Practical carry-on packing checklist for female travelers

Welcome to my practical carry-on packing checklist for female travelers. Did you know that packing light saves time, money, and hassle? Learn essential tips to streamline your travel essentials, maximize space, and breeze through airports. Get ready to master efficient packing for your next adventure!

Table of Contents


Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack

When I first received this backpack, I laughed because it looked so tiny! I thought there was no way I could pack a month’s worth of clothes in here…but I did. I do all the time. It’s the best carry-on sized backpack on the market.

backpack to travel to South Korea

Osprey Fairview 55 Women’s Travel Backpack

Technically this backpack isn’t carry-on size but f you don’t pack this to the brim, you can carry it on….

Make it stand out

Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference.

Packing Cubes: Yes or No?

I only use compression bags for things that need compression….like puffy jackets. Otherwise, I find that my Osprey Backpack’s front-open feature make it easy for me to keep my things organized.

If you do get packing cubes, use these compression bags.

Vera Bradley Women’s Microfiber Small Vera Tote Bag

This is where my laptop, toiletries bag, journal and electronics live.

Cross-shoulder Medium-Size Leather Purse

You want something big enough to hold a book, but small enough to stash in your tote bag if the boarding gate is being very particular about the “2-pieces of luggage allowed” rule.


Collapsible Waterbottle

It’s empty when you go through security, then you find a water fountain to fill-up before the flight. Easy to carry! Here’s the waterbottle I travel with.

Liquid IV Packets

Liquid IV packets are a travel essential, as they provide a convenient and effective way to replenish electrolytes and stay hydrated during long flights or active adventures. Pour them in your collapsible waterbottle!

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe

Flying overseas? Being locked in that cabin for hours on end makes you feel gross and stale. Refresh your skin with this cult classic that comes with a travel size.

Hand Lotion

Keep your hands moisturized during travel with a small bottle of hand lotion, as constant exposure to recycled air can cause dryness and discomfort. A little of this l’octaine hand lotion goes a long way.

Lip Balm

Ensure soft and nourished lips by packing a moisturizing lip balm, protecting them from the drying effects of cabin air and different climates. My fav is this very subtle Honest Beauty Tinted Lip Balm.

Korean Face Mask

Treat yourself to some self-care during your flight or hotel stay with a Korean face mask, known for its rejuvenating properties and ability to revive tired skin. Yes, you’ll be the weirdo on the plane but it always brings me such joy when I see other girls not giving a fuck and wearing a face mask on a flight. Skincare is life!


Facial Wipes

To take your makeup off before you sleep or freshen up before you land.

Anti-Bacterial Wipes (for your hands and your seat)

When those airplane cleaners come in, they wipe down your tray and seat belt…that’s it. You need to wipe down your window and armrests!


✓ Passport

Make sure your passport has 6-months validity before you fly to another country!

Printed Visa (if needed)

✓ Emergency Cash

I usually carry $100-$300 in extra cash in case I cant access funds with my debit cards.

✓ 2 Debit

If you lose one debit card, then you have a backup!

✓ 2 Credit Cards

I go into a whole speal as to why you MUST have two credit and two debit cards here.

✓ Medications

Also make sure that your medications are allowed in your destination country.

✓ Copy of Important Documents

I usually make a copy of my ID and passport. Also my health insurance.

✓ Pen

You never know how badly you need a pen until you don’t have one while traveling…

✓ 5-Hour Plan

If you’ve read my book, The One-Way Ticket Plan, then you know that this is a game-changer.

✓ Snacks

I carry bags of nuts and granola bars with me at all times!


Baseus Wireless Earbuds

Make it stand out

I love that these headphones let you know how much battery is left so that you arent left stranded without music during a 5-hour bus ride.

VEEKTOMX Portable Phone Charge with Built in Cables

Another charger that tells you how much juice it has left.

This is by far the most convenient, useful and cute battery charger I’ve ever carried. I love that I don’t have to fumble with cords.

Downloaded Movies

Downloaded Audiobooks


Shawl or Sweater

Those airplanes get chilly! So do those airports! Especially when you’re landing in a colder climate than you’re coming from. Layering is key when it comes to travel comfort!

Slide-Off Shoes

I consider these Nike Women’s Sneaker Running Shoes as slide off. They are easy to put on and take off in the security line and before I need to go potty on the flight (never go into those bathrooms barefoot). Plus, I like to wear my clunkiest shoes on the flight and keep my sleek shoes in my carry-on bag to save space.


These babies are super breathable. 


Eye Mask

Personally, I never use these. But I see plenty of people using eye masks like this on my international flights.

Ear Plugs

Screaming babies? No thanks. Carry these. If you don’t use them on the plane, odds are you’ll use them in at least one hostel.

These are great earplugs for airplanes as they are noise-canceling and help with pressure. They also come with a carrying case! 

Trtl Neck Pillow

I refuse to travel with a big bulky blow-up travel pillow.

But I love this sleek and supportive travel pillow by TRTL.



Invest in a travel toothbrush with a protective case to maintain oral hygiene on the go and avoid any unwanted surprises. Like this one:


The 100ml rule even applies to toothpaste! So get a small travel-sized toothpaste to bring on the plane.

Blotting Papers

Pack a pack of blotting papers to combat excess shine and keep your face looking fresh throughout your travels, especially in humid climates. Get this 2-pack. Keep one in your purse and one in your tote bag. 


It feels like a little armpit shower on the airplane!

Travel-Sized Hairbrush

I love these little collapsible hairbrushes. Again, I keep one in my purse and one in my tote. 

Intimate Wipes

Take a quick little intimate freshen-up moment.

Change of Panties

There’s no better feeling in the world than changing your undies after a 10-hour travel day! These undies are sleek and breathable. 


I have these NYX Lipglosses in a dozen colors. They add the perfect amount of color but are easy to put on, even on a bumpy plane!


Pretend your check bag won’t make it – carry a change of clothes and swimsuit

Never check your valuables (money, jewelry or electronics) – carry them with you.

Wipe down your seat and window – the cleaning people don’t do a deep clean.

Happy travels!

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I'm a bestselling author, hotel reviewer and pickleball player. I teach women how to travel the world solo without going broke or getting kidnapped.
In 2011, I left Seattle with just $200 in my pocket to travel the world solo. Today, I'm the founder and creator of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide, the #1 travel guide book series for women - and the author of The One-Way Ticket Plan. 

author of The One-Way Ticket Plan and CEO of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide

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