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5 Packing Tips for Solo Female Travelers

As travel restrictions are starting to ease for 2021, I am reminded of the challenges in packing to meet shrinking carry-on standards. Along with traditional laundry lists of what to bring and what to leave behind, I have distilled a short checklist of uncommon reminders which may work for others, too.

5 Packing Tips for Solo Female Travelers: 


1. Always pack a bathing suit even if you don’t swim laps or plan a beach vacation.

  • Whether for leisure or business travel, a hotel spa or Jacuzzi can be just the perfect end of the day.
  • Sightseeing in Costa Rica, I was surprised to find the day tour ended at a hot springs watching an active volcano. Not having a bathing suit with me, I purchased a Speedo look-alike in the gift shop.  I was in for another surprise when I discovered there was much less fabric than I expected!
  • Many boating activities from sailing to whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking, require a bathing suit.
  • Ecotours may allow you to wade in with dolphins, penguins or local coastal species.


5 Packing Tips for Solo Female Travelers:


2. Take a workout or similar outfit even if you prefer watching others exercise rather than doing it yourself.

  • On a trip abroad with a group, one of our hotels had a fire in the middle of the night. No one was injured. However, everyone there had to dash out the door in whatever they were sleeping in.
  • More frequently in small hotels room service may not be available 24/7. You may find yourself traipsing to their coffee shop or picking up carryout coffee in the lobby.
  • If you followed Tip 1 and are going back and forth to the hot tub in your bathing suit, you will likely be glad to have this cover up en route or have a change of clothes afterwards.


5 Packing Tips for Solo Female Travelers


3. Bring a “purse within a purse”.

  • With the airlines’ limit of 2 carry-on items, purses appear to be getting larger as allowable roller bags are getting smaller. However, sightseeing or conducting business while dragging a 20 pound  purse is hardly convenient. A smaller shoulder bag that carries a wallet, keys and basics generally is enough to avoid wearing a conspicuous tourist pouch.


5 Packing Tips for Solo Female Travelers


4. Consider whether the shoes you pack will make it through the entire trip.

  • Always pack one extra pair. On a business trip in one of the world’s largest airports, the moving sidewalk broke the heel off my shoe. Navigating the terminal was almost impossible. Although I was able to buy a new pair across from my hotel, breaking in shoes while traveling never works well.
  • If you will be in major urban areas or international capitals, consider sneakers that are made to look like regular shoes.
  • Even with flats, check the soles or purchase non-skid strips for the bottom. While staying in Lisbon in rainy weather, my flats slid on cobblestone and brick streets and sidewalks. If all else fails, buy a pack of chewing gum and create your own non-sliding surface.
  • At a ski resort, I had packed ski boots and après-ski boots and thought I was all set. However, I forgot the metal cleats for crossing the ice covered parking lot to get to the ski bus.


5 Packing Tips for Solo Female Travelers


5. Plan a way out of potentially dangerous situations.

  • I have found while traveling alone my sailing whistle is a great way to draw a crowd. I wear in on a wrist band sold to carry keys while jogging or just strolling. The shrill sound would likely cause an attacker to run away but also could work if injured hiking or other emergency.


Solo Travel Tips on Packing to Save

For more packing tips and a checklist you can tailor to your trip, download our free mobile app, the Solo Sherpa. Available for iPhones and for Android devices.

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