Women just seem to need more stuff in life. As this is usually the case, but when traveling we usually need just a little more than the male traveler. For some, their daily routine is usually filled with make-up, rehydrating creams, a closet full of clothes. This routine will have to quickly change since it’s just not practical to live this way while on the road. The purpose of this is to not tell any traveler what to take but to give an idea of what works for someone who has gone on a few long trips. Please use this as a guide since what is in a travel bag is what will be the most useful and will make the traveler the most comfortable along the way.
If you need a guide to what to bring here are a few suggestions on where to start. I have put together a list that I have devised after years of traveling to many parts of the world. Yours should contain more or even less of what I usually bring on a backpacking type of trip which can take from a month to a year or more.
2 long sleeve Caprilene Shorts (anything in medium to dark color and try for neutral shades allowing them to match things better)
2 short sleeve Caprilene Shorts (same color scheme)
1 Pair of Nylon pants (Usually the ones which converted to shorts even though I never have done this)
1 Ankle length skirt (light weight material and good for overnight trips and travel to conservative/religious areas where women don’t wear pants)
3 pairs of fast drying socks medium weight and at least over the ankles in length
5 pairs of underwear (Caprilene in these as well)
1 lightweight jacket (Fleece since this can double as a pillow)
1 waterproof shell with hood (as compact as possible)
Bathing suit (make sure the suit fits well and resist strong waves and/ or currents)
1 par of medium weight long underwear bottoms(if needed)
1 scarf (neutral and medium in color and weight; good to cover head/shoulders at religious/conservative sites)
1 pair of flip-flops (double for the shower and a break from the one pair of shoes)
1 quick dry towel or sarong or both (depends if you want it to double as a towel or scarf)
What to consider not leaving behind
Women travelers have many more things than men to consider when traveling to many parts of the world. What you choose to wear will show how much attention you get by the locals you meet along the way. It is always good to figure out how to find clothing and accessories you and others around you will be comfortable with. You are a guest in another persons country and respect of local cultures is a very important thing.
It’s usually best to keep as much of your body covered. Shirts and pants (skirts as well) need to cover you from wrist to ankle. It is also good to wear a hat as well. Not only will these things keep you protected from the suns rays and the elements but they will protect you from stares and hisses of those showing disgust. This is sometimes a good time to pick up some new clothes. It is best to buy your clothes locally. Not only will it show respect for locals but help you blend in with your surroundings. A pushy street vendor will try for the easier target wearing a Abercrombie t-shirt and baseball cap and not yourself.
Whether married or not it’s best to seem so. This doesn’t at all mean borrow your grandmother’s diamond for the trip but a cheap comfortable silver band will do. Men will less likely as for your hand in marriage and will respect that you taken. There are no guarantees that this will work all the time but you can only hope. In general, people you meet along the way will be curious to why you aren’t married if this is the case with you, and will try to solve the mystery by making it the topic of conversation. It’s easy to just say you are if you aren’t and hope that it doesn’t procede inquiring about how many children you two have. It can get tricky but try not to take offense to basic curiosity . It is best to try to move the conversation to how nice the weather is or where’s the best place to eat in town. Remember to avoid religion and politics.
Toiletries are not found everywhere. Yes, most of europe has stores stock their shelves with deodorant, feminine products and candy bars. This isn’t the case in much of the world. Try buying a solid stick of deodorant in areas that only use cologne to mask body odors and tampons where women have only been exposed to feminine pads. These are small items that don’t take up much room. Who wants to waste time looking for these things when you could be exploring and seeing the sites.
Toilet paper or tissues are also one of those things us women need more of. Many countries do sell it but it’s good to have a stash of your own. Be prepared for some interesting toilet encounters. This is went you find out how to deal with a messy situation.
Medications are not found everywhere and most likely if you are taking something like birth control pills or other daily meds bringing more than enough is a good idea. Also, see where you can re-supply along the way. The decision is easier. There is one less thing to think about when continuing on. It would stink that you have to go back home just because of poor planning.
Your teddybear This could be literally but figuratively it means bring whatever it is you need to have with you that will give you some comfort on those days where you are feeling lonely, homesick, lost (in a bad way) or just plain sick and need to take it easy for a couple of days in a strange land.
What to bring on a trip will come down to what you are comfortable taking and leaving behind. Every trip and destination is different and every traveler is different. There is a great travel quote by Susan Heller which sums it up for me the best.
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
Happy packing 🙂