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Women on the Road

Indispensable Travel Accessories for Women:
Your Complete Guide
How to figure out what you actually NEED for your trip

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Do you ever pull your hair out when you're trying to pack? Is your bag so stuffed it's about to fly open and scatter your unmentionables across the airport?

That would be no surprise, given the number of travel accessories for women on the market: bottles, cables, clothes... It's a jumble out there and it needs sorting out.

With a lifetime of travel and more than 80 countries under my belt, I've learned a few tricks about "stuff" and I'd love to help you handle the dreaded art of packing.

Suitcases - travel accessories for womenOnce upon a time it didn't matter what you packed - you could take it all

Pack like a pro with these 10 travel essentials for women

The easiest way to decide what to take is to chunk it down.

I've broken down the packing process into 10 categories. You, of course, can break it down any way you please!

1. What should I take with me? I want to take it all.
You don't have a packing list? Here you go! Being systematic works better than shoving random items into a suitcase. Having a list is the best way to make sure you don't leave half of what you need behind or pack useless stuff. You don't have to take everything - but you do need a list. 

2. What do I put it all in? Do I need a suitcase? A backpack?
You may be a carry-on gal, or perhaps you travel with a fabulous women's backpack - just make sure you're comfortable pulling, hauling or lifting it. And do go light: you may be climbing stairs or hopping on buses. For daytime, take along a travel daypack or handbag, unless you plan to drag your luggage around with you all day.

3. What kind of clothes should I take?
Next come your travel clothes. Heading for the mountains? You'll want women's hiking boots that fit, or sturdy but soft hiking sandals. On an African safari? You could do worse than a travel skirt, comfortable travel bras and long-lasting travel underwear. Headed into the wet? Waterproof clothing and rain gear might be what you need.

4. How do I keep a record of my trip? I'll never remember it all!
Many of us carry smartphones but there's something about describing the day in a travel journal, something a bit more 'real'. If you're more technically inclined and the phone won't do, give some thought to a travel laptop but again, weight is your enemy when you travel. 

5. Those airport security measures... mean I can't take anything with me!
These days you're only allowed minuscule bottles if you have any intention of flying. You'll find most things you need overseas so take along only what you desperately need: special creams and lotions, your favorite exotic toothpaste or that cute little frog you can't travel without...

6. Will I find things like medicines and tampons?
You'll need to take your own prescriptions of course (including for glasses or contacts) but also specific women's travel accessories - sanitary pads, tampons, painkillers - if you're not sure of what to take have a look at these travel personal hygiene tips.

7. How do I keep from having my money stolen?
My one must-have is a travel money belt - though some of my friends prefer a leg wallet or neck wallet or even a bra purse. All are good. For evenings out, ditch the belt in favor of a cool urban money pouch or scarf.

8. How do I stay safe when I'm traveling?
Safety is always top of mind when we travel. Depending where you go, here are a few things you might not know you need: a Swiss Army knife, the best flashlight money can buy, a travel mosquito net (for those buggy tropical nights), a first aid kit checklist or, if you're heading way off the track, a personal locator beacon to call for help.

9. What about all those other things - papers, or my favorite items?
Some things are essential - like your passport or travel visa or travel insurance. Others are little things that make your trip so much better, like a great travel towel or a non-run pen or a postcard from home to give away to new friends. (I've gathered some cool travel gifts for you - in case your friends and family are looking for something to get you before you leave!)

10. I'm a techie and carry all sorts of gear with me...
I often travel with more cables than toiletries. Many of my friends carry travel cameras but I use my iPhone to travel ultra-light. Others take along a Kindle and those without phones may pack a translation device. But yes, you'll need to take along a reasonable amount of gear.

It's true, deciding what to pack can be a nightmare, but no, you don't have to end up with your unmentionables sliding across the tarmac. 

And just in case you haven't done it yet, go on over to my packing list - it will help take some of the angst out of packing and help you feel wonderfully organized.