Top 20 Travel Essentials For Women You Haven’t Thought Of

Travel Essentials for Women

Published on: November 25, 2023

TL;DR: My top two favorite travel essentials for women are the Perfume Atomizer and the Foldable Water Bottle. I chose them for these key reasons:

  • They are small tools that can make a significant difference
  • Compact pieces are great for saving space
  • They’re reusable, which is great for your wallet and the environment.

We all know the stress of packing for travel can cloud your thought process. When you hear the phrase must-have travel essentials for women, what comes to mind?

I picture standard items like a travel pillow or neck pillow, travel-size bottles in a toiletry bag, or a travel jewelry organizer.

While all these things are travel essentials for women, this article will highlight some options you may not initially think of but will help you stay stress-free while traveling.

As a young woman with a fair amount of travel experience, I’ve had lots of time to think through the most helpful items. What’s emerged is a comprehensive list of lesser-known travel essentials for women. 

I’ve also included a list of travel essentials for women that your carry-on should include.

From travel insurance to a jean jacket, this article provides an excellent list to run through before your next trip. 

Read this article to review the standard items you’ll need and learn about some that may surprise you.

Travel Essentials for Women

Top 20 Travel Essentials You Didn’t Know You Need

The bottom half of a woman wearing jeans sitting on a purple hardside suitcase to squeeze it closed.

Digital Luggage Scale

Product image for the Digital Luggage Scale.

When it comes to travel tips that aren’t talked about enough, I always think of this digital luggage scale first. For me, it was a game-changer!

I first purchased one for my study abroad adventures. Surprisingly, not many others on my trip had one.

For this reason, I found myself lending it to many of my classmates who wanted to save money and check the weight of their bags before traveling.

Simply hook the scale around the luggage handle and choose your weight setting (lbs or kg).

This luggage scale is such a quick and inexpensive tool for traveling, and it has helped me avoid extra weight baggage fees more times than I can count! I cannot recommend this scale enough.

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Hanging Toiletry Bag

Product image for the Hanging Toiletry Bag.

I used to split my toiletries up into multiple different bags. When it was time to unpack at my accommodation, everything went everywhere.

Some of my toiletries, like face wash, would end up in the bathroom, while others, like perfume, found their way to different places in the accommodation (like a desk). My makeup bag always ended up wherever the best lighting in the room was. 

I ran back and forth in hotel rooms, trying to remember where I had placed which item or digging through my carry-on bag. 

That changed when I started using a hanging toiletry bag. Now all my products are in one place. 

I hung this bag in the bathroom when I arrived at my stay for the trip. With a hanging toiletries bag, ‘unpacking’ is a breeze, and everything’s easily findable for the remainder of the trip. 

It’s one of those travel essentials for women that’ll have you wondering how you survived without it.

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Foldable Water Bottle

Foldable Water Bottle

I bring a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go. The more dependent we are on reusable water bottles, the more we can reduce our use of plastic water bottles.

When traveling, I often aim to find products that are as compact as possible. This collapsible water bottle does just that. 

You can choose from a variety of BPA-free silicone colors. I love that this bottle comes with a carabiner, making it easy to clip onto the side of a travel bag. 

Check this foldable bottle out if you’re in the market for your first reusable water bottle or a water bottle you’d like to dedicate specifically for traveling.

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Lint Rollerball

Lint Rollerball

I’m pretty familiar with lint rollers, as I have a cat. As a matter of fact, my cat has white fur, and her hair is still all over my clothes, even when I am on trips.

That’s why I always travel with a lint roller. 

I prefer lint rollers like this Washable Reusable Gel Lint Roller because they are reusable. 

Instead of ripping off a used piece of paper to throw away, you simply rinse the roller under some water. After drying it off, you’ll be ready for another use. 

This roller offers convenience, compact size, and functionality while traveling.

Sunglasses Strap

Sunglasses Strap

Admittedly, I used to think sunglasses straps were only made of sporty materials and used by people who didn’t want to lose their glasses while on a speedboat.

That was until I came upon a cute sunglasses strap of my own, similar to this pack by Avitron.

While they’re commonly used for sunglasses, I use these for my AirPods! 

They’re on my list of travel essentials for international travel, and here’s why: 

I prefer AirPods to noise-cancelling headphones on long-haul flights because they make it easier to fall asleep. But when I toss and turn, my AirPods were always at risk of dropping out of my ears.

I no longer worry about that after slipping this strap into each airpod. I barely notice it’s there.

I love these braided PU leather options, but there are multiple other styles of sunglasses straps out there to explore.

Hat Clip

Foldable Water Bottle

Anyone who’s brought a sunhat on a trip knows that even though they’re fun to wear on vacation, they’re not always fun to lug around. 

I bought my first true sunhat last summer, and I’ve brought it with me on multiple trips since. 

I kept the elastic band attached inside the hat and used it to secure it to my bags. 

Well, I regret that the band snapped on my last venture. 

Had I had this hat clip, my problems would have evaporated. It’s a simple product but super helpful. Many people  (myself included) don’t realize it’s out there!  

This hat clip will make carrying your sunhat that much less stressful.

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2-in-1 Glasses and Contacts Case

Sunglasses Strap

I’m good at remembering to bring my glasses and contacts with me on trips, but I always forget contact solution.

If you’re a contact wearer like me, consider this 2-in-1 glasses and contact case for women’s travel essentials. 

This case keeps everything in one place instead of three and doesn’t waste any space. There’s even a small built-in mirror in the middle of the case. 

I love that there are divots specifically for the contact case and solution to reduce movement and the chance of spillage.

Toothbrush Cup Set

Toothbrush Cup Set

When I travel, I don’t like leaving my toothbrush on or exposed to the sink counter. I always search my accommodation for a drinking glass to use as a makeshift toothbrush holder. 

I got tired of always scavenging around cabinets, so I bought a toothbrush cup set like this. 

Now I know I always have a designated toothbrush cup (and drinking cup, should I need it!)

The only downside is that it takes up more space than a regular slim toothbrush holder. But I find the tradeoff worth it.

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Mini Flat Iron

Product image for the Mini Flat Iron.

Packing essentials for traveling are often just mini versions of things. That’s the case with this mini flat iron.

I have a lot of hair, so I walk around with damp hair for a long time after showering. If I’m lucky enough to find a blow dryer in the accommodation, my hair will still need some styling. That’s why my go-to is a multifunctional tool like this. 

I’ve included this flat iron on the list because it’s small and compact, and you can create a curl using a flat iron. Flat iron curls are becoming increasingly popular. If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, check out this YouTube video by Andreeva Nata. 

You can do more than one hairstyle with this tool, which is why I’ve included it on my women’s travel essentials list.

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Travel Hangers

Product image for the Travel Hangers.

If you’re heading on a business trip, you’ll likely have some clothes you’d rather keep orderly and hung up. But who would think to transfer hangers from their closet?

That’s where travel hangers like these come in: they fold up to save space. 

This set comes in a pack of 24, but bring as many as you’d like – even if that’s just one or two!

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Mini Steamer

Product image for the Mini Steamer.

We all know how traveling makes clothes prone to wrinkles. Using a travel steamer will help bring them back to ideal condition quickly. 

This steamer is handheld, modern, and sleek. It holds up to 70ml of water but is designed to avoid leakage. I use my handheld steamer even when I’m not traveling!

What I like about this specific model is you can use it for horizontal or vertical steaming.

A travel steamer is a perfect example of travel essentials for women who will need professional or picture-perfect clothing on their trip.

P.S. If you’re traveling internationally with this, don’t forget to bring a travel adapter for the plug!

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Dirty Laundry Bag

Product image for the Dirty Laundry Bag.

For the longest time, I used a plastic bag to put my dirty clothes in while traveling. 

The switch to a reusable bag for laundry was a slight change and a personal preference that had a surprisingly big impact. 

Whether it’s a short trip or a long trip, I love having a designated spot for used clothing– something that won’t crinkle and won’t rip.

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Canvas Shoe Bags

Product image for the Canvas Shoe Bags.

Depending on the type of trip you’re taking, odds are you’re bringing a variety of shoes.

Typically, I’ll wear my preferred walking shoes while actively traveling, but I have another set or two in my carry-on or weekender bag to use at my final destination. 

I’ll admit I used to throw my shoes in my suitcase uncovered. Looking back, all I can think about is how unsanitary that was. 

Especially when I take a hiking trip, hiking boots or hiking shoes often have even more dirt than standard shoes.

I first moved to putting my shoes in plastic bags before purchasing a set of cotton canvas shoe bags like these.

Like the reusable laundry pouch I mentioned, it was a minor change that made me feel more prepared and in order when it comes to packing.

And though I primarily use these for shoes, I’ve also thrown them in the washer and used them as makeshift packing cubes for belongings like undergarments or even tech gear when packing a suitcase.

These simple bags are another example of my favorite travel essentials for women. I cannot believe I went so long without them!

Travel Passport Holder

Product image for the Travel Passport Holder.

I was shocked to learn that people can attempt to steal your passport or personal information through scanners. 

When a family friend explained this concept to me, they recommended getting an RFID holder for valuable possessions like a passport and credit cards. 

This Amazon Basics RFID Travel Passport Wallet is simple and gets the job done. Place important pieces like your passport, credit cards, and IDs here while traveling, and they’ll stay protected.

Porta Wipes

Product image for the Porta Wipes.

My personal favorite feeling is cleaning my face with a towel after a long day. 

When traveling, I typically bring a pack of makeup wipes, but they don’t always get the best clean. 

Plus, I can think of one too many times that the package accidentally got knocked open in my bags, and the towelettes dried out.

I recently learned about these porta wipes. These small tablets expand into towelettes by adding a teaspoon of water. They come with waterproof cases, which makes them easy to load up for traveling. 

Like having a pack of tissues on hand, you never know when these will come in handy.

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Seabands

Product image for the Seabands.

Seabands work by applying pressure to the P6 nerve point on your wrist. They gained popularity as a natural alternative to typical anti-nausea medicines like Dramamine. According to this practice, the plastic stud on the band hitting that point will reduce nausea. 

The science behind these has been debated. Even if they are partially a placebo effect, I tend to test out items that offer a chance of helping at an affordable price. 

These bands come in a pack of four. They’re tiny, washable, and discreet (depending on your chosen color).

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Perfume Atomizer

Product image for the Perfume Atomizer.

I have a signature perfume scent, which I prefer to wear daily and while traveling. 

The travel size of my signature scent is only available in a glass bottle. I swore those off after my first one shattered all over my makeup bag once on a trip.

That led me to check out these perfume atomizers, allowing me to use my preferred scent in a compact and durable case. Ever since discovering them, I’ve considered them crucial travel essentials for women.

This Lisapack 8ML Atomizer is lightweight aluminum, making it as durable as a spay bottle can be.

The set comes with three atomizers, allowing you to bring more than one scent if you’d like.

P.S. I know I was confused the first time I saw these, so check out this Youtube Short about how to use the perfume atomizer.

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Iphone Holder Mount

Product image for the Iphone Holder Mount

Because I live abroad, I’m on multiple long flights anytime I visit home. My favorite way to pass the time is consuming media content.

On a long flight, you hope your headrest screen works (I’ll never forget how bored I was on a flight across the ocean where the screens were broken). 

Regardless, I always have some content downloaded on my phone just in case– whether it downloads on my Netflix or YouTube account. 

If you’re like me, you tend to stick your phone on whatever ledge you can find…which often leads to it falling into my lap. A solution to this problem is getting a proper phone holder for airplane seats. 

If you don’t have much room left in your bags, this item may seem like a luxury. But, for long flights, trust me– it may be worth it!

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Portable Mini Fan

Product image for the Portable Mini Fan.

Similar to bringing a portable power bank, I find carrying a portable mini fan is a no-brainer. 

Whether on a road trip, a long-haul flight, or any confined space, I find having a source of air is a life saver.

Then again, temperature matters, too. I’ll never forget a trip where I spent the night in a sticky, warm hostel room. Safe to say, I barely slept, and I purchased a portable mini fan shortly after.

This fan style takes up a bit more room than some smaller handheld options, but I find these to be a bit sturdier. The tradeoff of space for function is worth it.

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Standard One Piece Swimsuit

Product image for the Standard One Piece Swimsuit.

I love a classic black one-piece swimsuit for traveling. 

Sometimes, I bring mine as a backup. Other times, I bring it as my primary suit for the trip. It’s usually what I pick if I want a reliable, no-fuss swimsuit. 

Stylized bikinis are fun on a relaxing beach trip in warm weather, but I prefer swimsuits like the HAIVIDO one-piece for any spectrum of adventure travel. 

Plus, I love that this swimsuit looks like a top when you wear it with shorts.

What Do Women Need When Traveling?

A female traveler seen from behind wearing a brown, wide-brimmed hat and a green jacket holds up a map she she stands in a European town square.

Standard Items

Standard Travel Items

Depending on the length and destination of your trip, remember travel essentials like…

  • Phone
  • Tickets (printed or electronic)
  • Passport or ID
  • Cash
  • Medications
  • Travel Insurance  

Toiletries

A woman in a green sweater standing over a bed laid out with a suitcase and travel belongings and packing toiletries in a toiletry bag.

A glance at some solid toiletries for your packing list:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm
  • Face wash
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Body sunscreen (and face sunscreen!) 
  • Feminine products: period underwear, tampons, pads, or a period cup, etc.

Other standard products you may find helpful…

Face Wipes

Product image for the Neutrogena Face Wipes.

If you decide against a product like the porta wipes, the second best option is a pack of face wipes. There’s nothing better than the feeling of cleaning all the travel off your skin after a long journey.

I also use these wipes for my hands (I find they dry my hands out less than hand sanitizer).

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Razor

Product image for the Allyoop Razor.

This Alleyoop razor was designed with travel in mind, and at first glance, this kit screams  “travel essentials kit” packaged into one, too. 

This product includes a triple-blade razor, moisturizing bar, and refillable spray bottle. The cool part is that you can rotate the front dial to reveal each feature.

One disclaimer: this product was designed with touch-ups in mind. It’s great for throwing in your purse or taking a quick trip.

 If you want to do full shaves while traveling, don’t forget a regular razor.

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Portable Lock

Product image for the Portable Lock.

Though I hate to say it, for women, travel essentials should include safety tools. It’s hard (if not impossible) to travel with items like pepper spray…but there are other safety options.

This portable lock is becoming increasingly popular. I see most people bring this item with them for an added layer of security when staying in a hotel room or Airbnb. 

Essentially, you operate the lock by placing the metal piece between the door hole and closing the door. But, it may be easiest to watch one of the demonstration videos to figure out how to use it.

It’s small and portable, meaning you can bring it anywhere. It’s a small price to pay for a greater piece of mind.

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Universal Travel Adapter

Product image for the Universal Travel Adapter.

A travel adaptor is a tiny but mighty travel essential for international trips! They’re so helpful that I always keep two in my travel essentials bag. 

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Backpack/Personal Item Bag

Product image for the Backpack/Personal Item Bag in black.

Finding a good bag to use as a personal item or carry-on may be a process of trial and error. 

Start with this affordable and viral Coowoz Large Travel Backpack. You’ll learn which features matter more or less to you– ultimately leading you to the right bag.

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Travel First Aid Kit

Product image for the Johnson & Johnson Travel First Aid Kit.

While severe accidents should get medical attention, sometimes smaller accidents happen while traveling. That’s why this portable first aid kit is a good travel essential. 

With gear like a travel-sized Neosporin, you’ll be covered for any minor accidents and scrapes on the road.

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Tide to Go Pens

Product image for the Tide to Go Pens.

Tide-to-go pens easily make the list of travel essentials for women (though they help anyone). A big part of my personal travel experiences is food…and let’s just say I’m a bit clumsy. 

A Tide To Go pen has helped me more than I can count. This is one of those small but quick-fix tools I’m always grateful to have remembered when the time comes.

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Bonus Recommendations For My Favorite Other Travel Essentials

A pair of sunglasses, a hat, a towel, and other travel items laid out next to a red suitcase.

We’re travelers here at The Atlas Heart, which means we have many articles about travel gear you can locate in our Travel Gear Archives.

Here’s a glance at some of our top picks from top travel gear articles:

In our article on the Best Travel Purses, crossbody bags, or any type of anti-theft travel purse ranked highest on our list. We highlighted the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag as our top pick.

When researching Travel Backpacks, the NOMATIC Travel Pack stood out for its impressive variety of travel essential features and unique design.

When it came to Travel Pants, the Athleta Brooklyn Ankle Pants impressed us the most.

If your feet need a good pair of comfortable walking shoes or other Travel Shoes, we suggest the Allbirds Tree Runners.

If you struggle to fit everything in your suitcase, packing cubes are your perfect solution. The Peak Design Packing Cubes are our top pick out of the compression packing cubes we examined in our Packing Cubes article.. 

Travel Hairbrush

Product image for the Travel Hairbrush.

Never doubt the power of brushing your hair. I think a hairbrush should be on every travel essentials list for women.

I’m guilty of throwing my regular hairbrush in my carry-on bag. It takes up too much space, and the bristles are always at risk of getting smushed.

The NuWay hairbrush was designed for that exact situation. It’s compact and comes with a vented plastic cover. This protects their patented ‘brainy bristles’. 

In addition to using this for travel, keeping it in your purse or work bag daily would also be essential.

Portable Charger

Product image for the Portable Charger.

A portable charger is crucial to include among travel essentials for women who tend to be on the forgetful side of things. I may or may not be looking at myself…

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Apple Air Tags

Product image for the Apple Air Tags.

Apple air tags are important travel essentials for women. When you have a tight connection and want to know if your bag made the second plane, these tags have you covered. 

I’m not joking– this is the most common use of air tags as travel essentials that I’ve seen so far!

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Kindle

Product image for the Kindle.

If you’re a reader, it won’t matter whether you are headed on road trips or a beach vacation–

You’ll want a good book at your side. 

I’ve recommended a Kindle before, as they’re a travel essential for any reader who prefers easy accessibility to multiple books in a durable and compact tool. 

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Travel Umbrella

Product image for the Travel Umbrella.

Lugging an umbrella around isn’t necessarily fun, but getting stuck in the rain is neither. 

I always keep a small, compact travel umbrella in my suitcase. This way, I don’t have to make the distinct effort to remember to bring one– it’s just always there should I wake up and see a rainy forecast during one of my travel days.

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Travel Sewing Kit

Product image for the Travel Sewing Kit.

One time, I brought a new dress on a trip. I had been so excited to wear it specifically for a planned-out day. 

You can imagine my dismay when I realized a small hole had formed after catching something in my suitcase. That’s when my dad (my dad, of all people!) pulled out a tiny travel sewing kit. 

Granted, his kit included only needles and thread, but this Fiskars Sewing Kit set has 27 items. Don’t be alarmed by that number because they all fit into a TSA-compliant case.

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Travel Clothing Set

Product image for the Travel Clothing Set in black.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit a matching set is not necessarily essential clothing for travel, but I love it when you don’t have to overthink what to wear at the airport or for transportation. 

It’s nice to have an outfit planned and ready to go, especially when you’re heading out the door. It’s even better when that outfit is something you feel cute and comfortable in.

Phone Crossbody Case

Product image for the Phone Crossbody Case in black.

I live in Florence, Italy, one of the most popular tourist destinations. With that comes an unfortunate amount of pickpockets, and phones are often the go-to target. 

I have seen a massive boom in the popularity of these phone crossbody cases. 

It’s one of those simple but effective items that will make you wonder why they haven’t been popular forever. 

Some are more elaborate, but even a standard one will do a great job. 

I use mine primarily for my walks to and from work. During the warm weather season, I didn’t have a jacket with pockets to keep it in. 

It’s an excellent way to keep my phone within reach instead of buried in my tote bag. This way, I easily text or browse my phone as I walk.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Monroe Dziersk Profile Pic

Monroe Dziersk

Monroe Dziersk is a twenty-something American who has lived in the USA, Italy, and Czechia. A self-proclaimed Europhile, she has a passion for international education, traveling, and becoming a global citizen, having visited more than twenty countries. You can often find her accompanied by a good book and her calico cat.


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