You’ve probably heard of the usual ‘travel essentials for women’, whether you’re a frequent traveller or not. Things like toiletries, underwear, phone chargers, a toothbrush, and the likes. But while these things are standard items that go into travel kits for women, there are some items that we tend to overlook. But these are equally as important, if not more so.
You can stow these away in your suitcase or stuff them in your backpack, as they are packable. We’ll begin with things that seem obvious, but are really easily forgotten. Then, we end with the ones you never even thought of needing.
Use this ultimate guide to remind you of useful essentials you need to invest in before your travels.
Top 10 Overlooked Travel Essentials for Women
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Okay, let’s begin with the most obvious one that’s still largely overlooked. If you’re not familiar with this, powerbanks are portable charging devices that are very handy. They will provide stable temporary power until you can get your gadget charged. These are especially important for those who constantly use their smartphones and tablets. They come to the rescue in situations where the battery of your gadget is about to die or is already dead.
Most people rush to grab their charger. But what will you do if you get stuck in a place with no electrical outlets? What if you were in a long train/coach ride? What if you were taking selfies on top of a mountain and then suddenly you ran out of battery? Luckily, if you have a powerbank
with you, you won’t run into this kind of trouble. Just make sure to charge the power bank overnight before your planned travel to ensure maximal power.
Right now, more than ever, safety should be your priority. As restrictions start to ease and travel is slowly running back up again, you can’t underestimate the presence of bacteria and viruses. Seriously, they’re everywhere. Whether you’re travelling by plane, train, coach, car, or a bike, your hands will most likely touch things or people.
The first caution to take is to wash your hands before you touch your things or your face. But when travelling, there isn’t always a toilet or a restroom available to wash your hands. And water alone doesn’t do the trick – you need soap!
So, what do you do when there’s no water and soap available? You sanitise your hands using hand sanitiser. Ideally, you would want one that has at least 60% alcohol to guarantee maximum protection against dangerous organisms, and just dirt in general. Doing so will mostly protect you, but remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water the first time you get a chance. Because while hand sanitisers kills viruses and bacteria, they won’t rid of all the dirt and other contaminants you may come into contact with.
Feminine Hygiene Products
Getting your period shouldn’t preclude you from the joys of travelling. Whether you get them regularly or not, these monthly visitors may come in at any time and surprise you! What’s worse is that you may be stuck at a deserted island or in a remote area where your normal sanitary products aren’t readily available. There’s also nothing worse than using a disposable sanitary product and then not having anywhere to dispose of it safely and cleanly. After all, we have to take care of our environment.
The best solution? A menstrual cup! Loads of women shy away from cups because they feel intimidated. But just remember that a cup is the single most efficient way to hold your discharges, and they are eco-friendly. You don’t have to dispose it every time and only really need water to clean it up before the next use.
And because it holds more volume than your average pad/tampon, you might be back to your hotel/hostel just before you need to clean it up. It’s also useful to know that a reusable cup costs £15-£20, and lasts you for about 10 years. That means less waste in landfills and less money expenditure. It’s easily one of the most important travel essentials for women.
If you’re not worried about periods at all, as a woman you will still always want to stay fresh and keep it clean down there. If you’re going to be out and about for hours or for the most part of your day, you can keep your underwear fresh and dry by wearing a sanitary pad or a pantyliner, as some would call it. Wearing one will protect you from leakages, discharges, and even unexpected periods. They basically block moisture from seeping into your underwear which can be uncomfortable and, of course, unhygienic.
First Aid Medicines
Travelling should be fun. So, when you’re in pain, whether anticipated or not, this is a sure shot way of ruining plans. Plan ahead and bring first aid items such as painkillers with you in case you get muscle aches, cramps, or any dull pain that might hinder you from enjoying your holiday. It can be a quick remedy as well while you wait to get to a doctor, if there’s a need for one. Make sure these stay with you in your backpack so you can easily grab it when in need.
If you are one of the many people who get hay fever, allergic rhinitis, or just unluckily gets bitten by a bug, then you most likely will have already used antihistamines. Don’t risk ruining your group photo by having a teary eye and a red nose! Antihistamines commonly cure hives, itching, sneezing, runny nose, feeling sick (nausea) and being sick (vomiting). Just make sure to get the non-drowsy kind so you don’t fall asleep in the middle of a tour!
Finally, and probably the most important travel essential, the anti-diarrhea pills. If you’re travelling to an area where either the sanitary practices, the food or the climate are different than what you’re used to at home, you might experience what’s called a traveller’s diarrhea.
Usually, it’s most often caused by consuming food or water that your body isn’t use to. You can also get diarrhea if you get stressed during your travels. So, take precaution and bring these pills or a pepto-bismol with you just in case it happens to you!
The best thing to do is to carry a small travel first aid kit.
Whether you’re travelling to a sunny destination or not, the sun is always present and will expose you to UV rays. When we travel, we are most often than not, outdoors. So, it’s best to always come prepared. And you better do it ASAP, too. As soon as you walk out of your door to jet off to your journey’s end, you are immediately at risk.
Apply it even before you get on the airplane, because as small as the window may be, you are close to the ozone layer while up there! Get a sunscreen that has a minimum of SPF 30. Not only will you protect your face from sunburns, you will also guarantee you won’t be a victim of premature ageing. You won’t want to forget this travel essential!
It’s always wise to research and plan ahead before your scheduled travel. One of the things I always pack is my set of travel adaptors. If you live in the UK and the EU, this is most especially true because even the closest neighbouring country will most definitely have a different electrical socket/plug.
When I’m back at my hotel, I always make sure to get my gadgets charged up for the next day or the next time I am out. In the UK, you can easily buy UK to EU, UK to USA, EU to UK, EU to US, etc. in any shops especially in the airport – in England you can even buy it in pharmaceutical shops!
When travelling, you’re almost always staying on your feet throughout. Whether you’re walking on a flat surface or on an uneven ground, accidents and uncomfortable situations can happen. Say you’re going on a night out and your heels wore you off. You won’t get a better feeling that slipping into a more comfortable pair of shoes. Or maybe your heels suddenly break. Your flats will be to your rescue.
You can also be on a hiking trip wearing a pair of trainers that suddenly get soiled by dirt and you don’t have enough time to change your shoes in the hotel or clean it up. What’s great is that because these flats are foldable, they don’t take much space and can fit into even a tiny purse/clutch. Ballet flats will make you look good in casual wear and even in formal wears. It’s truly versatile, so don’t turn a blind eye on this travel essential.
Hear me out: raincoats/windbreakers aren’t just for rain and torrential winds. They can also protect you from severe heat and UV rays, chilly nights, and, of course the obvious rains. Even if you’re travelling to a hot country where it barely rains, it won’t hurt you to pack a super lightweight foldable coat that can protect you no matter what the climate is. It’s light, easily packable, very minimal, won’t take a lot of space, and is useful.
People easily overlook it, but it’s one I never forget. You can pack your raincoat in its own pocket and easily compress them for travel as you may find yourself leaving or entering a dramatic change of weather within a matter of hours. A tip: if you get food sauce on your t-shirt, this coat can also save you!
There is nothing more health damaging than mixing clean and dirty clothes in your bag. I’ve stressed the importance of hygiene and safety above. But while you clean your hands thoroughly, there’s nothing stopping your soiled clothes or your germ-filled tissues into contaminating your other stuff. Keep your clean things and clothes safe from contaminants by bringing a biodegradable bag that won’t use any space at all when folded.
Please make sure they are biodegradable, so that if you accidentally lose them or decided to dispose of them, they will break down naturally over time. As travellers, we contribute majorly to air pollution. Thus, it’s up to us to do what we can to give back and help our planet. Biodegradable bags eventually decompose and are consumed by soil and other natural components. Not only is it a travel essential, you also help the mother earth by using one.
And lastly, a protein bar. You only really need one. Really, it’s true.
You may raise an eyebrow to this but a single protein bar is your best friend in times of emergency. It’s a quick and convenient way to add carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals to your diet. Protein bars are also an overlooked travel essential. You only need one a day for you to get your blood flowing and heart pumping again in case you get hungry and there’s no meal ready for you yet. Or you may have low blood sugar, a protein bar will get you safe until you can get medical attention or have a proper meal.
They don’t need refrigeration either. You can just keep them in your bag and not take it out until you really need it. But make sure to check for the expiry date! It’s small but could be the one thing that saves your life in dire situations. The best part is you can choose any flavour you want. My personal favourite are protein brownies!
Rachel is an intrepid world traveller, lifestyle connoisseuse, and Girls Who Travel’s resident beauty advisor. She is a lover of the ocean, flowers, movies, journalism, and has a penchant for medium-sized tattoos. When she is not busy with life, she writes stories of her globetrots as well as tips & tricks on how to make the best out of travelling.