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20 Travel Essentials for Women: Your Guide

Travel essentials are essential for a reason. They exist so that every woman stays prepared and ready for whatever their travels throw at them, all while doing it in style. Whether you’re traveling on a cruise or to a tropical destination, below is a list that you can’t go wrong with

1. A Good Book

Always pack a good book for your travels. You may get stuck in traffic or get tired of watching movies on the plane. A book is also really handy when you're relaxing on the beach and you want to clear your mind.  

Reading is a great way to spend quiet time with yourself without being on your phone or sleeping the day away. 

When you get into a good book, it's also a great way to pass time if you experience layovers in an airport. From autobiographies to fictional fantasy worlds, and even self-help books, there's no going wrong with a good read for your vacation. 

2. The Perfect Bags

The perfect selection of bags is key to comfortable and convenient travels. Packing a backpack with inside organizing compartments works as a great carry-on for the plane. 

Having a suitcase that has a hard outer shell is important in keeping the items in your suitcase safe from damage. 

Packing a tote bag in your suitcase is vital for beach days and walking to and from your hotel. 

Finally, consider a sturdy toiletry bag that is big enough for all your toiletry needs, and always pack an elegant purse for evenings out. 

3. Chargers

Packing the right chargers for your travels is absolutely essential to keeping yourself organized and on time. The worst thing that can happen in the airport is your phone dying. You don't want to miss your flight or by accident lose a family member and not be able to text them.  

Having your phone charged is important for your plane ride and it’s also vital for getting a ride at your destination. If your phone is dead before you get on the plane, it can make or break your flight experience. 

If you have all your favorite music on your phone or need to check work emails, it's important that your phone is charged and that you have the right chargers to do so.  

Always pack three chargers on vacation, one for your carry-on and two in your checked suitcase. 

You never know if one of your kids needs to borrow a charger, or if you’ll misplace one throughout your travels.

4. Phone, Keys, Wallet, Passport

Before you even step out of your house, always make sure you have your phone, your keys, your wallet, and your passport.  

These are essentials that you will need at the airport and also when you’re returning back home.  

Your passport is important as a backup even if you have a state-issued ID. 

Your wallet is obviously important because you need to pay for presents, dinners, and experiences on your vacation.  

Your keys are important to have for when you arrive back home and keeping your phone on you is obviously important too.  

5. A Good Notebook

Even if you're not into writing, a notebook is a great travel essential. You never know when you'll need to write something down, make a list, or write about a special experience.

If you want to take a hiatus from your phone when you're on vacation, having a notebook with you is a great way to pass the time. A notebook is also nice for when you're sitting on the beach, because it gives you the opportunity to draw, write, or even make a list of your favorite places that you’ve traveled so far. Make sure your notebook isn't too heavy though—you don't want to lug it around all day in your carry-on or tote. 

6. Headphones

The next essential you need, whether you're on the plane, in the airport, or on the beach, is a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. If you need peace and quiet on the plane, noise-canceling headphones are a great way to create a calming atmosphere during your travels. Noise-canceling headphones are also a great way to relax on the beach and really zone out.   

Sometimes airports can be a stressful place, and they can also be a place where you're waiting around for flights, meals, baggage claim, or pick-up.  

Having a good pair of noise-canceling headphones can cut the time of your waiting experience in half. 

7. Stain Remover Pen

A stain remover pen might seem unnecessary when you're traveling, but it's actually an incredible essential that you shouldn't skip out on.  

Have you ever been on a plane and by accident spilled food or a drink on yourself? A stain remover pen is a great way to relieve the anxiety of staining.  

If you're traveling with young children and they're prone to making a mess, having a stain remover pen is a great way to keep up with them.  

A stain remover pen is smart to keep in your carry-on so you can carry it with you anywhere you go—you can even bring one out to dinner with you! 

8. Clothes for Going Out

Speaking of dinner, you definitely need to bring at least one or two fine dining outfits if you're heading on a tropical vacation or cruise. You never know when the opportunity will arise when you are on your way to a fancy evening with your family, or you're going out with your girlfriends and getting ready for a night of dancing and dining. Always pack one sophisticated look for photos with your family at dinner, and then pack another look that is more exciting for drinks and fun with your friends. 

You want to always make sure when you’re packing your suitcase that you have nice outfit options for one or two nights out. Honestly, there’s no worse feeling than being underdressed.

9. Clothes for Lounging

Before you head on your tropical vacation, make sure you pack plenty of loungewear. For downtime in between the beach and the spa and for moments before you head out for dinner, loungewear is vital for relaxing. 

Loungewear is also essential for after you're done at the gym and need to cool down with a refreshing beverage near the pool. 

Having plenty of loungewear is also important for traveling on the plane, for daily excursions, and for relaxing on the island or cruise deck.  

Don't skip out on the chance to feel comfortable on your own vacation. Finding loungewear that is agreeable to hot weather can sometimes be hard.  

A way to avoid overheating in loungewear is to consider lightweight shirts with breathable material, and flowy pants or shorts. 

10. Activewear

Definitely don't forget to pack activewear. Whether you're going on a hike or you're taking a morning run along the beach, having enough activewear is essential on your vacation.  

You may end up skydiving, walking for miles across town, or running daily, so make sure to pack enough activewear for these experiences.  

You don't want to end up cleaning the same pair of activewear over and over again when access to a washer and dryer is not always up to you.  

Sometimes when you're staying in a hotel or on a cruise you have to wait until laundry service comes around and that can take a while.  

Make sure to stay prepared and have at least four to five activewear outfits that you can rotate without delay. 

11. The Right Shoes (and the Right Amount)

In order to not take up too much space in your suitcase, you need to pack the right shoes and the right amount of them.  

Chances are you probably only need one pair of sandals, one pair of high-heeled shoes, one pair of sneakers, and a pair of slippers.   

There is a chance that you'll need two pairs of heels, one that is a more neutral color and another that pairs well with a brighter going-out dress.

Pro tip: It's important to wear your most comfortable shoes while traveling, and then save your sandals for the beach.  

Sneakers are great to travel in, and activewear is also smart for your full travel day.  

Less is more when it comes to shoes. You don't want to end up with eight pairs of shoes and experience the weight of them in your bag. They're not only heavy, but they can cost you a fortune at customs. 

12. The Right Bathing Suit

The right bathing suit is also key for your tropical vacation experience. You want to make sure that you pack bathing suits for every kind of experience.  

Pack one supportive bathing suit, a sophisticated style, one fun bathing suit, and a simple bathing suit, so that you can mix and match looks throughout your trip.  

If you know you're going to be in the ocean with your family, you want to make sure that you pack a bathing suit that supports your body in the waves.  

If you know you're heading from the beach to a dining area, you want to make sure you have a sophisticated-looking bathing suit that can pair well with a wrap. 

13. A Reusable Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle is a great way to not only keep hydrated but to take care of the planet.  

If you know you're going to a tropical location, then you know the weather will be hot and most likely humid. When it's hot out, you need to hydrate almost double the amount you would on a normal day. When you're at the beach, make it triple the amount.  

Staying prepared with a reusable water bottle allows you to go to fill stations whenever you need something to drink, without wasting plastic water bottles or paper cups.  

Having a reusable water bottle also saves you money and time. Instead of paying $5 every time you want water, you can simply refill your bottle at any restaurant, cafe, or refill station.   

Sometimes it takes time to find a place to buy a water bottle and when you're on vacation you don't want to waste a moment. 

If you don't want a bulky reusable water bottle, there are several options that are made of materials that are lightweight and simple to carry around. 

14. The Right Sunscreen

Having the right sunscreen on your tropical vacation is essential.  

You want to make sure that you have the correct SPF for your skin type and you also want to make sure that you check the bottle for fragrance-free sunscreen.  

It's also important to consider the difference between face sunscreen and body sunscreen.  

Your face needs a stronger SPF to keep it from burning, so it's important to purchase an entirely separate sunscreen for your face.  

Anything lower than SPF 30 is not even worth buying because it doesn't protect you for long enough, and it will force you to reapply constantly.  

Consider SPF 50 and above for your body and your face. You will get tan, you just won't burn.  It's a win-win, and it's essential.  

15. Beauty Products

If you are heading out to fancy evenings, or you're someone that likes to wear makeup, make sure to pack a travel bag in your carry-on and another in your suitcase for all your makeup essentials.  

You want to make sure you have a bag for your products to keep them from leaking and melting.  

You also want to make sure there's enough room for your foundations, your mascaras, your eye shadows, and more. If you’re also going to pack fragrances and lotions, you need to make sure your makeup bag is big enough for everything you need. 

16. Wet Wipes

Wet wipes are another essential that every woman needs throughout their travels. Before you enter and leave any room or building on your vacation, make sure to sanitize your hands.   

Right when you get on the plane, make sure to wipe down your seating area and your hands before you touch anything. These days, you never know. Having wet wipes and sanitary wipes are important in keeping you safe and healthy throughout your travels.  

You want to keep wet wipes on you also in case of accidental spills, too.  

17. Plastic Storage Bags

Where do you put your wet wipes and hand sanitizing wipes after you use them? In plastic storage bags! This is a big essential that you don't consider when packing, but once you’re traveling through the airport, and heading frequently to and from the beach, plastic storage bags start to come in handy.  

They can act as mini trash bags, and they can also help store other essentials that you might need on beach excursions.

18. Moisturizing Lip Balm

A good moisturizing lip balm goes a long way when you're at the beach and on the plane. Hot weather and travel can dry out your skin, and having the right lip balm that also acts as SPF is definitely essential. 

19. Hair Ties

Hair ties go a long way when traveling. You never know when you may need to put your hair up. Having more than enough hair ties is essential to a prepared vacation experience. 

A brush is also very important to bring on a tropical vacation. If your kids are popping in and out of the ocean frequently on your vacation, you want to make sure that you have a brush handy so that their hair doesn't get knotty.  

You also want to make sure that you keep your hair healthy by brushing it once a day throughout your travels.

20. Lotions and Moisturizers

Finally, make sure to pack enough lotions and moisturizers for after your beach days, and before you head out for the evening.  

Keeping your skin hydrated is important because it not only keeps you looking healthy, but it also keeps your skin moisturized and glowing on your vacation. It's really important to hydrate your skin with lotions, creams, and body after you’re at the beach for the entire day. 

 Your skin naturally dries out when you're sitting in the sun and in the salty waves. If you’re spending time in the sun with friends and family, you want to make sure that you continue to hydrate your skin so it doesn't dry out. 

Now You Know the Essentials

These are the 20 essentials you need to have a relaxing and prepared travel experience with your friends or family. If you have these 20 essentials packed in your suitcase for your vacation, there's not much else you need for a successful travel experience. 

Whether it's the right bathing suit or the perfect book, be sure to bring what's best for you—it's your vacation after all!

Sources: 

Travel Essentials for Women: 28 Must Haves (2022) | Plan, Ready, Go

32 Must-have Carry-on Travel Essentials, According to Travel Editors | Travel + Leisure

37 Travel Essentials Travel Experts Never Go on Vacation Without | SELF

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