Women’s Packing Tips for Every Trip: Eight Things to Pack

by | May 4, 2022

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Last updated on May 4th, 2024

Featured image: You can live and work remotely! Get inspired with these ideas! / Photo by shiwork on Envato

Eight packing must-haves to travel smarter

by Carolyn Ray

Living and working remotely isn’t as easy as we might think, especially when you’re trying to pack light and avoid checked bags. Whether you are working remotely or just want to pack better, here are packing tips for every trip . These are the things that I bring every time, regardless of destination of length of time. 

I learned a lot about what to pack from my last trip to Mexico, when I stayed in Merida, San Miguel de Allende and Puerto Escondido for three months. Living and working remotely is challenging, and I didn’t come prepared with the right equipment. 

Upon returning home, however, I changed all that and made sure I was prepared for my next trip to Oaxaca. As a travel writer, I am always working, so having reliable technology and electronics is essential.  I’ve tried and tested all of the items listed below.  

(Please note: this article includes Amazon and other affiliate links, but we only ever recommend items we think are relevant for you and we’ve tried ourselves that will benefit you on your travels). If you decide to purchase an item through one of these links, we will receive a small commission that doesn’t add any cost to the purchase of an item.)

1. Carry-on suitcase and packing cubes

As I said in this New York Magazine article recently, I’m a fan of Gregory backpacks because they are adjustable to women’s bodies. In October, I used my 70 L Osprey backpack which held three months of clothes. But it was HEAVY – and I only wore a third of what I brought. 

I’d love to try a rolling version of this Away carry-on (dare I imagine a monogrammed version?) and Away’s packing cubes.  This brand has been highly recommended on our private Facebook group! 

I’m also using Apple’s RFI AirTag to keep track of my things if I am forced to check my bag. I put one in my computer case, a second on my daypack and a third in my carry on just in case I’m forced to check my bag. This device allows you to track missing items through the Find My iPhone app. 


Away Carry On rolling suitcase

Leaving Toronto in October 2021 with 3 months of clothing.

3. Small Self-care kit

Travel can be stressful and having a few goodies to help me build some relaxation into my day makes for more pleasant travels.  

I love these travel-sized essential oils from Saje and am a fan of coconut lip balm which is a must-have in a hot, dry climate like Mexico. 

Saje Pocket Farmacy kit

4. Protective sun gear and sunglasses

I am terrible at keeping hats. I love them, but have now lost three in a row, most recently on my trip to the Bahamas. Because I consider hats a packing must-have to prevent skin cancer, I look for hats that inexpensive, small, foldable and lightweight. I have my eye on a stylish bucket hat from Madewell and a pair of plastic Kate Spade square sunglasses that won’t get crushed in my bag.

In our recent article on eco-friendly packing, our expert Nora Livingstone recommended reef-safe sunscreen, so I’m keen to try Badger Balm, made by a woman-owned business. (Read more of Nora’s eco-friendly suggestions here.)

A blue bandana with pink flamingos

I lost my favorite hat en route from Spain to Kenya on a trip with my daughter.

5. Gotta have some bling!

Recently, I lost a treasured pair of earrings when my jewelry bag fell out of my carry-on. (My new travel tip is to always check the overhead compartment before you leave a plane!) Jewelry is one of those things you just can’t expect to get back. 

I don’t feel fully dressed without earrings, so I picked up these dangly moon earrings from Amazon because they don’t have backs and will stay on when I remove my mask. Also, at $30, I won’t worry too much if I lose them. They are a little bendy but otherwise very comfortable and fashionable! 

Airalo eSIM banner with JourneyWoman promotion

5. Phone accessories

Whe I travel, I am always writing, hosting our monthly book club and doing TV interviews, so good technology is important to be seen and heard.  Having strong wifi in my apartment is absolutely essential.  

At home, I have a large ubeesize ring light, but this one is made of plastic so I don’t have to worry about breaking it. I also use wireless AirPods, to help with noise reduction.  

I’ve also got a Calicase waterproof phone case, which comes on a lanyard and will let me take underwater photos if I happen to jump into any cenotes! 

6. VPN for safety

I always recommend using Nord VPN when travelling to protect data when using public wifi systems. 

I recently heard of a new technology called eSim, which lets you change your mobile carrier, data, or service plan through software. This solves the pain of high roaming bills because you can have two cellular plans, one on a nano-SIM card and the other on an eSIM on iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR, or later. I’m testing this eSim card from Airalo, instead of having to insert a SIM card. I have a feeling this will be something I do for every trip soon just from convenience alone! 

7. Undies + Pajamas

I am a huge fan of the Knix brand because of their body-positive approach.

I already have their pajamas, but have been wanting to try their multi-purpose period underwear, which looks comfortable, absorbent and leakproof. This also means I can reduce room by not packing as many tampons and pads. (I’m also keen to try one of the bras mentioned in our recent Travel Bras article.)

A woman wearing a black pyjama set from Knix

8. Leggings instead of jeans

My final packing tips for every trip are leggings. These are the best way to reduce space, and are a perfect replacement for bulky jeans, which also take forever to dry when you’re travelling. I wear leggings as layers or on their own with a hoodie and t-shirt. They’re so versatile. I have two pairs of Spanx leggings that I take everywhere.

Final tips: We want to remind you how important it is to purchase travel insurance for every trip. Check prices on insuremyflight.com. You can shop all the things we love when we travel on our Amazon page.

Get Ready With Even More Packing Tips and Ideas

As the CEO and Editor of JourneyWoman, Carolyn is a passionate advocate for women's travel and living the life of your dreams. She leads JourneyWoman's team of writers and chairs the JourneyWoman Women's Advisory Council and Women's Speaker's Bureau. She has been featured in the New York Times, Toronto Star and Zoomer as a solo travel expert, and speaks at women's travel conferences around the world. In March 2023, she was named one of the most influential women in travel by TravelPulse and was the recipient of a SATW travel writing award in September 2023. She is the chair of the Canadian chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a member Women's Travel Leaders and a Herald for the Transformational Travel Council (TTC). Sometimes she sleeps. A bit.


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