10 Travel Essentials That Help Me Travel Solo as a Woman
Traveling solo as a woman internationally for the first time sounded a bit scary at first, but it quickly turned into genuine excitement after realizing how amazing my time in Copenhagen would be! I knew packing the right items was important because it would allow me to focus my energy on creating memories and staying safe.
Here are ten travel essentials to check out for your next solo trip:
If you're a lover of photography like me, this camera bag is a great way to protect your gear on the go. It has padded straps, two spaces to hold a mini tripod, a compartment for your laptop, dividers you can customize to fit your lenses, and a side "door" to pull out your camera easily so you don't miss a shot!
I tried stuffing a lens and my Canon 80D into my purse and it was a struggle. DSLRs need extra space. I've learned my lesson! Due to the exposed zippers, make sure you wear it on your chest while in the city.
You may have seen this online! Created by actress Shay Mitchell, it's the bag I didn't know I needed! The Mini Weekender was out of stock for months and I now see why! It's the only travel bag I have found that has a wire bracket opening (like a doctor's bag), a trolly slip-through that doubles as an extra pocket, and a detachable bottom compartment. I put all my toiletries, electronics, and snacks in this carry-on and it fits both vertically and horizontally under the seat on the plane.
Before Béis, my bags were too small and painful to carry, they also didn't have a way to attach them to my suitcase. The Mini Weekender fits perfectly on top of my Monos luggage, making it easy when racing through the airport. And as the name suggests, it holds the perfect amount of space for a night or two away from home.
Speaking of Monos, that brings me to my next favorite travel essential. I shopped for months to find the perfect carry-on luggage. After looking at popular brands across the board, I decided on the Monos carry-on plus. It comes with a compression pad, three anti-microbial laundry bags, and a luggage tag. I was able to pack for a full week with thick, fall clothing using packing cubes. It's 23" in height and fits well in the overhead bin. I used it with American, Iberia, Finnair, and Norweigan and had no issues.
I love the style and it's more affordable than the Away luggage. The wheels are butter smooth and the adjustable handle makes it easy to fit your height. Monos does a great job comparing specs, too!
Read more about Monos, here.
When you want extra peace of mind, consider bringing along a portable door lock. It has two standard sizes on each side so you can match it to the appropriate deadbolt (mostly modern-day doors).
Sidenote: This lock fits many doors but not all -- when I took this to Copenhagen it didn't work due to the age of the hotel I was staying in. It had pretty old door frames! Still, I think it's worth it! Even if you want to use it on the daily at home.
It's unfortunate that as travelers (especially solo female travelers) we always have to be on alert. Being aware of your surroundings is just one part of keeping safe. Personally, I keep pepper spray handy but since I can't bring that on the plane, the next best thing is a deterrent. That's where Birdie comes in, the small alarm gives off a loud siren and flashes a strobing light that draws attention to you and, hopefully, scares the attacker or creeper away.
With more than 7K positive reviews online, I thought I should include it in my go-bag.
I raved about these travel-sized containers before (see previous blog: TSA Carry-On Approved: Cadence Capsules, The Eco-Friendly Travel Containers Worth Packing). I use these exclusively for my morning and night cleansers, moisturizer, and sunscreen where a little goes a long way. Its small size makes it a space saver and easy to pack. It's also leak-proof so you're not wasting product. They come in a variety of colors and you have the ability to create your own label. I've learned that for me, it's not enough for my shampoo and conditioner but depending on how often you wash your hair, it could hold what you need.
Price: $14 each
The coolest and most convenient earphones I have ever owned! It uses"lightform technology" to mold to the unique shape of your ears! It has 8 hours of battery life but extends to 20 hours with the case. The fast charging feature gives you one hour of listening with only a 10-minute charge. This really comes in handy for those long flights, layovers, and those sweaty gym sessions. Plus, it's a deterrent for other people asking you to borrow your earbuds, "Sorry, it only fits my ears."
It comes in three colors: White, Lavender, and Black.
Price: $149 (I know, steep, but worth it.)
I am not a fan of asking people to take my photo. I am way too picky about how it comes out and don't want strangers handling my phone (even if it's a few years old). I trust no one! So, when I came across this handy little tripod with a built-in Bluetooth remote, I had to try it. It worked out so well that I ditched my old tripod immediately.
I'm able to discreetly fit it in my Freja bucket bag (Dimensions: 12.5 x 11 x 6) rather than carrying it around in my hand or having it stick out the top awkwardly. The remote is clipped on top of one of the legs so you can always keep the two together.
There are several types of portable chargers to choose from, like major power banks that can recharge your laptop or camera or smaller stick banks that can be thrown in a purse. I wanted something light and easy to move around with so I opted for the iWalk wireless charger.
This is specifically made for iPhones with a 4500 mAh capacity, enough for a full charge while out and about. I was able to talk on the phone and use my maps without accidentally pulling the cord out. I can't stand wires so this was a great alternative.
Adapters are a must on international trips but getting one with two or more USB plugs is even better. I'm able to charge my phone, portable charger, and headphones all at once. This helps cut down on wait times so you can go out and explore faster.
I used to have an adapter that had separate pieces to plug in -- it seems so archaic now.
Quick Reminders For Solo Travelers:
Share your location with family members, partner, and/or close friends. I used Google location and "Find my Friends".
Share your itinerary with the same group or at least a couple of people so they have an idea of what your day looks like.
If you're using a taxi or rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft, share the route in real-time.
Snap a photo of your passport or make a paper copy to keep with you in case you lose it or it gets stolen. Read more, here.
The last time I traveled by myself was in 2016 to Denver, Colorado so this was a huge step! I'm really proud of myself and I hope you can do the same if that's what you want!