A Packing List for First Time International Female Travelers

If you’re about to head off on your first international adventure, you probably don’t quite know what to pack. I used to be a serious over-packer, but over time I’ve learned just how important it is to pack light. Traveling internationally for the first time can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Don’t let the fact that you already have three pairs of jeans and five sweatshirts thrown into your suitcase stress you out. I’ve got your back! In this packing list, I’m going to give you all the advice I have about the things you absolutely must take with you, what you can afford to leave behind, and what’s easy to pick up along the way.

A Packing List for First Time International Female Travelers | Rhiannon Travels

If you’re a female who is about to travel internationally for the first time, get comfortable. I’m about to share everything I’ve learned thus far, in regards to not taking my entire life’s possessions with me, for a two week trip. I don’t need those four pairs of leggings, and neither do you.

Related: Planning Your First International Trip: A Useful 10 Step Guide

A Packing List for First Time International Female Travelers

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Packing List for Summer Seasons and Hot Climates

Your packing list will depend on what weather and climate you’re heading into. Packing for a summer holiday will obviously mean you’ll be taking up far less space in your luggage, and will leave you with more room for shopping! Here are our suggestions for essentials items to pack when traveling to hot climates and warm destinations.

A Packing List for First Time International Female Travelers | Rhiannon Travels

Clothing & Underwear

T-Shirts and Tank Tops (two of each) – Packing two different t-shirts and two tank tops will give you a bit of variety, and is a great space saver. Choose simple, versatile shirts for optimal convenience.

Shorts (three pairs) – Pack one pair of comfortable shorts to wear around the hotel or on a quick walk down the street, and two nicer pairs of denim or patterned shorts for every day wear. Just like with most of my suggestions in this post, the more versatile the shorts you pack, the better!


Comfortable and Good Quality Leggings (one pair) – I swear by Lorna Jane leggings. They may be a bit more expensive than most leggings, but I promise the cost is well worth it. I have six different pairs, in all sorts of shapes and lengths, and I love them all.

Dress or Playsuit (two) – I’ve recently started to delve into the world of summer dresses, and I must say, it’s pretty exciting. Shorts were my go-to summer outfit, and despite how uncomfortable some were, I refused to switch things up. Well, I’ve come to realise just how great dresses and playsuits are, especially when it comes to traveling. They’re super thin, light-weight and easy to pack and can be versatile enough to go from day to night.

Light Jacket or Sweater (one) – Although you may be traveling during summer, evenings and nights can still get a bit cold in certain parts of the world. Pack a light jacket or sweater, just incase!


Underwear – Depending on the type of accomodation you choose, you may have the convenience of a washing machine. If you do have access to a washing machine, you won’t need to pack as many pairs of underwear. Even if your accomodation doesn’t have laundry facilities, there will almost always be a public laundromat that you can use.

Bra or Sports Bra (two) – I like to pack one proper bra and one sports bra whenever I travel. That way, I have the two options of either wearing a full support bra, or a comfortable sports bra.

Socks (three pairs) – Pack your socks depending on how often you’ll be hiking or spending time wearing sneakers. When we travel in summer, I don’t generally pack too many pairs of socks.


Bathing Suit or Bikini (two) – If you’re traveling to a warm and summery location, pack a couple of bathing suits and bikinis. They’re small and won’t take up too much space in your luggage, so you can afford to pack some variety!

Pyjamas or Lazing Around Clothes (one) – I generally walk around the house in an oversized basketball jersey during summer, whether I’m on holiday or at home. They’re comfortable, cool in the warm weather and nice to sleep in! Pack one pair of pyjamas or lazing around clothes, for some added comfort during your down time.

Footwear

Sneakers or Walking Shoes (one) – Whether or not you plan to do lots of hiking and hour long explorations through the jungle, it’s still a good idea to pack a comfortable pair of sneakers.

Everyday Sandals (one) – I like wearing sandals while out exploring, except times where a lot of walking is on the cards, like a theme park day. Pack a comfortable and good quality pair of sandals that will go with every outfit.


Thongs or Flip Flops (two) – Here in Australia we call them thongs, but to everyone else in the world, you would probably know them as flip flops. These are great for almost any occasion, and an absolute must if you’re visiting a beachside location. I always pack two pairs of thongs, just incase.

Fancier Sandals or Heels (one) – If you’re planning a night or two out on the town, or even just out for a fancy dinner, don’t forget to pack a cute pair of heels. I personally don’t wear heels, because I’m far too uncoordinated and tall, so I just pack an extra pair of sandals instead!

Miscellaneous & Accessories

Plastic Bags and Sandwich Bags – Plastic bags are great for storing dirty shoes, clothes and underwear in your luggage. I always pack a few plastic bags, as well as some sandwich bags to store small bits and bobs. Sandwich bags are great for keeping chargers separated and toiletries organised.

Packing Cubes – These are a traveler’s best friend. Although they are mostly used by backpackers who travel with only the bag on their backs, I use them whenever I travel and I almost always have checked luggage. Packing cubes are great for keeping my suitcase organised, and makes it super easy to find exactly what I’m looking for.


Sun Protection – If you’re traveling to a hot location, a floppy hat or protective cap is a must. Don’t forget to pack a good quality pair of sunglasses too.

Packing List for Winter Seasons and Cold Climates

Your packing list for winter will include much heavier, bulkier and ultimately larger items. This will make it harder to remain under the weight limit for most airlines, so always make sure you’re just packing the essentials. Here are some of the things we suggest packing, if you’re traveling to a colder location.

A Packing List for First Time International Female Travelers | Rhiannon Travels

Clothing & Underwear

Long Sleeved Shirts (two) – Long sleeved shirts are great to pack when traveling to colder destinations. They are awesome for layering, can be super versatile and will keep you a lot warmer on a brisk and cold night.

Sweatshirt or Hoodie (two) – I have a hoodie obsession. No matter how many I currently have sitting unworn in my cupboard back home, I always buy more while traveling. I don’t know what it is, but it’s becoming a problem. Don’t be like me. Pack one or two comfortable, warm and versatile hoodies for the duration of your trip and try not to buy ten more while you’re there!


Full Length Leggings (two) – Lorna Jane’s full length leggings are probably my favourite clothing item of all time. I pretty much live in them during winter, and wear them every day while traveling. I generally wear one pair on the plane and pack the other in my suitcase.

Comfortable Jeans (one to two) – I’m personally not a fan of jeans, so I don’t normally pack any when I travel. But if you have a favourite pair or two that you love, bring them along! The more comfy and versatile the better.

Thermal Shirts (three) – Thermal shirts are great if you’re heading to much colder destinations, particular those in the snow. They will keep you much warmer than a regular long sleeve shirt, and are also great for layering.


Warm Coat or Jacket (one) – Even if you have to wear it on the plane, always pack a warm coat or jacket when traveling to cold locations. You may not wear it everyday or need it at all, but it’s always a good idea to pack one just incase.

Underwear (ten) – Depending on the type of accomodation you choose, you may have the convenience of a washing machine. If you do have access to a washing machine, you won’t need to pack as many pairs of underwear. Even if your accomodation doesn’t have laundry facilities, there will almost always be a public laundromat that you can use.

Bras (two) – I generally pack one proper bra and one sports bra when I travel. That way, I can either wear a full support bra, or a comfortable sports bra.
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Socks (five) – If you’re traveling to a colder location, you’ll more than likely need more pairs of socks, as you’ll be wearing enclosed shoes more often.

Pyjamas or Lazing Around Clothes (two) – I don’t normally walk around the house in an oversized basketball jersey during winter, that would be silly. Instead, I tend to wear oversized hoodies instead. Whatever your cold weather comfortable clothes are, pack a couple sets of them!

Footwear

Sneakers or Walking Shoes (one) – Whether or not you plan to do lots of hiking and hour long explorations through the jungle, it’s still a good idea to pack a comfortable pair of sneakers. These type of shoes also come in handy during cold weather, and you’ll more than likely be glad you packed them.

Comfortable Enclosed Shoes (one) – If you decide you don’t want to browse New York City wearing bright pink sneakers, perhaps opt for some more every day type shoes instead. Vans and Converse are great options, and come in a huge range of styles and colours.


Nice Boots (one) – When you’re not out exploring during the day and hiking up mountains, you’ll probably be going out to dinner and enjoying the night life. Pack a nice pair of boots to wear out at night – just make sure they’re still versatile!

Thongs or Flip Flops (one) – You probably won’t need thongs or flip flops for anywhere other than your hotel or accomodation, but it’s still a good idea to pack some just incase.

Sandals (one) – Even if you choose to travel to a colder destination, there may be a nice and sunny day or two throughout your stay. Be prepared and pack some cute sandals. They’re small and don’t take up too much space in a suitcase.

Miscellaneous & Accessories

Winter Accessories – If you’re traveling during winter, you’ll probably need a scarf, pair of gloves and a beanie. Even more so if you’re spending some time in a snowy location! Don’t forget to pack your favourite winter accessories.

Packing Cubes – You probably won’t fit as much in them, but packing cubes are still a must.


Plastic Bags and Sandwich Bags – Just like when packing for summer trips, plastic bags are great for storing dirty shoes, clothes and underwear in your luggage. I always pack a few plastic bags, as well as some sandwich bags to store small bits and bobs. Sandwich bags are great for keeping chargers separated and toiletries organised.

Packing List – Toiletries

Generally speaking, you can find most toiletries quite easily in most places around the world. Items such as shampoo, conditioner, hair dryers and soap are also fairly commonly provided by hotel rooms.

Toiletry Bag – I recommend buying a hanging toiletry bag that has clear, zipped compartments. This will make finding what you need much easier, and will also save space in your luggage and accomodation.

Moisturiser – I get dry skin all year round, even more so during the colder months of the year. Packing a good quality moisturiser is always an essential, and I don’t leave the country without one that I know works for me.

Travel Sized Bottles – Most hotels generally provide complimentary shampoo and conditioner, though, so double check with your accomodation before arriving. If they do not provide shampoo and conditioner, squeeze some from your full sized bottles at home into travel sized bottles!


Medication – Any essentials such as birth control, vitamins and pain killers for headaches, stomach aches and colds and flu. 

Toothbrush and Toothpaste I personally suggest packing your toothbrush and toothpaste in your carry on bag. That way you will be able to freshen up during your flight or when arriving at your destination. 

Sunscreen – You’ll generally be able to find sunscreen pretty easily in most parts of the world, but if you have sensitive skin or use a specific brand of sunscreen, remember to pack your own.

Deodorant Aerosol cans are not allowed in carry on luggage, so I suggest packing a roll-on instead. That way you can pack one deodorant in your carry on backpack and one in your checked luggage, without taking up too much space or causing issues when going through security. 


Makeup – I wear make up on most days while traveling, for no other reason than the fact that I enjoy it! Of course, I don’t go overboard, and only pack what I feel are essentials. Generally when it come to make up, I pack: mascara, concealer, loose powder, eye lash curler, bronzer and make up remover wipes. 

Personal Hygiene – Tampons can be hard to find in some countries, so it’s always best to bring your own just incase. Pads are generally much easier to find, so keep this in mind when packing for that time of the month. 

Hair Straightener – I always pack my hair straightener, regardless of where I’m traveling. I’m sure there are backpackers cringing right now, but I like my hair to be straight. Okay? Travel sized hair straighteners are a good alternative if you’d prefer to not pack a full sized one. 


Depending on where you’re traveling (especially in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand), it’s best to bring any medications in their original packaging, and take your prescription with you. Pain killers are pretty easy to find in most countries, so to avoid drama at the airport, consider purchasing these when you arrive.

Packing List – Carry On

Good Quality Backpack – If you are traveling with both checked luggage (that goes underneath the plane) and a carry on bag, be sure to purchase a good quality backpack. I guarantee it will not only be the perfect way to store all of your in-flight essentials, it will always come in handy while you’re out exploring each day.

Travel Wallet – These are great for keeping your passport, credit card, debit card, cash, boarding pass and all sorts of tickets in the same place. I have a travel wallet with a zip, so it’s essentially just a purse that has been specifically designed for travelers!


Passport – The most important possession you will have with you while traveling. Pack your passport first, then triple check that you’ve got it before heading to the airport. You won’t be able to leave the country without your passport.

Passport Holder – What better way to keep your passport safe, than in a cute passport holder? Some come with other card slots for storing a credit or debit card, and some just come with a pretty design on the front. Whichever you choose, you will rest easy knowing your most important possession is safe and sound.


Neck Pillow – These are available at the airport if you decide to purchase one at the last minute. We highly recommend memory foam neck pillows, not only for use on the plane, but also in hotel rooms and on longer duration public transport trips.

Travel Documents – Most travel documents are sent electronically these days. But it’s always a good idea to have a hard copy of all flight, hotel and ticket information, just incase. You can keep them in that travel wallet you just spontaneously purchased! 

Phone and Charger – Because, well, duh.

Laptop or Tablet and Charger – Whether you decide to take your full size laptop or just a tablet, make sure they are easy to take out of your carry on luggage when going through security. 


Headphones – Noise cancelling headphones are a must, especially on long haul international flights. I have a pair of over the ear, noise cancelling headphones and they’re great for blocking out sounds while on full flights.

Camera and Charger – Whether you’re a professional photographer or not, you will want to pack your camera. Don’t forget the charger and a protective case or camera bag to store it all in.


Spare Memory Cards – It’s always a good idea to bring a second or third memory card. Then you won’t need to worry about taking too many photos, and can snap away until your heart is content. 

Small Toiletry Bag – Pack a small, see-through toiletry bag for essentials like lip balm, tissues, deodorant, pain killers, birth control (if you use it), toothbrush, toothpaste and moisturiser. Remember all liquids must be in a travel size bottle.

Sanitising Wipes – These are perfect for freshening up during a long flight or wiping down your tray table and seat before sitting down or eating. Keep a small travel sized pack of sanitising wipes in your carry on backpack, and you won’t have to worry about cleanliness on flights ever again!


A Kindle or Book – Kindles are becoming more and more popular these days. They are great for travel, as it means you don’t need to lug around a thick, heavy book and can instead store hundreds of e-books on your very own Kindle!

Spare Outfit and Underwear – Touch wood this doesn’t happen to you, but lost luggage happens quite frequently. Although losing your luggage is a very annoying and upsetting situation, if you’re prepared, it won’t be as bad. Pack a spare outfit and underwear in your carry on bag, just incase. That way, if your luggage does get lost, you will still be able to freshen up in a nice clean outfit.

A Travel Adapter – Different countries use different plugs and adapters. We recommend purchasing a multi-country travel adapter, so you don’t need to purchase individual ones for each country you visit. Most even come with USB ports, for ultimate convenience!

Thongs or Flip Flops – If I’m not already wearing a pair of thongs on the plane, I like to keep some in my carry on bag just incase. They’re great for trips to the bathroom and to wear on a long airport layover.


A Warm and Comfortable Jacket – Planes can get very cold, especially on international flights. The further you travel, the higher you will fly; and the higher you fly, the colder the plane will be! I like to pack a warm jacket, regardless of the destination I’m traveling to.

Empty Water Bottle – Open and full beverages aren’t allowed through security, so bring along an empty water bottle to fill up while you wait. Then you’ll have plenty of fresh water to get you through your flight.

Snacks – I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but plane food sucks. Solve this issue by bringing your own delicious snacks. If you forget to pack some before arriving at the airport, there are a ton of stores that sell snacks before and after security, you’ll just have to pay a little extra.


Portable Wifi Device or Local Sim Card – A portable wifi device is the best way to ensure you will have internet almost anywhere you travel. For an alternative to portable wifi, consider purchasing a local sim card at the airport. You can find them in most terminals upon landing, and you’ll not only have data, but also credit to make phone calls and send text messages.


So there you have it, the ultimate packing list for females traveling internationally for the first time. Whether you’re visiting a hot or cold destination, I hope you learnt some new ways to pack efficiently and save space while doing so! Your packing list will vary depending on where you’re traveling, how long you’re staying, your accomodation and personal clothing choices. But generally speaking, these are the main essentials you should add to your own packing list!


Are you about to embark on your first international holiday? Have you written your packing list yet? Tell me in the comments below!

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A Packing List for International Female Travelers: A First Timer's Guide A Packing List for International Female Travelers: A First Timer's Guide

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

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  • I find lists like this invaluable, mostly because I am a terrible packer. It’s silly – the more you do something, the better you should get at it – right?! Yet, I leave packing until the last minute, I unpack like, a week later and I always either bring items which are wholly unnecessary, or forget something important. Thanks for this list – I will be referring to it the next time I head abroad for an extended period of time!

    • You would think that’s the case, right?! I’ve gotten a lot better, but I still tend to pack things I don’t need! Thanks so much for reading! 🙂

  • Oooohhhhh I feel you. I used to be a traveller overpacking every time. I did my first trip last year where I had to spend 2 weeks in Mozambique and had to travel light. Since that I know it works. I have a friend she is going on her first trip overseas soon and she has never been abroad. Your post is perfect for her – going to send the link to her 🙂

    • It’s SO easy to overpack, isn’t it! But if you’re forced to pack light, it’s definitely doable. Thank you so much, Claudi! 🙂

  • This is such a thorough and practical list! I used to pack by just sort of piling things around the suitcase a few days beforehand and look it over occasionally to make sure I was bringing everything I needed – of course, I forgot important things and overpacked lots of not-so-important things. Recently I started making a detailed (like, OCD-level detailed) packing list, and now I can pack the night before leaving and be sure I’m not forgetting anything.

    • Thank you so much Sara! Yes that definitely sounds familiar! Haha. OCD level detailed is the best way to go! Especially when it comes to making sure you’ve packed everything. Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Katie

    For first timers I think they need to know about the liquid restrictions relating to hand luggage. You mention taking a toiletry bag – but all the liquids need to be in containers of 100ml or less and in a clear sealed bag (e.g. sandwich bag) of 1l or less. I’ve heard stories from lots of people of having their moisturiser confiscated at the airport security! (these rules apply to all flights in Europe and international flights between other countries)

    • That’s a great suggestion, thank you! I will definitely add something about liquid restrictions. 😀 Thanks so much for reading, Katie! 🙂

  • I find this one more than useful! I pack for short trips but I’ll love to go through your advices before going somewhere again 🙂 P. S. Portable charger / power bank is a muuuust for me! Not just for traveling, for every day 🙂

    • That’s awesome! Packing lists come in handy, don’t they! 🙂 Yes I agree! Portable chargers are great, even for every day use 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • I love this. Really well structured and comprehensive. Can I just say? I used to always forget my flip flops…haha, I never leave without them. My best friends 😀
    Sometimes I over pack…but I have my husband to make me pick just x amount of shoes only haha

    • Thanks so much Cory! Flip flops come in handy don’t they! Super comfortable and easy. I broke mine a few months ago and still haven’t gotten around to buying new ones! Haha lucky it’s winter in Australia at the moment so it doesn’t matter! That’s a good way of doing it! Men always pack the absolute minimum! haha 🙂 Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Great post! Something I’ll need for my trip in the future. Would be saving it.

  • Thank you SO much for this post! I’m moving to Europe at the end of the year and have just started thinking about packing (and packing lightly), so this is super helpful!! I love a good list to make sure I’m organised so I’ll be drawing one up soon 😀

    http://travelmatters.co

    • That’s so exciting! Thanks so much for reading, Sophie! I hope your move to Europe goes smoothly – and you don’t overpack! 😛

  • I love how you really broke down this list based on climates/weather, carry on essentials, toiletries, and even extra must needed items! This is super helpful (even for more seasoned travelers–just makes a nice checklist!

    • Thanks so much, Miranda! I tried to set the post out as easy to follow as possible, glad it came across that way! 🙂

  • Great list. No matter how organised I am I always forget something!

    • It’s so easy to forget simple things, isn’t it!? I guess the bright side is, unless you’ve forgotten your passport or cash/money, everything else you can generally pick up along the way! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • These are such helpful tips! Especially the part about packing the extra day of clothes in your carry-on. I’m surprised you didn’t mention an international outlet adapter though or I just missed it. One of my roommates in our trip to Asia burned out her hair straighter/hot tools because the voltage was off!

  • Taryn

    This is a great list! I also like to bring a pashmina type scarf on the plane since it can double as a blanket.

  • Great list! Zip lock bags are a staple for me as well. I’m amazed at how often I end up using them!

  • Interesting post. With a couple of switches I can see how it can suit most types of people. For example I am quite lax when it comes to make up and always bring very little of it when I travel, and I don’t straighten my hair; but I overall agree that with just a few “customizations” it’s a good list.
    One thing I don’t agree with is airplane food. I love airplane food, it always intrigues me. It’s my guilty pleasure 😀

  • Cat Smith

    Such a great comprehensive list. I still haven’t got round to getting myself a neck pillow, really need to!

  • Definitely agree with the packing cubes. I can’t travel without them now! x