Indispensable Travel Accessories For Women

Short on time and money? I’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you by listing the types of items you’ll need on your trip. Here is an overview of indispensable travel accessories for women who are looking for affordable, stylish and thoughtful recommendations. 

With a lifetime of travel and 99 countries under my belt, I’ve tried plenty of travel accessories and I’m going to share my favorites with you.

Below you’ll find them all, divided into categories to simplify your search. First I’ll list the type of item, and then I’ll provide a link to my in-depth explanations, buying guides and recommendations.

All these items come from personal experience and extensive research, on everything you could possibly need, from carry-on baggage to mosquito nets to money belts.

Old suitcases - travel accessories for women
Once upon a time it didn’t matter what you packed – you could take it all

Start with packing lists

The best travel accessories for women are those you take with you, so this first section deals with packing lists and items you can’t possibly travel without.

Long-term packing list

This ultra-complete long-term packing list comes from decades of trial and error. But if you’re off on a shorter trip, just pick and choose what you’ll need. You’ll find my full travel list online here or download a printable version.

What to pack for a long flight

Being comfortable during a long flight makes a huge difference in how you feel when you finally land. True, you won’t really be rested, but at least you won’t feel like something the washing machine spit out. Here’s how to pack for a long-haul flight.

Packing list for Europe

Europe is seen – sometimes though not always rightly as a stylish continent where standard travel clothes might not fit in. But the continent has become far more casual, so please check out my list of travel accessories for Europe, where I combine essential travel items with the best travel clothing brands and stylish travel accessories.

What to bring for your airbnb stay

Staying at an Airbnb can be a great experience – but you don’t want to find out you’re missing some essentials – here’s a complete Airbnb packing list.

Tropical vacation packing list

If you’re headed for the tropics, you’ll need a different kind of list. (Leech socks or mosquito tent, anyone?)

Tropical sunset over the sea
The South China Sea is one of the most amazing vistas in the world – but it’s in the tropics and you’ll need to protect yourself against mosquitoes in that part of the world

First aid checklist

Even if you’re going on a relatively safe trip to an urban environment with pharmacies on every corner, a well-stocked can come in extremely handy when a pharmacy is closed. Here’s what you should take with you.

Personal hygiene

Don’t forget those additional items that will make your trip so much easier – and find out why I suggest you pack unique travel accessories, like a sarong…

Luggage and bags

Once you’ve decided what you’re taking with you, what do you put it all into? Every woman has a different travel style and below I’ll try to cater to each one.

Carry-on bags

I’ve managed to fit a month’s worth of clothes and gear into a carry-on suitcase.

Travel bags for women who travel light
Women who travel know that packing light makes it easy to catch those tight connections – hence my limited travel bags

Small suitcases with wheels

Do we really need wheels on a suitcase? Don’t they get in the way, prevent suitcases from lying flat, or break? Here are the pros and cons of wheeled luggage, and which are the best ones.

Personal items bags for the plane

In addition to your carry-on, airlines also allow a personal item for your essentials and valuables.

Travel packing - travel luggage organizer cubes
This is what my packing looks like for two weeks: a personal item (my messenger bag) and a small carry-on with my travel organizer bags aka packing cubes

Travel daypacks

You can use a travel daypack as a personal item, which you can then repurpose for other occasions, from a daylong hike to an urban business trip.

Travel backpacks

You may not be the carry-on type – could you be the backpack type? If you’re going any place rural (or with a cobblestone streets), a bag on your back can be much easier to carry if you have the strength. You’ll also pack lighter naturally since you’ll be conscious of having to carry everything on your back. Click here to find out more about women’s travel backpacks.

Anti-theft backpacks

If you do consider backpacks for travel, there’s a new range of anti-theft backpacks whose designers aim to keep pickpockets and thieves at bay.

traveling bags - Pacsafe backpack
My latest acquisition – an anti-theft Pacsafe backpack, the ultimate luggage for women who want to keep their hands free at all times

Women’s anti-theft purses

This is a must-have on my list of travel essentials, because it helps keep my belongings safe. Find out which are the best anti-theft travel bags: Pacsafe? Travelon? Or try one of these 7 best travel handbags.

Best travel gear - Pacsafe travel bags for women
Not my most elegant shot but as usual, toting my Pacsafe anti-theft bag (this time in Kyrgyzstan)

Packing cubes

My life changed after I got a set of these – they completely revolutionized the way I pack by keeping things organized and allowing me to unpack and repack quickly. Here’s why you should get some, and which ones are the best.

Travel safety items and accessories

Once you know what to take and what to pack it in, you’ll want to keep your items safe.

Hotel room safety gadgets

Using the hotel safe might not be the best solution for your belongings. Here are som other hotel safety items, to keep both yourself and your belongings safer.

Travel money belt

They come and go when it comes to fashion but so far, they’re still among the best ways to keep pickpockets out of your valuables. Here are my top picks, including one that’s waterproof, along with some leg wallets, usually worn by men but also liked by some women.

Travel money belts are among the best travel accessories for women
These are just two of the money belts I tested on my latest trip to West Africa

Infinity pocket scarf or pouch

Woman wearing an infinity scarf for travel

If there’s one item that can replace the money belt, the infinity scarf it is. Some of them can easily hold up to two passports as well as cards, and accessing your valuables is easier than with a money belt. Read my recommendations. (this is one of the most useful travel accessories I own) or buy one right away here.

Travel flashlights

In case of fire or accident or if your phone runs out of juice, you’ll be glad to have a travel flashlight.

Travel mosquito net

This will only be useful if you’re heading for the tropics but if you are, you should take a travel mosquito net with you. Find out which one I use, and why. If you really don’t want a net, consider taking along some clothes designed to repel mosquitoes.

travel gear women - clothing for tropical climates - monkey sitting in a tree
In some parts of the world, you can’t do without the right bug spray or protective clothing

Geosure safety app

This little app allows you to research your destination’s safety score ahead of time, and on a much more local and specific level than government advisories. Find out more – it’s free.

Cool travel accessories and best travel gadgets

Travel journals

Ah, how I love stationery! Here is my list of gorgeous travel journals for those of you who want to keep track of your journeys, feelings and adventures – an amazing way to record your adventures or relive them when you’re home..

travel journals - one of my favorite and best travel accessories
Some old travel journals from past trips to Africa, Cuba, the Baltics… I’ve saved every one!


I don’t have a page dedicated to comparing the different Kindles, but I do think you ought to get one (unless your eyesight is still good enough to read a book on your phone or you’re taking books with you).

The best travel gifts

If you have another traveler in your life, how about one of these items on my travel gift guide for solo female travelers – all are under $30!

Travel amulets

Not everyone believes in luck, but if you do, here are some beautiful (and sometimes handmade) travel amulets.

Travel guidebooks

I still prefer travel guidebooks to online information – just call me old-fashioned. Here are the ones I rate most!

Travel intangibles

There aren’t things you’ll pack but they will help make your trip more enjoyable and safe.

Protect your identity with a VPN

You already know this but public WIFI is notoriously unsafe: whenever you login to an “unsecured” WIFI, you may be risking your identity, your data, your passwords and bank accounts… Stealing your information has become scarily easy and can be done, from a mobile phone or laptop, by someone sitting right next to you – without your knowledge. There’s really only one way to protect yourself: by using a virtual private network, or VPN. I never log on without using mine, period.

Travel insurance

An unexpected incident during a trip to Washington DC would have relieved me of $25,000 had I not had travel insurance, so beware. Sadly, though, many travel insurances won’t cover you after a certain age, so here are some that do.

Travel visas

These are just as important as the best women’s travel gear: in some countries, you’ll need a visa to even be allowed to board the plane. Click here to find out more about visas.

Visa to Uzbekistan
Depending on the country, a travel visa will be among your essential travel products

Fear of flying course

You probably don’t expect a woman who has been travelling for 50+ years to need a fear of flying course – but it’s been known to happen! All of a sudden, I no longer liked the idea of hanging out in a tin can six miles above land, I highly recommend this course I took to help me cope. It significantly helped reduce my panic and these days, I occasionally even look forward to flying.

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