It is incredible to think that just over three years ago (and to some extent now) I was a novice traveler. At 23, I was bright-eyed and practically had the words “have passport, will travel” tattooed on my forehead. Ohhhhh, did I have so much to learn.
The passport is essential, it’s huge, but there are so many little bits and bobs that can make the trip that much easier. I thought that I would share some packing essentials for new solo female travelers (and maybe even some of you seasoned vets out there). Here’s a shortlist of things I always throw in my bag before jetting off, whether I’m going to Birmingham or Hong Kong.
9 Things Every Solo Female Traveler Needs
- WetOnes: Or whatever brand you prefer, but disinfectant wipes when traveling are an absolute must-have. I like WetOnes because they disinfect but are also skin-safe so that they can be used for messy hands, as well. You may also want to supplement with flushable wipes. These are great for freshening up after you land or while on the plane.
- Hand Sanitizer: Second to the wipes is definitely carrying a small hand sanitizer. Planes (and sometimes airports) are really gross places, full of germs and recycled air. Hand sanitizer is a nifty way to try to keep germ free during your travels. This is particularly important in the age of COVID. People are gross, so protect yourself, ladies!
- Flashlight: So, this may be a less obvious item to pack, but all the same, I recommend that you bring along a flashlight when you travel. As my mom always says, “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” Also, a small travel flashlight and double as a self-defense tool, that is especially handy for people who like to travel on their own. I carry a J5 Hyper-V flashlight in my bag on regular outings, and in my carry-on while I’m going. It’s about the width of my hand and has raised groves around the light that is capable of some significant rug burn. Although it’s small, it features a 400 Lumen brightness (I promise this isn’t a paid advertisement lol). I have linked the flashlight in this list if anyone is interested, it’s only $30 and could help you out in a pinch.
- Tea or Coffee, Snacks, & a Bottle: So, this is another item that might surprise you, but picture this. You’ve managed not only to snag a killer flight to London, but you’ve also found a return ticket to Oslo for ten dollars. So there you stand, on the corner of a slush (formally snow…I think) covered sidewalk, cold to your core. Do you know it would be great? Tea! Do you know what is unnecessarily expensive? Tea! Don’t you wish you just had to buy hot water now?
That weirdly specific, but entirely hypothetical, example aside, it’s also handy to have when you’re staying in a hostel or a hotel and just can’t be asked to leave again (partially because, as a Floridian, you cannot deal with walking in snow) and are yearning for the sweet embrace of caffeine. In that same vein, if you can spare the space, I also highly recommend bringing a reusable mug and a water bottle. It also provides a convenient place to store your coffee or tea and sugars.
Snacks—snacks—snacks! I cannot live without them, and on a long-haul flight, these are essential. Especially if you are like me and rarely sleep on flights. It’s just a movie binge-fest, and you’re bound to get hungry between the strangely early dinner, and the sort of sparse breakfast served before the descent. It’ll save you a bundle instead of buying overpriced broth they’ve deceivingly named soup.
- OTC Medicine: This a staple—especially on long haul flights or in low-quality airlines. Between the recycled air, the weird (but very delicious) plane food, and the stress of travel days, there are a few items I recommend throwing in your carry-on before jetting off.
- Cystex: this is an overt the counter medication that helps with UTI. I know some people don’t like getting up to go on flights, and this is a real concern for these people. If you’re prone to hold it (which I don’t recommend), this is key.
- Advil Cold & Sinus: this is actual life (I promise, this is also not a paid advertisement). I live and die by Advil Cold & Sinus. If you’re feeling a bit grimy all around, this is the OTC for you. But simple paracetamol or ibuprofen is also handy.
- A Pen: Just a plain old pen…tactical if ya nasty. Seems like a duh kind of thing, right? I have been on far too many flights with people looking wise-and-otherwise when the need for a pen arises. Whether you chat up your neighbor and decide to exchange information the old-fashioned way or (and far more likely) some pre-landing immigration paperwork is passed out, a pen is essential to being a prepared traveler. This will help you get ahead in the queue and save the frustration of writing with a tiny chain pen while you watch the line to the border get longer and longer.
7. First Aid Kit: A basic necessity, and also a place to shove a few of those tablets I mentioned earlier. Accidents happen, and as mom says, “better to have,” eh?
8. Mini Survival Kit: So, my kit came from my generous and always prepared mother. It’s not something I’d recommend you put in your carry-on, although I do not believe there is anything that could be confiscated and usually travel with mine in the carry-on if I have the room. I use the Stealth Angel kit. This is an 8-in-1 kit that has several good things to have handy for solo travelers. It takes care of two of the items on this list (a flashlight and a tactical pen). I’ve posted the link above.
9. Portable Charger and a converter: These are probably another no-brainer for the modern-day traveler, but a dependable portable charger is your very best friend. Trust me, the suspiciously cheap charger they are selling in Primark is not gonna do right by you, so spend the money. I also always keep a Euro charger in my bag. It’s pretty easy to determine which plug based on the country unless you’re going to Asia/Africa. It may be worth the money to invest in a multi-destination converter.
I hope you guys find this list helpful! Please, let me know what your must-haves are for when you travel!Comment below with your thoughts a comments!
Until next time, stay safe out there!
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