By Claudia Tavani
This list of travel essentials for women includes all the items that a girl shouldn’t travel without.
It took me years of traveling and carrying heavy backpacks to master the art of packing – and even more so the art of packing light. No matter how much thought and effort I’d put in my packing, there always used to be something I’d forget to bring; something that I brought but was never used; something that was completely out of place and some things that were just too much.
If you are a girl about to embark on a trip – short or long, it doesn’t matter – you’ll be relieved to know that I have this female packing list thing finally nailed. You can count on me to tell you what to bring and what to leave behind, and to share a bunch of useful travel packing tips.
Here are some of travel essentials and few packing tips for female travelers.
No matter how long you are traveling for. Whether you are traveling for a month or just for a long weekend, you need to minimize the amount of stuff you take with you. Remember that there will be times when you’ll have to walk a few blocks to get to your hotel; or your accommodation won’t have an elevator or someone to help you with your luggage. The heavier your bag, the harder it is to carry it around.
Regardless of the duration of your trip, don’t pack more than 12 kgs!
A backpack is always a good idea
After having had to dodge a suitcase in the streets of Havana and Trinidad, avoiding potholes and dragging it on cobbled alleys, I have resolved to always use a backpack. Unless you are being taken from door to door and don’t have to worry about carrying a suitcase at all, a backpack is always a better option for it allows you to move more easily and it is much easier to carry up a flight of stairs.
Use a small backpack as a carry on
During one of my last trips with my sister, I was using a small backpack as a carry on, while she had her usual small rolling suitcase. As we were going through security, she was stopped by the airline personnel who demanded to weight her bag and forced her to re-distribute her stuff (she had to take several things out) so that it didn’t weight as much. They didn’t even bother looking at me and my backpack. Yet, I am convinced it actually weighted more than my sister’s suitcase.
Backpacks attract less attention and they are rarely checked for weight – probably because considered less obtrusive. Invest in a small backpack as a carry on, and ditch the small rolling suitcase!
Pack a change of clothes in your carry on
Luggage gets lost occasionally and you may get stuck in a city you don’t know, after a very long flight, desperately looking for some clean clothes and a change of underwear in shops you don’t know. Always pack a change of clothes in your carry on – something you can count on until your bag is delivered to you. Keep it simple – a pair of leggings and a t-shirt, or a light dress, and some clean underwear and socks.
Don’t put all your money in one place
If you are carrying lots of cash with you, don’t put it all in one place! Put some in your purse and some in your main backpack – if you get robbed, you will at least have something for small expenses until you get your documents sorted.
Keep in mind the places you are visiting
Are you visiting cities and archeological sites, or will you be hiking up mountains? Are you going to the least explored regions of the Amazon, to the Andes or to Antartica? Keep your destination in mind when packing.
The clothes you should bring with you vary greatly depending on the regions you are visiting. In some cases you will be crossing several climates (that’s when packing becomes even more of a challenge), and you’ll have to be prepared for all of them.
Make sure to also consider whether the places you are visiting are off the beaten path – off the beaten path places are fantastic to visit, but you usually can’t get hold of things you may need there.
Consider the style of your trip
Are you traveling independently or will you be joining a guided group tour? Will you be using public transportation much, or are you only counting on private transfers or a car rental? Are you covering long distances by plane, or will you be catching night trains?
First of all, whenever possible opt for trains over planes – it will lower your carbon footprint.
If you are traveling by plane, you will need to keep in mind the baggage restrictions and regulations. Please remember that different airports in different parts of the world will have different security checking procedures.
If you are using public transportation, packing light is even more important. You won’t have the comfort of a car or shuttle picking you up directly from your hotel and loading the bags for you, and on some occasions you’ll have to run to catch a train or bus that is departing.
If yours going to be an adventurous trip, with a lot of hiking, or do you plan to just sit at the beach or at most explore an archeological style or a city? Whatever you carry with you will change depending on what you plan to do while traveling. If you are going hiking, you will have to take your boots with you. And you can’t wear bright clothes on a safari.
Unless you are traveling to attend a conference, an event or a business meeting, you should leave your fancy clothes at home. Bring pants and shirts that can be layered and matched with different items to create a variety of outfits, and that can be layered easily. Take stuff that packs small, that doesn’t require ironing and that you can easily wash. Bring a t-shirt or a dress that you can easily dress up or down. And remember that nobody will think any less of you if you don’t wear heels.
Leave that hair dryer at home
Much like you don’t need to be dressed up while traveling, you definitely don’t need to have perfectly styled hair as well. That is to say, leave that hair dryer and curling iron at home. In any case, most hotel rooms nowadays have a hair drier and if they don’t, reception will lend you one.