Us girls gotta stick together, right?
So I’m sharing my ULTIMATE list of travel tips for women.
I’ve traveled the world consecutively for over two years (and counting) and have learned some valuable and hard lessons along the way.
For instance, I’ve
- nearly burned down a hotel in France when my curling iron caught fire,
- duck-taped my shoes together because a size 10 is unheard of in Asia, and
- started blankly at a squat toilet wondering what to do with the bucket and cup?!?!
Believe me, it’s been an educational journey.
So to help keep you safe, healthy, beautiful, and traveling here’s a list of over 100 travel tips for women…
Oh, and if I missed something please leave a comment below. I’ll add it to the list to help fellow women travelers.
Travel Tips for Women
- Register your trip with the Department of State (for U.S. citizen) to get travel warnings, travel alerts, and country specific information.
- When staying at a hotel, be discreet about your name and room number. Choose a room that’s close to the elevators to avoid walking down long halls.
- Before leaving your hotel, pick up a business card with the hotel’s phone number and address. This comes in handy if you can’t remember your hotels address or if there are multiple hotels with the same name in one area.
- Pick up a free map before leaving the airport. It can easily be tucked into your purse and many maps list local emergency phone numbers.
- Trust your gut. If you ever feel uncomfortable immediately leave the area and go to a public place.
- If you’re walking at night and there’s no traffic, try to walk towards the center of the street. You’ll be in more light and at a further distance from people who may be hiding in a doorway or an alley.
- Choose train cars that have a few people in them. Don’t pick a car without anyone as you might become a target, nor don’t pick a car that’s overly crowded as you could potentially get pick-pocketed.
- Whenever you’re taking public transportation always keep your purse and valuables with you. Never store them underneath your seat or in the overhead compartment.
- When traveling on an overnight train or bus, always choose the upper level or upper bunk for more privacy and protection.
- Avoid hailing a taxi off the street. Always book a taxi from a hotel.
- Try to travel during daylight to avoid being out at night.
- Always pretend like you know where you are and where you’re going – even if you don’t.
- Stand with a confident posture. Keeping your head straight, shoulders back and exude confidence.
- Have a safety whistle attached to your purse or where it’s easily accessible for emergencies.
- If you’re in an unfamiliar city, don’t look up or point at buildings. You’ll look like a tourist.
- If you smoke, avoid smoking in the streets and attracting unwanted attention and conversation.
- Have a worst-case-scenario plan if you get injured or put in a dangerous situation. Have your local embassy’s contact information with you at all times.
- If you don’t want attention from men, avoid making eye contact or wearing revealing clothing. Sunglasses will help and prevent premature aging.
- Wear a fake wedding ring and carry a photo of a male friend in your wallet to ward off men.
- Never give a man your hotel room number and always meet men in public areas.
- Groping happens in many countries. To minimize this risk, give yourself plenty of personal space or research if there are women only transportation options. For example, Tokyo and India have women only train cars.
- Never leave your drink unattended at a bar.
- If you plan to get frisky on your trip, be sure to pack protection.
Packing / Dress
- Don’t stock up on toiletries before you go. They’ll weigh you down and you can get most toiletries around the world (with the exception of tampons).
- Tampons and feminine hygiene products might not be available everywhere you travel. Stock up on these products before you leave, especially to rural areas.
- Try to bring less than three pairs of shoes. A comfortable pair for walking, a cute one for going out, and a sandal that easily slips on and off. Be sure all shoes are extremely comfortable and versatile. Always make sure you have extra wiggle room in your shoes. Women are notorious for buying the shoes too small.
- Pack moleskin. They’re great at preventing or helping blisters as they adhere to your skin better than a Band-Aid.
- In Asia, it is very difficult for women to find large sized shoes and clothes. Pack accordingly.
- If you’re wearing socks and feel a blister, turn your socks inside out to avoid unnecessary rubbing.
- Break-in (or at least test) your shoes and your wardrobe before you travel. The last thing you want is to be hobbling around in uncomfortable clothes or shoes.
- Bring a Nalgene water bottle when you travel. You can pour out the water before going through airport security and then refill it after you’re through.
- Don’t wear or pack fancy jewelry. You’ll receive unnecessary attention and could become a target. Plus you can always buy some fun jewelry to bring back home.
- Gallon-sized Ziploc and garbage bags come in handy for keeping your items dry or separating clean from dirty items.
- Roll your clothes instead of folding them to save space and reduce wrinkles.
- Dress appropriately for the country you’re visiting. Research what typical women wear so you don’t offend anyone or put yourself at risk.
- ALWAYS have a scarf handy. Not only are they fashionable but they’re multi-functional. You can use them as a towel, to cover questionable surfaces, to drape over your head to block the light, or to cover your shoulders at religious sites. Plus they fit nicely in a purse.
- Save hotel bar soap. They can be used as a bag freshener, to help with a stuck zipper (rub soap over the zipper) or to ease the itch from an insect bite.
- Duct tape is great for emergency rips or tears in your bag or clothes. But don’t pack the entire roll. Instead use a pencil and wrap some tape around the pencil.
- Pack a sink plug to launder your undergarments or smaller clothes. Or you can also use a garbage bag in the sink or tub.
- Pack a universal plug, wall adapter, and power converter. Be sure to know how many prongs your electronics have.
- Pack a bathing suit. If you run out of clean underwear, you can wear your bathing suit while doing laundry.
- Wear panty liners so you don’t have to wash your underwear every day. This is especially helpful if you’ll be trekking.
- Pack a flashlight to use when walking down dark streets, reading a book, or looking through a bag on an overnight bus.
- If you bring a purse, use one that has an over the shoulder strap and zipper pocket.
- Try to pack dark colored clothes. They’re great at hiding wrinkles and accidental stains.
- Pack lightly so that you can carry your own luggage. You don’t want to have to rely on a man to carry your luggage after all.
- To easily find your bags at baggage claim, tie a bright piece of fabric to the handle or buy luggage that’s not black.
- Packet a few dryer sheets in your bag to help keep your clothes fresh and to repel mosquitoes.
- Pack a loose long-sleeved shirt and pants to prevent mosquito bites. It’s healthier than using insect repellent.
- Snap a few safety pins into the inside of your bag or first aid kit. They’ll come in handy. Trust me.
- Make several photocopies of your passport and ID. Keep one copy in your purse, one in your money belt, and one in your luggage.
- If you plan on crossing borders, carry multiple copies of passport-sized photos of yourself. Usually, two copies are required per country.
- E-mail yourself and a close friend or family member copies of your identification, travelers checks numbers, and emergency numbers for lost credit cards.
- In your luggage, purse and money belt have a piece of paper written with your address, e-mail, phone number, and any other critical information should your items become lost and someone needs to contact you.
- Research the visa requirements for each country. Some countries require you have a visa before entering the country otherwise you could be deported.
- Don’t forget to sign your passport and complete the emergency contact information.
- Always ask someone permission before taking their photograph. It’s common practice to give a few coins or a dollar to take their photograph.
- Negotiate with a smile. It goes a long way.
- Research and understand the cultural etiquette and gender roles of the country you’re visiting. What might be a normal habit for you back home could be insulting or miss-communicated while traveling.
- Learn a few key words such as hello, thank you, yes, no, and goodbye. Making a little effort goes a long way.
- Be prepared for the question, “why are you traveling alone?” Many cultures don’t understand why a woman would want to travel alone.
- Keep the majority of your money and IDs – that you won’t need to access regularly – in your money belt. Keep your daily spending money in a dummy wallet. This way you won’t have to dig around your money belt for your daily spending money.
- Know the conversion rate of the country you’re visiting. If you get fuzzy with numbers, bring a small calculator to help you convert the currency.
- Inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid having any of your accounts or cards put on hold.
- Contact your credit card provider to ensure that your credit card does not charge foreign transaction fees.
- Consider traveling during that shoulder season – the time between the peak and low seasons. They’re usually less travelers and great deals.
- Consider booking a vacation package to save money on your overall trip. A vacation package is bundling the flight hotel car rental in any other activities to help reduce the overall cost.
- To save on an extra nights accommodation, book a red eye flight or an overnight bus.
- Always negotiate a general cost before getting into a taxi. Some taxis don’t run on meters and will rip you off.
- Negotiate at local markets. It’s common practice in most countries and a whole lot of fun, but be friendly.
- Avoid exchanging money at the airport. Usually the exchange rates are through the roof. If you need money at the airport use an ATM.
- Swap your SIM card with a locally provided SIM card or a long-distance SIM card to help save money on your phone bill.
Health / Beauty
- At least three months before your trip, visit a travel clinic to get the recommended vaccinations. Some vaccinations take three months to kick in.
- Before you leave visit your doctor and ask for a general antibiotic prescription in case you get a virus.
- Keep your fingernails short to avoid unnecessary bacteria build up. This is critical in India.
- Keep eye drops and chap stick readily accessible on long flights and bus trips.
- Long travel days can lead to dark circles under the eyes. To help, place cool tea bags over your eyes. And stock up on free tea bags that are offered from hotels.
- Sanitary wipes or sanitary gel are great for travel.
- If you have any medical conditions, pack plenty of medicine in case of emergency. If you have a high risk medical condition, write it down and the steps to take in an emergency, and keep it with you at all times.
- Changing time zones can lead to stress and impact your menstrual cycle. Plan accordingly.
- If you’re pregnant and planning to fly, ensure that the airlines will allow it. Some airlines will require a doctor’s certificate.
- Check your overseas medical insurance coverage to ensure that your policy applies overseas. If it does not, consider getting international travel insurance.
- To help you sleep and keep you refreshed, pack an inflatable pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask. These are critical items to help you rest on long flights and bus rides.
- Carry a snack and water with you when you travel. High-protein items such as nuts and power bars are great and travel well.
- To keep fit while the road, consider walking versus taking a bus or taxi, watch what you eat, take an outdoor tour, meditate, pack a lightweight jump rope, or do a circuit training in your hotel room.
- Consider using a Diva Cup – a “usable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally and sits low in the vaginal canal” – for long travel days or trekking.
- Avoid going outside at dusk and dawn in areas with mosquitoes.
- If you get a mosquito bite, rub a little deodorant with antiperspirant over it to help with the itching.
- Familiarize yourself with the country’s toilets. Many countries have squat toilets that you’ll need to know how to use beforehand.
- If you’re traveling to a location that has squat toilets, always roll up your pants before using them.
- Coconut oil is great for travel. It can be used as a moisturizer, makeup remover, hair de-frizzer, night cream, or to help with dry cuticles. Plus you can also cook with it!
- Toothpaste is great for not only brushing your teeth, but can be used to minimize pimples (place on the pimple and leave overnight), cool cooking burns, hold hair in place (like a hair gel), and remove stains from your clothes or shoes.
- Take pictures of maps (e.g. the Metro system, geographic area, or hiking trail) so you can reference it easily if you get lost without pulling out a clunky guidebook.
- Talk to the locals to get an idea of the best things to do and see in an area. Chances are, you’ll get off the tourist trail and immersed into the local culture.
- Get off the tourist trail. Take a local bus into the surrounding city or village, rent a car and drive around, or toss the map and just explore.
- Immerse yourself in the culture and learn something new. Take a language class, a cooking class, or artisan class to learn something new.
- Don’t plan every day. Leaving a few days unscheduled allows for more flexibility, spontaneity, and fun with your travel plans.
- Support local business. Skip the chain restaurants and businesses and show your love for small businesses.
- Research the UNESCO world heritage sites for great travel destinations.
- Skip the tour groups and do your own self-guided tour.
- Check out the visitor centers. You can get great recommendations and coupons for local activities.
- Document your travels by keeping a journal, taking photos, clipping a few pieces of magazines or newspapers, and drawing pictures.
- Be in the moment. Don’t worry about taking the best photo of yourself in front of some famous monument. Instead, take in the scenery, sip a cup of coffee at Café, or read a book in a park.
- Skip the hotel room and consider alternative accommodations. Stay at a hostel, couch surf, or house sit for free accommodations.
- Do something that scares you. There’s no better time to step outside your comfort zone than while traveling. Hitchhike to your next destination, bungee jump off a bridge, or take a ghost tour in a cemetery.
- Don’t be afraid to travel alone. There’s nothing more empowering than being a woman traveler in charge of her own destiny. It’s okay to have breakfast at a café, watch a movie in a local cinema, or stroll the streets by yourself. Being alone gives you time to reflect on your travels at your own pace.
- Strike up a conversation with fellow travelers. They can offer great insights to the local area or other destinations that you might not have otherwise considered.
- Stay connected with friends and family back home by using Skype or FaceTime. If you don’t bring a computer, visit an internet café.
- Instead of going to a bookstore, visit the local hostel or guesthouse and asked them if they have a book exchange.
- Many buses don’t stop for bathroom breaks, even if they are long bus rides. Ask if the bus has a bathroom or will stop along the way. If there is not a bathroom or stops, avoid drinking large amounts of water before the journey.
- If you’ll be sleeping in questionable bed, consider bringing a sleep sack. A sleep sack is similar to a pillowcase except they’re larger for your body and usually made of silk so they’re compact and lightweight.
Do you have more travel tips for women?
Leave a comment below and we’ll review and add them to the list for our fellow women travelers.