Women’s General Packing List

It is important to pack light. Start with the below list and adjust it according to your destination, activities and weather. Decide what you are going to wear, and what you are most likely to need for the trip. Do not be tempted to throw in extra items. With planning, you can wear three interchangeable outfits, which will give you nine different outfits for 2+ weeks. Add a scarf or a costume necklace and you get all the variety you need.

BAGSPacking Light

  •       1 backpack or a carry-on suitcase
  •       1 day pack
  •       1 or 2 little bags stuffed inside your backpack or suitcase for dirty clothes or souvenirs


  • 1 sweater (wool is best because it dries quickly)
  • 1 jacket (wrinkle resistant & roomy enough for a sweater to be worn under it) or coat (if the weather is expected to be cold, put a pair of gloves in the pockets)
  • 3 colored tee shirts — 1 sleeveless, 1 short-sleeved and 1 long-sleeved. Wool is the best because it is soft, can be worn many days between washing without getting smelly, and dries quickly. Merino wool rocks! Depending on the weather, choose different length of shirt sleeves and different weight of wool. If going to the tropics, take light weight, loose shirts.
  • 3 pairs of slacks (May substitute 1 pair of jeans and/or 1 ankle-length skirt (non-wrinkle or crinkly so you can twist it up). One pair of leggings may be added to go with the tunic or jacket. Leggings can double as a layer of warmth, if the weather turns cold.
  • 1 set of pajamas
  • 2-3 pairs of light, quick drying underwear and bras
  • Swimsuit and wrap (can double as a towel or long skirt)
  • Raincoat/small umbrella, if necessary


  • 1 pair of comfortable, low heel walking shoes (sneakers work well) or hiking boots
  • 1 pair of light-weight stylish flats, sandals or camp shoes, as appropriate
  • 2-3 pairs of quick drying socks, like merino wool and 1-2 pairs of hose, as appropriate


  • Hat with a brim, or a visor (wool hat for cold weather)
  • 1 scarf large enough to be to be used as a wrap around a swimsuit, an accessory to dress up for a night on the town, or as a blanket on a cold airplane. Wool scarf for cold weather.
  • Sunglasses
  • 2 pairs of costume earrings and necklaces to coordinate with your clothes


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush and/or comb, (scrunchies, hair clips, headband)
  • Shampoo & conditioner (less than 3 ounces or 85 grams)
  • Fingernail clippers and needle point tweezers
  • Deodorant
  • Prescription medicines and vitamins
  • Birth control
  • Small, quick-drying travel towel (Doubt this? Read the book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe.)
  • Sanitary napkins/tampons/menstrual cup
  • Chocolate (of course we’re not kidding. Stuck at an airport at 2:00 a.m. with no restaurants open?  Chocolate. Moment of trauma in unfamiliar hotel? Interminable train ride? Lost again? Too busy to stop for lunch? Chocolate! In a pinch, of course, a Luna Bar will suffice.
  • Wet and wipes (wash your hands and as general clean up when a shower or bath is unavailable); make sure they are flushable.
  • Chop sticks in a travel case and sturdy spork (metal or heavy plastic). You know where your own utensils have been; and it is not wasteful.
  • Instant coffee in little packets or tea bags (You can make your own by filling tea filters with your favorite tea.) A familiar drink can be a huge comfort when you are surrounded by unfamiliar things.
  • A light weight book to read for entertainment or download a book onto your smart phone or tablet.
  • A small note pad to sketch in and write about your experiences
  • Bed liner, if appropriate
  • Ear plugs if you are traveling with a snorer or headphones if going to a noisy destination
  • Travel gifts (light weight, small, easy to pack, something that would be meaningful like little watercolor set (from an artist) or little toys like whirligigs, or bracelets from your town.

See these pieces for checklists for your equipment and documents.

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