layer that traps heat and dries quickly.
- Tracksuit pants x1 – Comfortable pants that trap heat.
- Thermal top and pants x1 (optional) – These inner layers may be necessary if travelling in sub-freezing temperatures.
- Winter scarf or neck warmer x1 (optional)
- Gloves x1 (optional ) – A simple pair of woollen gloves may suffice. However, in extreme cold and wet, you may want to opt for waterproof winter gloves.
Whilst most women don’t mind roughing it, your fellow travellers won’t want to hang around with you if you stink. Put together a toiletries bag with the following items on your solo travel packing list for females.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste – Store your toothbrush inside a breathable travel case to protect it from bacteria.
- Roll-on deodorant – Women’s roll-on deodorant tends to be smaller and more travel-friendly than spray deodorant.
- Cosmetics and makeup – Don’t take more than the essentials: foundation, blusher/bronzer compact, mascara, eye shadow pallet, lipstick.
- Travel-size makeup brush set – If you don’t want to take your nice makeup brushes from home, save space by taking this travel-size kit.
- Skincare – cleanser, moisturiser, exfoliator, eye makeup remover, makeup wipes.
- Hair ties, clips and scrunchies
- Sunscreen – Wrap in a plastic zip-lock bag to prevent spillage. Some women prefer to have a separate face sunscreen.
- Lip balm – Protect your lips from sun damage and keep them moist and shiny.
- Razors and shaving cream (or rechargeable bikini trimmer) – Whilst a razor gives a close shave to your legs and body, an electric shaver is more convenient.
- Prescription medication – Make sure that you buy enough prescription medication before leaving for your solo travel. You don’t want the hassle of seeing a doctor for a prescription when travelling overseas.
- Sanitary products – Tampons, pads or a menstrual cup.
- Condoms – Female solo travellers should bring their own pack of condoms in case the man isn’t carrying any. You’ll feel more comfortable using a condom that you know is safe and new from the packet. Women may also want to bring an emergency contraceptive pill.
- Mosquito repellent – Particularly important when visiting countries where malaria and mosquito-borne diseases are prominent (e.g. Asia, Africa and South America).
- Hand sanitiser – Keep it in your day bag as a convenient way to clean your hands before meals and after visiting the bathroom.
- Tissues – Buy a small travel pack rather than a large box of tissues.
- Face masks – You may feel safer wearing a face mask if you get stuck next to someone coughing on a flight or coach ride.
- Solid shampoo and conditioner – Most hostels will not provide you with shampoo or conditioner. However, motels, hotels and Airbnbs might. Save space in your luggage by buying these when you arrive at your destination.
- Body soap bar (optional) – Most hostels will not provide you with body wash or soap. However, motels, hotels and Airbnbs might. If you need to save space in your luggage, buy body wash when you arrive at your destination.
- Motion sickness pills (optional) – Particularly important if you suffer from travel sickness or will be travelling a lot by water or air.
- Band-Aids (optional)
- Antibiotic ointment (optional) – clean and sanitise small cuts and bites to prevent infection.
- Q-tips (optional)
How to Stay Hairless on the Road
Female solo travellers face unique dangers that most tourists never encounter. Add these safety items to your solo travel packing list for females and keep yourself safe on the road.
- TSA-approved padlocks – Always keep your luggage and day bag locked to prevent theft. Combination locks are best because you don’t have to carry a key.
- Nightcap drink cover scrunchy (optional) – Wear this as a scrunchy in your hair or on your wrist. When out drinking, it converts to a cup cover and stops creeps from spiking your drink.
- Acemining portable door lock (optional) – Allows you to lock any hotel or motel door. Only takes 10 seconds to set up and prevents intruders from being able to turn the door handle.
- ZZRUI door stopper security alarm (optional) – Jam this behind your closed door to stop intruders from breaking in. An alarm will warn you if someone is trying to open the door.
- Fake smartphone and fake cash (optional) – If you’re solo travelling through a dangerous destination, keep a fake smartphone and cash in one pocket of your fanny pack (separate from your real phone and cash). Should you be mugged or robbed, you can hand over the fakes and immediately leave the area.
I’ve Never Had Anything Stolen From My Bags
Add these odd bits and bobs to your solo travel packing list for women. Some are essential, whilst others will just make your trip a little easier and more enjoyable.
- SIM card tool – Required to remove your smartphone SIM card and replace it with a local SIM card.
- Pen – Vital for filling out forms in a hurry, such as immigration arrival cards.
- Bobby pin
- Quick-drying microfiber towel – Smaller and faster drying than a bath or beach towel.
- Trash bag – Can also be used to store wet swimwear or rubbish.
- Inflatable travel pillow (optional) – Stop your head from flopping around and get a comfortable sleep on planes, trains and buses.
- Loop earplugs and case (optional) – If you will be sharing a hostel dorm room with other snoring women and men, you should add earplugs to your female solo travel packing list.
- Eye mask and case (optional) – Again, great for blocking out the light when sleeping in hostel dorms.
- Pocket knife (optional) – Can be very handy for fixing things, picking splinters and all sorts of odd jobs. But double-check if it is allowed to be stowed in your checked baggage.
- Headlamp or torch (optional) – Can be useful when camping or digging around in your bag in a dark hostel dorm. However, it is often more convenient to use the torch on your smartphone.
- Lighter (optional) – Whilst this is mostly for smokers, offering a lighter can also be a great way for women to make friends when travelling solo.
- Trinket from home (optional) – Take a small photo or other memento from home to help you feel better when you’re homesick.
Share your adventures with the world and grow your social media following with stunning content. Include these photography items on your solo travel packing list for females.
- Camera – Only take a camera and lens if you want high-quality photographs. Otherwise, your smartphone’s camera should be capable of getting some decent shots and will save you a lot of hassle.
- Camera cleaning kit – Keep your lenses and mirrors clean so that you can capture clear shots.
- Camera battery and charger
- GoPro Action camera (optional) – Want to capture exciting moments during your solo trip? Take your GoPro.
- Camera bag backpack (optional) – A shoulder bag for your camera can be a nuisance when travelling solo. If you’re a photographer, consider buying a backpack with storage compartments for your camera and lenses.
- Selfie stick (optional) – Save yourself from constantly having to ask others to take photos of you. Some selfie sticks also transform into a tripod and have a remote so you can take epic landscape selfies.
- Camera tripod (optional) – Capture landscape or high-speed shots without camera shake. Also useful for taking selfies.
- Microphone for camera/smartphone (optional) – Capture crystal-clear audio when videoing your travels on your camera or smartphone.
- Pro lens kit for smartphone (optional) – Capture epic landscapes with the wide angle lens (expands the field of view by 45%). Magnify nearby subjects with the macro lens for breath-taking close-up shots.
- Micro SD memory card (optional) – Buy a 256GB SD card or larger so that you can take lots of photos and videos without constantly changing cards.
- SD card to Lightning adapter (optional) – Transfer photos from your SD card to your iPad in seconds. Perfect if you plan on doing lots of photo editing.
Quality Content with a Smartphone
3 lens combinations. Wide lens for 45% larger landscapes. Macro lens for stunning close-ups.
Capture crystal-clear audio when videoing your travels on your smartphone.
What Not to Include on Your Solo Travel Packing List for Females
There are many advantages and disadvantages of travelling alone. One of the disadvantages is that you have limited luggage space.
You’ll want to keep your solo travel packing list as light as possible. Keeping things light makes you more manoeuvrable, reduces stress on your body and helps to minimise luggage fees.
Do not include these items on your solo travel packing list for females:
- A chunky purse – A big purse is annoying to carry and may make you a target for theft. Replace it with a travel wallet, shoulder bag or fanny pack.
- Unnecessary cards and items in your purse – Empty your purse of unneeded healthcare cards, rewards cards, business cards, spare keys, cash and coins.
- Snacks and food – Don’t bother taking food with you from home, as some of it may not even make it through customs at the airport. Just buy snacks once you arrive.
- Paper notebook – It is much more convenient to journal on your phone, rather than carry a paper notebook which is bulky and can be damaged.
- Guidebooks – There’s no need to carry big and bulky guidebooks with you. You can always access Nomadic Yak’s destination guides online (and even save the pages for offline reading).
- Large amounts of cash – Try not to carry more than USD $200 at any one time. Carrying more than this could make you a target for theft or robbery.
- Water bottle – There are many countries around the world where you should not drink the tap water as it may cause illness. Instead of filling up a water bottle, buy sealed bottles of water and recycle the bottle whenever possible.
- Keys – Don’t take your car or home keys overseas with you. You don’t want to risk losing them. Instead, leave them with family or friends.
- Card games – There’s no need to carry a deck of cards with you. Most hostels and hotels will offer cards and games. And other travellers often carry their own.
Suitcase vs Backpack for Female Solo Travel
Solo female travellers often question whether they should take a suitcase vs backpack. Both suitcases and backpacks have advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider the following factors:
- Your destination – Are the sidewalks well paved for suitcase wheels or would it be easier to carry a backpack?
- Your need for manoeuvrability – Will you need to navigate stairs, hills and hiking trails?
- The type of transport you will be travelling on – Will you be travelling frequently on planes, trains and coaches? Will you be travelling by motorcycle or scooter?
- Protecting your possessions – Do you have fragile items in your luggage that need the protection of a suitcase shell?
- How often do you need to access your possessions – Will you be staying in one place for multiple days or will you be travelling on an almost daily basis?
A suitcase is better suited to solo travellers who won’t be frequently catching transport between destinations. In other words, a suitcase is great if you plan on staying in one place for more than a few days (i.e. hotel stays).
The advantages of a suitcase are:
The Only Suitcase You’ll Ever Need to Own
A backpack is better suited to solo travellers who will be frequently catching transport between destinations. In other words, a backpack is great if you plan on travelling every few days (i.e. backpacking, touring or adventure travel).
The advantages of a backpack are:
A Backpack Specifically Designed for Women
Travel Packing Tips for Solo Women
Women must pack lightly when travelling solo. Remember, a light packing list will make you more manoeuvrable, save you money on baggage fees and reduce stress on your body.
Here are my top ten tips for travel packing as a solo female:
- Tape your cosmetic products closed: Make-up and liquid cosmetics are expensive. You don’t want them to leak all over your stuff. Eyeshadow, blusher or bronzer products can be taped closed. With liquid products, remove the lid, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top and replace the cap.
- Pour your toiletries into travel-sized bottles – Full-sized toiletries take up too much space. Instead, pour your favourite shampoo, conditioner, soap and cosmetics into travel-size bottles. Alternatively, grab a pre-made travel-size toiletry kit.
- Use packing cubes – Packing cubes are an affordable way to keep luggage organised in your bag. You can quickly reach for the cube you want and stack it back in your bag when done.
- Pack make-up wipes and a face mist in your carry-on: The air on aeroplanes is notoriously dry, so whether you suffer from dry skin or not, expect your face to feel dehydrated. Combat the elements by carrying a face mist in your bag. Bring make-up wipes as well to prevent breakouts.
- Carry a change of clothes in your carry-on: Pack a spare pair of underwear, a t-shirt and pants in your hand luggage. If your check-in bags get lost or you accidentally spill food or drink on yourself, you’ll have clean clothes to change into.
- Pack female sanitary products in your carry-on: Even if you’re not expecting your monthly visit, travel can cause havoc with your hormones. Make sure you pack enough sanitary pads or tampons in an easy-to-find pocket in your backpack. If you forget, ask an air hostess.
- Roll your clothes – The most efficient way to pack your bag is to roll your clothes up rather than folding them. Then, stack the rolls beside one another and fill every crevice in your bag.
- Pack inside your shoes – There is valuable packing space inside your shoes. Stuff them with socks, underwear and other small items.
- Pre-pack liquids in a zip-lock bag – Airport security will only let you through if your liquids are smaller than 100ml (3.4 ounces) each and packed in a clear quart-sized zip-lock bag (about 17cm by 20cm). Instead of stressing out at the airport, prepare this in advance.
- Keep frequently-used items at the top – Keep frequently-used items such as toiletries, a towel and flip-flops at the top of your bag for easy access.
Find More Solo Travel Tips at Nomadic Yak
Nomadic Yak helps solo travellers to plan journeys that are adventurous and authentic.
Every article is written by me, Harry Dale. I’ve travelled to 40+ countries over the last 5 years – alone.
On Nomadic Yak, I’ve shared everything you need to know about female solo travel.
You’ll also find 100s of solo travel tips on how to save money, make more friends, build a social media following and much more.
Plus, you can use my solo travel destination guides to discover international sights and attractions that few other travellers get to witness.