After visiting over 80 countries in the last 12 years, I’ve come to a short list of planning/packing hacks I give to my girlfriends. I figured it may help others as well, so I am posting here. If you have a question about something that is either already posted on this list or not addressed at all, please let me know and I will try my best to help out!
The tips below are in no particular order, but hit all the basics:
- only bring jewelry you can wear everyday and make sure it is not flashy in anyway shape or form
- tampons can be impossible to find, so bring a big box of the tiny ob kind and pay attention to your stash (throw away the box before you go, and store them around your suitcase)
- specific toiletries you like and medicines are likely not to be found abroad, try to figure out exactly how much you’ll need and plan accordingly
- the absolute basics are easy to find, but things like non-comedogenic cosmetics of any kind are not in existence. Even deodorant is likely not similar to what you are used to – typically stores carry spray and rarely carry old style roll ons. No Secret here, that’s for sure!
- bring a single article of clothing (shawl/cover up) that can be carried with you at all times in conservative countries/regions – shoulders and knees can be forbidden dependent on beliefs. In places like Thailand, you will even need to wear long pants at most temples…
- 2 or 3 pairs of shoes will do, one heavy duty sneaker, one sandal and if you can fit it one pair of closed toe flats. If you have a shoe size larger than 8.5 don’t expect any affordable store in Asia to carry your size.
- if you like having your toe nails painted and will be traveling to non-developed areas, simply have them painted once before you leave and bring the bottle of polish with – you can touch up as needed.
- sports bras are a safer bet considering the lack of western laundry facilities – they roll up well and can be washed in the sink.
- yoga pants are amazing, but be sure to bring a few looser items of clothing when visiting specific cultures
- roll all of your clothes in order to fit in the max. I organize using these handy little zip up cases. You can get them for $22.95
- If you want to simplify while abroad – practice low maintenance hair (10 mins or less) if you have either curly hair that you can mousse and air dry or thin hair that blows out/dries in no time then you’re golden. For the rest of the population, I recommend trying a few things before leaving home and/or bringing dry shampoo with you to extend the amount of time you can last between washes. Other easy fixes include braiding, quick updos, headbands, and attempting the scrunch look with different products (it may look great – you don’t know until you try!)
- bring a travel nail kit with clippers, file, and cleaner at a minimum – here is a link to a great one I found on amazon
- I searched high and low for the best backpack and I found it! This is specifically for women, so if you are in the market, I’ve included the link here.
I hope these brief packing hacks for women have been helpful in some way. If you have anything additional to add or thought of questions, please let me know!