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Everyone’s travel style is different, including our approaches to packing. Whether you’re spending a weekend in Austin, Texas or traveling overseas for the first time, you can take a minimalistic approach by packing only the essentials. I’m going to make a series of posts highlighting different packing styles, starting with this minimalist packing list for female travelers.
Obviously, the way you pack your luggage will look different depending on a number of factors. Your needs may vary depending on the length of the trip, the destination, the season, and what you’re doing there.
This list might be exactly what you need as-is, or you may need to make a few tweaks to personalize it. Either way, this minimalist travel packing list is a great starting point.
We’ll talk about what to pack, how to fit everything into your bag, and I’ll also give some minimalist travel packing tips at the end.
This minimalist packing list for female travelers is going to cover just the essentials, and honestly, some of you might not even need everything on this list depending on how much of a minimalist traveler you are.
If you’re more of a maximalist when it comes to travel (like me), there will be a packing list for you too soon, so stick around!
Table of Contents
Benefits of Minimalist Travel
So what are some of the benefits of sticking to a minimalist travel packing list for your next trip? Well, to name a few:
Checking a bag is expensive (and stressful), but if you pack only the necessities you can usually get away with fitting everything in a carry-on.
Packing only what you need can save you a lot of time and stress during the packing process.
Everything is easily accessible! No digging through multiple bags trying to find a specific item!
The less you bring, the less likely you are to accidentally leave something behind.
Choosing a Bag
Backpack: The ideal option for the ultra-light traveler! A backpack is compact, yet for many minimalist female travelers, it can be enough to fit the essentials.
Suitcase: I usually opt for a suitcase small enough to work as a carry-on. Backpacks can cause too much strain on the back and shoulders for my liking, so I prefer to have something on wheels.
Duffle bag: If I’m going on a quick trip, duffle bags are my best friend. Sometimes I can even fit everything I need in my camera bag, which is essentially just a large shoulder bag. Check out this guide to finding the best canvas duffel bags if you’re in search of the right bag for you!
Regardless of what you choose, I recommend packing a small crossbody bag. This way you can keep your phone, wallet, and essentials on hand during your trip without having to lug around everything you packed!
Minimalist Packing List For Female Travelers
Packing cubes: Trust me, minimalist packing will be much easier if you’re using packing cubes. With packing cubes you can fit more items in a smaller bag, and it makes finding what you’re looking for a lot easier without having to completely unpack.
Medications: Don’t forget to pack any prescription or over-the-counter medications you need!
Wallet: Make sure you have cash, cards, and your ID!
Reusable water bottle: Stay hydrated and save plastic (and money).
Reusable bags: For grocery shopping, dirty laundry, and more.
Travel lock:Travel locks are a great thing to have for added security, especially if you’re traveling alone!
Passport: If traveling internationally.
Optional:Travel journal or notebook, pen, first aid kit, hand sanitizer, shoe inserts, steamer, power adaptor (if traveling internationally).
If you’re traveling during Covid-19, you will most likely need to bring masks, proof of vaccination, or a negative covid test, depending on where you’re going. You can check this guide to international travel to and from the United States to get info about necessary travel requirements.
Face towel: I refuse to use anything but my own towels on my face.
Facial cleanser: Gotta keep your skin clean, especially while traveling!
Sunscreen: Bring it even if you don’t think you’ll need it! Stick with SPF 30 or higher.
Moisturizer: It’s always a good idea to keep your skin hydrated, especially if traveling to a climate your skin isn’t used to.
Toothbrush: Very important!
Toothpaste: Equally important!
Shampoo & conditioner: I recommend packing these Viori shampoo and conditioner bars. They save space and plastic, and you won’t have to worry about any leaks in your bag (or TSA).
Soap: This pink clay soap doubles as body wash and face wash (hurray for saving space by packing multi-purpose items!)
Deodorant: Stay fresh!
Razors: I’m an electric razor girlie, myself. No shaving cream or disposable blades required. Absolute game-changer.
Hairbrush or comb: Or both, if needed.
Hair accessories: Hair ties, scrunchies, bobby pins, butterfly clips, headbands, etc.
Makeup: Keep it minimal – mascara, lipstick, concealer, etc.
Feminine hygiene: Tampons, pads, diva cups, whatever you prefer.
Optional:Floss, shower towel, skin care products, hair care products (hairspray, mousse, etc.) saline, contacts, perfume, tweezers, nail clippers, loofa, mirror, nail polish, face masks.
This minimalist travel packing list was made assuming the average trip lasts about a week. If your trip is shorter than a week, only bring 1 outfit per day and maybe 1 backup outfit. If it’s longer than a week, plan to do laundry either where you’re staying or at a laundromat.
Underwear & Sleepwear
1 bralette/sports bra: For lounging around in or wearing on walks/hikes.
1 regular/underwire bra: Whatever bra you typically wear on a daily basis.
1 swimsuit: Even if it’s not swimming weather, you never know when you might come across a hot tub and wish you’d brought one! I never travel without one!
7 pairs of underwear: If you’re staying longer than a week, plan to do laundry!
3 pairs of socks: Or more if you don’t plan to spend a few days in sandals or flip-flops.
1 pair of pajamas: This could be shorts and a t-shirt, a nice pair of silk pajamas, or whatever you like to sleep in!
Optional:Robe, house slippers, eye masks.
2-3 dresses: I like to bring something casual and something a little dressier in case I’m going out to a nice dinner or something of that nature.
3-4 shirts: I usually pack a combination of solid shirts and print t-shirts, but it’s up to you. My friend owns Validation Station where she makes these really cute shirts (and other clothing items) that promote mental health, which I strongly recommend checking out if you’re looking for cute & uplifting t-shirts to pack!
1 long-sleeve shirt: Or a cardigan to wear over one of your t-shirts if you think you might get cold but don’t want to have to commit to a long-sleeve shirt all day.
2 pairs of jeans: You never know when you might need a backup pair of pants!
1 pair of comfy shorts: Pretty sure not looking hot in these super comfy cross top biker shorts is scientifically impossible. HIGHLY recommend.
1 pair of jean shorts: Or a skirt.
1 jacket or windbreaker: Or one of each! You may need both depending on where you’re going and what time of year, but I always pack a windbreaker at the very least!
Optional:Skirt, tank top, leggings, hoodie, raincoat, sweater, beanies, baseball caps.
1 pair of comfortable walking shoes: Pumas, converse, crocs, sneakers, whatever you feel comfortable doing the majority of your walking in!
1 pair of sandals/flip flops: Even if you don’t think you’ll need them, bring them just in case. You have no idea how many times I really didn’t think I’d need them and then did.
1 dressy pair of shoes: Always good to have something dressy on hand.
Optional:Hiking shoes, rain boots, flats.
Phone and charger: Sounds obvious, but always double-check!
Portable charger: A battery bank or portable charge is a must when you’re away from home!
Headphones: Consider bringing a pair of noise-canceling headphones to use during transportation and a pair of regular headphones for everyday use.
Camera: And any other camera equipment you need such as spare batteries, chargers, SD cards, lenses, etc.
Laptop: A necessity if you’re planning on working during the trip!
Solid-state drive: I strongly recommend traveling with a solid-state drive (SSD) to back up any photos you take, just to be extra safe. SSDs can handle being tossed around during travel, whereas regular portable hard drives have many delicate working parts that can break very easily, even by something as simple as bumps in the road, causing you to lose everything. It’s happened to me more times than I can count, so I can’t stress this enough: SSDs are well worth the extra cost!
Optional: eReader, mini Bluetooth speaker, USB car adapter for charging your phone while driving.
Minimalist Packing Tips For Female Travelers
Roll your clothes rather than folding them. This will save lots of space and also helps prevent creases and wrinkles.
If you need to bring bulky items like boots and coats, wear them on the plane. This frees up space in your bag.
Pack what you need first, then if there’s enough room left you can pack the things you want.
You may need to pack and unpack a few times to make everything fit just right. I recommend packing as much as you can at least 2 days before your trip.
Instead of carrying around a Kindle or eReader, consider downloading Audible on your phone and enjoy books on the go while saving a little extra bag space!
If you enjoyed this post, check out this amusing article full of fun ideas and ways to dress like a tourist.
🌊 If you liked this minimalist packing list for female travelers, don’t forget to share! Leave me a comment letting me know if there are any other essentials you always pack!
You’re the cutest person in the universe! This is an incredible list–I’ll be referencing this for my future trips so I’m prepared!
Thanks, love! I’m so glad you found it helpful!!
Lots of good tips here. I always over pack and wish I didn’t bring so much! This motivates me to try to pack lighter!
Haha I know what you mean! I need to work on packing lighter as well. I’m gonna need to refer to this post next time I’m preparing for a trip 😂