Considering the wide range of products out there that are geared specifically towards women, it can be a challenge to choose the right travel essentials for you. I mean, just choosing a brand of razors can be overwhelming because of how many are out there (which is why I for a zero-waste option, the old-fashioned safety razor).
From menstrual cups to toiletry bags, I’ve got you covered with my top choices for travel essentials for women. Some are no-brainer items from my favorite brands, and some items might surprise you. Stick around to see what’s on my list:
Hygiene Essentials for Women
If you’re new to the menstrual cup game, it can seem a little intimidating. After all, if you’ve been using pads all this time because of the discomfort of tampons, it probably doesn’t sound very appealing to stick a silicone cup up there. I used to be that person until I read up on how wasteful feminine hygiene products are, and that alone pushed me to make the switch to menstrual cups.
Coupled with the fact that menstrual cups have made periods much more comfortable for me while traveling, I’ve never looked back to traditional pads and tampons. My Lunette Cup never leaks and I only empty it in the morning and before bed. Easy-peasy.
These are my favorites:
- Lunette Cup: I’ve used this one for years and can 100% say the $39.99 price tag is worth it. Get it here.
- Saalt Menstrual Cup Duo: While I’ve never used this one, it comes with a small and regular size, which is perfect for those who are new to menstrual cups. Use the small one during the first couple days of your period to see how it works for you, and upgrade to the regular size for heavier period days. Get the duo at REI for $47.
- Diva Cup: This one is by far the most popular and has several models available for women of different ages and flows. Diva Cups are available for around $40, depending on the retailer. Find which one works for you here.
Yep, a pee funnel. It’s exactly what you think it is. Have you ever envied men for their ability to pee (almost) anywhere they please? I wish I had known about this product when I lived in Mozambique and frequently had to wade into tall grass to pee while on long trips via public transportation.
Whether you’ll be taking rugged public transport for hours or out on a backpacking trip, a pee funnel makes going #1 so much easier for vulva-owners. It can help you avoid having to sit on dirty public toilets or poison ivy, which is a dream come true, to be honest. Plus, you can easily wash it off and tuck it back discreetly into your back after use.
Here are some options for pee funnels:
- Freshette Pee Funnel: The palm-sized flexible funnel contours easily to your body, making peeing easy and more comfortable than squatting down. Get it at REI for $22.95.
- Pibella Travel: I’m not as convinced by this one because of how small the opening looks, but it’s another option nonetheless. If you’ve tried it, let us know how your experience was! You can get it at REI for 19.95.
If you’re not on the solid shampoo train yet, let your next big trip be the reason you hop on. Having solid versions of your otherwise liquid toiletry items (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, even lotion) means you don’t have to worry about the 3oz rule for carry-ons. Plus, you’re avoiding all the plastic packaging from travel-sized items.
These are my top picks for solid toiletries:
- LUSH: I first started using the Jason and the Argan shampoo bar for travel in 2016 and I still swear by it. I’m still not entirely sold on LUSH’s solid conditioner bars, but the soap bars and lotion bars are still some of my favorites. You can also get tins to store everything in, with makes the products ideal for travel.
- HiBAR: You can find HiBAR’s solid shampoo and conditioner at REI for $12.95 each. The bars are both equivalent to a 16 oz. bottle of product, so you could easily cut the bars into smaller chunks for travel and save even more space in your carry-on.
Safety Essentials for Women
If you travel solo often, you might know that feeling of uneasiness when checking into a hotel room. Even with the hotel locks, sometimes I find myself thinking of the possibility that someone could open the door at any moment while I’m asleep.
If this resonates with you, consider investing in a portable door lock or jammer. Using one will add an extra layer of protection while you’re on the road, which is enough to help anyone get a better night’s sleep.
These are the ones I recommend:
- Addalock Portable Door Lock: At just $17.95, this super handy door lock easily fits into your purse and slides between the door frame and door to prevent outsiders from coming into your room. The Addalock door lock is ideal for rooms that don’t have a deadbolt lock. Get it here.
- DoorJammer Portable: This one is bulkier than the door lock, but provides even more protection as it stops the door from moving altogether if someone were able to unlock your door for any reason. Get it here for $29.99.
If you’re traveling solo, considering having a personal alarm to press in case of emergency. Especially if you’re exploring a new city and plan to take yourself on a dinner date which requires walking home at night, this alarm will come in handy. Even if nobody else is around to hear the alarm go off, it should scare away the assailant, giving you the opportunity to run away.
Here are some options:
- Nathan SaferRun Ripcord Siren Personal Alarm: Small and easy to use, this alarm device clips onto your clothing or purse and only requires a one-handed pull to set off. Get it at REI for $20.
- Alphahom Care Go: One step above for extra security, the Alphahom Care Go personal safety device is one of the loudest on the market with an excellent battery life. It’s a bit more expensive, but on sale for $39.99.
I had one of these for years and it still stands as one of my favorite inventions. Especially handy for city travel where there are pickpockets, having an anti-theft purse levels up your solo travel game.
These are my top picks:
- Pacsafe Daysafe Anti-Theft Tech ECONYL Crossbody Bag: This is one of the best small crossbody options. The Pacsafe anti-theft bags might not be turning heads because of their flashy style, but that’s kind of the point. Both the bag and the strap are cut-resistant and the RFID-blocking material protects your cards from unauthorized skimmers. Get it at REI for $49.95.
- Slingsafe LX200 Anti-Theft Compact Tote: This is a great tote option and has all the security of the crossbody above, with more space to fit your laptop or tablet. It’s a great option for digital nomads that are always carrying around their devices. Plus, it’s on sale at REI for just $39.73.
- Sherpani Cabo Convertible Pack: Stylish and convertible, you can use this anti-theft bag as a crossbody or a backpack. It has an anti-theft locking zipper slider and anti-slash fabrics to keep your things safe and is big enough for all of your devices. It’s available at REI for $69.95.
Packing Essentials for Women
Packing cubes make packing 100x easier and more organized. I get overwhelmed when I look at a messy suitcase or when I can’t find anything in my backpack and packing cubes changed the game for me. Now I feel much less stressed when packing and unpacking because I know where everything is, thanks to my packing cubes.
These are my faves:
- Eagle Creek Pack-It Containment Set: This includes 3 pieces: a clean/dirty cube, a laundry sack, and a medium pouch. The most impressive of the three is the laundry sack, which makes separating your clothes a breeze. Plus, you can take it to the laundromat to do laundry if you need to while you’re on the road. Get it here for $54.95.
- Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Cube Set: If you’re on a shorter trip and don’t need to do laundry, this set is great. It’s 3 pieces: an extra small, small, and medium packing cube, all with mesh windows so you can see what’s inside. Get it here for 29.95.
If you love bringing your favorite jewelry pieces on trips but hate having to detangle everything constantly, consider investing in a jewelry organizer. Handmade jewelry is my favorite thing to add my own style to my outfits, so I consider it to be a must on my packing list.
My favorite jewelry organizers are:
- Stackers Taupe Travel Jewelry Case: This one is ideal if you want to bring mostly rings and earrings. It keeps everything in place and nicely organized. Get it at The Container Store for $24.99.
- Velvet Travel Jewelry Roll: If you’re short on space in your bag, this one rolls up into a small cylinder and is great for keeping your necklaces untangled with its zippered pockets. Get it at The Container Store for $14.99.
If you want a toiletry bag that is more than just a zippered pouch, I’m here for you, girl. Something about all my toiletries and makeup just bouncing around in a bag all loosey-goosey irks me. Can you relate? I tend to opt for toiletry bags that are functional and allow me to organize my things.
These are my go-to toiletry bags:
- Sea to Summit Travelling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag: This is a lifesaver for any outdoors camping/backpacking trip or one where you’ll be using a shared bathroom, like a dorm in a hostel. It unzips to a hangable bag that you can bring with you into the shower, doubling as a shower caddy where your toiletries are easily accessible. It comes in a small size at REI for $39.95 or a large size at REI for $46.95.
- REI Co-op Shower Roll: Similarly, this shower roll is easy to hang inside the shower, providing easy access to your toiletries. The hook at the top isn’t quite as reliable as the Sea to Summit bag, but it’s still a great option. You can get it in a small size for $29.95 or large for $39.95.
Travel Accessory Essentials for Women
Sleep mask + ear plugs
If you’ll be staying in a hostel dorm where you could encounter either 1) people turning the lights on and off throughout the night, or 2) those weird red, blue, or green light bulbs that are on all night long, you might want to bring a sleep mask. These, plus some ear plugs, are also lovely for long flights where you’ll want to get some Z’s, or if you’ll be staying somewhere noisy.
These come highly recommended:
- Sea to Summit Travelling Light Eye Shade: The microfiber lining is what does it for me with this one. So comfortable! This one comes with ear plugs as well for just $19.95 at REI.
- Lewis N. Clark Comfort Eye Mask and Earplugs Set: This set is ideal for noisy accommodations or long flights and the earplugs are attached by a string so you won’t have to worry about losing them if one pops out while you’re snoozing. Get it here for $12.50.
Collapsible water bottle
For travelers who are always looking for ways to pack lighter, a collapsible water bottle is a must. Since you can’t bring water through airport security anyway, your empty Hydroflask is doing nothing more than taking up valuable space. A collapsible water bottle is the way to go.
These are the best out there:
- Que The Collapsible Bottle: This is the only one on the market that I wholeheartedly recommend. It comes in a whopping 17 different colors and is as stylish as it is functional, collapsing down to just 4.8 inches tall for the 20oz bottle. Get the 20oz here for 24.95.
Electronic Travel Essentials for Women
Drift into your own world during a long flight with some high-quality noise-cancelling headphones. There are a wide range of options out there for these and the price truly reflects the quality, so these are a splurge you can feel good about if you’re willing to invest in them.
Here are some excellent options:
- JBL Live 650BTNC Wireless Headphones: The best feature on these has to be the 30 hour battery life, with a 2-hour recharge time. That means you won’t have to worry about having to recharge these during your flight. Get them here for $199.95.
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700: Sure, these might be some of the most expensive on the market, but they’re also the top-rated noise-cancelling headphones and even made the New York Times’ top 5. If you are looking for complete noise cancellation and impeccable audio quality, these are it. They’re available on Bose.com for $379.
Think of all the essential apps you rely on to get from place to place while you’re traveling. Having a power bank on hand ensures that you won’t be without your smartphone. If you’re like me, you tend to use phones until they absolutely don’t work anymore, meaning you’re used to your iPhone running out of battery after just a few hours of use. Having a power bank is a life saver for me and definitely takes the pressure off while traveling because I know I’ll be able to charge up even if I don’t have access to a regular power source.
These are the power banks I recommend the most:
- Skullcandy Stash Wireless Power Bank: My favorite thing about this power bank is that it displays the percentage of battery life it has left at the top, so you always know how much charge is left. You can also charge up to 4 devices on it at a time, so you can easily charge up your phone, headphones, or even someone else’s devices. Get it here for $70.
- Powertraveller Merlin 75PD Power Pack: This power bank is small but mighty and is even capable of charging a laptop, making it ideal for travelers who have a lot of devices with them. It’s also moderately water-resistant, so you can bring it on outdoors adventures as well. Get it at REI for $99.
Travel adapters are always great to have before you set out on your journey, that way you’re not scrambling to find an adapter at the airport or convenience store where the prices might be ridiculous. I travel mostly in the Americas, so I don’t use these often, but I do have them just in case I go on a trip somewhere that has different plugs.
These are the best that I have found:
- Lewis N. Clark Adapter Plug Kit: If you are only traveling to one country and don’t need a full-on converter, this is great option. The kit has adapters for 175 countries among the 4 most common plug types, so you can easily grab the one you need from the kit and just bring that one with you. Get it at REI for $13.
- Lewis N. Clark Global All-in-One Converter and Charger: This is best if you’ll be visiting several countries that have different plugs. It’s also ideal if you’ll be using high-watt devices like a hair dryer or laptop charger. Get it at REI for $30.95.
Fashion Travel Essentials for Women
If you’re traveling somewhere that’s even moderately chilly, even just at night, consider bringing a scarf that is large enough to double as a blanket for cold flights. Not only can you use your blanket scarf as a literal blanket, but you can also fold it up and use it as a travel pillow, which is something I do often on long flights.
- ASOS DESIGN oversized square scarf in blown up check in multi: I love the earthy colors on this oversized scarf. It’s square, but large enough to use as a blanket on the plane. At just $26, it’s a bargain, too! Get it here.
- Smartwool Powder Line Blanket Scarf: Available in warm neutral colors that will go with anything, this stylish wool scarf is the perfect travel accessory that is more than just a fashion piece. Wear it through the airport and unfold it to cover up even more once you get to your seat on the plane. Get it here for $74.73.
Even if you aren’t going anywhere cold, airplanes tend to always have the temperature cranked down way too low (in my opinion). My feet tend to get chilly anyways, but planes feel like the Arctic tundra to me, so I always have a pair of warm socks in my personal item to throw on once I board.
These are great options for keeping your toes toasty on those long chilly flights:
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: These are made for hiking, so they have extra comfort and durability if you want to use them for something other than keeping your toes warm. Get them at REI for $24.
- Burton Weekend Midweight Socks: Sure, these might be snowboarding socks and maybe you don’t plan on snowboarding anytime soon, but they’re super cozy and come up over the calf for some extra warmth. Did I mention that my feet are always cold? These are perfect for me. You can get 2 pairs for $34.95 at REI.
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From one adventurous woman to another, I hope this list helps you prepare for your next adventure, whether you’re heading out to the woods for some solitude with nature or embarking on a journey to a new city. What else is on your list of travel essentials for women?