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Are you a first-time solo traveler and need to know what to bring on your trip? Here are the solo travel essentials and ultimate packing guide you will need in 2023!
If you are traveling alone, you want to pack as lightly as possible. Why? Just imagine having two suitcases and your personal item, trying to catch the train. The first time I traveled to Europe, that was me. I learned the hard way that you must dumb it down when packing for a solo trip. It took me a few tries to get it right, and when I did, I created the ultimate guide & solo female travel essentials list.
For obvious reasons, you want to be prepared when traveling alone. Nothing worse than needing an essential travel item that you didn’t bring. Time wasted picking up that forgotten item is time you should be exploring. I like to keep my travel style as minimal as possible but chic.
Ultimate Packing Guide & Solo Travel Essentials
Packing Tips 101
- Pack Smart! Packing a bag sounds easy enough, but for your first timers careful not to overpack and carry around a lot of dead weight. If you are going for 10 days or less, try to carry on only.
- Limit the number of shoes! My biggest packing mistake when I took my first trip was overpacking with shoes! Pack the most comfortable walking shoes you have, a backup pair, and one slightly nicer pair, I wouldn’t bother with heels if possible.
- Consider buying compression packing cubes. These are a real space saver and can help you stay organized! Also, rolling your clothes is a good way to create more space. If you are packing bulky shoes, stuff socks, and undergarments in them for extra space.
- Don’t forget supplements and prescription medications. You should prioritize this essential item and purchase a handy pill organizer.
- Limit your liquids! We are still doing the clear plastic bag for liquids, so consider getting powdered products whenever you can. Items such as dry shampoo, sunscreen, and toothpaste are all items you can get in powder form. For all liquids use travel-sized toiletries.
Top Solo Travel Essentials
Solo Travel Luggage
I can’t stress this phrase enough, “you get what you pay for.” Investing in a quality suitcase is something I suggest you consider. It is the staple to your travel style and your best friend along the way.
I am not suggesting you go and break the bank, but you can expect to pay $250 + for quality. Bric’s is a brand I trust. I currently travel with the black 21″ Rolling Duffle, and I own the 30″ Spinner.
The Rolling Duffle has been wonderful as packing for carry-on for many of my adventures. This suitcase was my 4-week travel companion a couple of years back.
Quality Luggage for Solo Travel
BRIC’S X TRAVEL CARRY ON LUGGAGE – 21 INCH
Best Travel Backpack
Bric’s X Travel Backpack
Travel Bag For Weekender Trips
Bric’s X Bag Overnight Duffle
Essential Clothing Items: Solo Travel Packing List
I overpacked on my first solo trip because I wanted to be prepared for everything. That meant I packed for any occasion that could possibly come up, like dinner with the Queen.
I packed outfits for this trip that covered every possible scenario. What if I was to find myself going to a fancy restaurant or on a hike in the woods? I packed more shoes and purses than you can imagine.
My biggest takeaway from this trip was how little I used the checked suitcase. I came to realize two things. I wanted to be comfortable and carry the least amount of crap possible.
If you are wondering what the most important this is to pack, let me tell you…It’s comfortable shoes!
Essential Items you will find in my travel bag
- My travel style is casual and cute, and my top pick for shoes is Aleader Energy Cloud. My suggestions for footwear on your trip: cute boots, comfortable sneakers, and sleek flats. It is a weight saver, not to mention a space saver!
- I love wearing leggings when I travel. Not only are they very comfortable, but they are also very easy to pack. On a trip longer than 3 days I bring 2 to 3 pairs.
- Comfortable tops, usually a solid color, and more often than not, in black. I want to point out that when I travel solo I don’t like to stand out. I dress very casually and leave all my expensive items at home.
- Scarf (for winter destinations). This scarf also has secret compartments for your valuables. I love having less to carry.
- Dresses (in summer). Flowy dresses are perfect for a warm weather travel destination. They also fit very easily into that carry-on bag.
When it comes to bringing extra accessories, pack wisely. I really suggest you go understated as well. Traveling is not the time to show off your trendy bag. You want the least amount of attention possible when traveling solo.
During the day I like to carry a little bit bigger purse so that I can fit my camera in it. I like a really small lightweight bag that can go hidden under my arm for dinner.
It’s good to have a thin fabric bag within your bag just in case you buy a couple of souvenirs. Having an extra bag just in case you need it is a good idea.
Best Purse for Mirrorless Camera
I absolutely love this camera purse! It is by far the chicest bag I have found that can fit a mirrorless camera.
This purse comes in black full-grain leather as well as in cognac.
It is nice enough to use later in the evening as your travel purse.The Claremont – Full Grain Leather – Black
The perfect women’s camera bag and was designed specifically to fit and protect a DSLR … [More]Price: $368.00
Fanny Pack / Money Belt
Another essential accessory to consider when traveling solo is packing is a fanny pack and/or money belt.
Both are great to have if you are taking solo excursions and don’t want to bother with a purse.
A money belt is especially one of those important things you want to have in areas that are prone to pickpockets.
I always have one or the other when I travel for easy access to credit cards and other valuables.
Travel documents are essential things that you want to keep close to you when traveling.
A belt bag is the best way to keep your passport and other important documents safe.
Essential Travel Tech Items
Phone chargers are an obvious necessity. So many times my phone’s battery drained fast because I was using Google maps. Don’t forget a reliable portable charger like this one!
Another essential travel item is the travel adaptor! This adaptor is a worldwide international wall charger with USB ports. Great to have a backup when traveling solo. With lots of positive reviews, I can personally recommend it.
It’s good to have a universal USB Cord for a couple of reasons. I carry an extra in my bag at all times!
A local sim card is a good idea when traveling abroad. Make sure your phone carrier allows you to use and alternative sim. This is a great way to save money as some cell phone companies don’t have great international coverage.
Safety Essentials For Solo Female Travelers
The most important thing when you travel alone is staying safe. In this ultimate packing guide of solo travel essentials, I wanted to include some of the key safety items you can bring with you.
Personal Safety Alarm
Portalable Door Locks
Essential Travel Extras
Don’t forget all those little travel extras you will find yourself needing along the way! Packing cubes are a great way to help keep the bag organized, and they are a great space saver!
Little travel bottles are a necessity when traveling carry-on only. I really like the trick of getting samples of your favorite products for daily use instead of filling your single-use plastic bags with small bottles.
A passport cover is one of those little travel extras that are practical and stylish.
Most accommodations will have a hairdryer. But, remember all hairdryers are not created equal. The hairdryers in most hotels are fixed to the wall. These hairdryers are low quality, and pump out as much as a high-powered fan. If you are traveling for more than a few days, you should think about carrying your own. The GHD brand is a high-quality travel-sized hairdryer.
These budget airlines are sticklers for luggage weight! And, they are counting on you to overpack! Did you know they will walk around with one of these scales right before you board? SAVE yourself some money, and get a luggage scale!
Solo Travel Tips
1. Bring a travel Journal
Solo adventures are extra special because you have time to connect with yourself. Focusing truly on yourself and what you want for your day.
Your days will be what you want to make of them! Something to help keep you busy in those moments of downtime is journaling. I love bringing a travel journal with me to dinner. It is also a great place to write down your travel plans for your next solo trip!
Keep a family member and close friends update with your itinerary. You can even share your location with Google maps.
3. Sit a the bar when possible
Dinner time can be a lonely time if you let it. This is why I recommend sitting at the bar for dinner. It is my ultimate guide tip for the female solo traveler.
4. Download all the travel apps
As a seasoned solo traveler, I know all the best travel apps! Google translate can be one of the most helpful for the language barrier.
5. Remember Feminine Hygiene products
One of the travel essentials for women is feminine hygiene products! In some destinations, it may be tricky to find what you need. A great idea would be to bring a reusable product such as the diva cup.
Looking for more travel gear for solo travelers? What you are looking for is here on the list of 33 best travel gear for women!
FAQs for Solo Travel Essentials
The most important items to be sure you have is a passport, credit cards, prescriptions, and battery chargers. Anything you forget can likely be purchased in a pinch.
You never want to be without phone service, identification, money, or medicine.
After countless solo trips of lugging around items I thought I might need, and didn’t, my answer is no.
Instead of bringing things you might not need, leave room in your carry-on for gifts and things you might want to buy.
Bringing your computer on trips is a personal choice. When I travel I do bring my laptop, but only if I know I will use it. Ultimately it is one more thing that will weigh you down and have to worry about its safety.
Great tips! Highly recommend the Capitola watch. I’ve had it for 2 years…still going strong.
Thank you for sharing these tips! Will keep this in mind when packing for my carry-on
Alexandra B says
Thanks so much for sharing these tips!! I always struggle with packing for a trip. I also love the passport cover idea!
Sorry not related to this post, but I do want to comment how clean and beautiful your page is!
Sarah Barthet says
This article is so incredibly useful!! I never thought about buying an external battery but it’s something I definitely need!!
Great tips, I would agree with you completely on not over packing, I am lucky and don’t over pack on clothes or shoes, but I know so many who do. I also could not live without my extra battery bank, they are so small and compact but so easy to recharge the batteries on my electronics.
Olga Maria says
Great tips! As a woman who always travel solo myself, I like having things that make easier a breeze. I definitely need to bring extra fabric bag for small item purchases.
This is such a great packing guide. I travel solo all the time. Love it!