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

If you’re a serious over-packer like I am, writing a packing list is the best possible thing you can do! Heading off on an international adventure can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first overseas experience! It can be hard knowing what you’ll need to take with you, what you can afford to leave behind, and what’s easy to pick up along the way. Because of this, packing can be one of the worst things about travel!

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

You either love packing or you hate it. There’s really no in between. I’m a severe over-packer. Basically, I shove far too much into my suitcase, thinking I’ll need those 4 pairs of leggings. Realistically, I wear the same pair every day until they need to be washed. I always end up packing way too much, which then means I’m stuck with a huge, heavy suitcase that I can barely carry!

Packing doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience though. It can even be fun and exciting if you have an idea about what you’d like to take with you. That’s where I come in! I’m here with the ultimate international travel packing list. Everything you could possibly need, while you’re embarking on the adventure of a life time!

Here is everything you'll need to pack for your first international travel experience! Click To Tweet

Series Post #1: Planning Your First International Trip: A Useful 10 Step Guide

A Packing List for Female Travelers: Everything You’ll Need for Your First International Adventure (plus some tips!)

Please note: the list below are just suggestions. You can pick and choose from what I’ve listed, depending on your style and what you consider to be essential!

Summer Seasons and Hot Climates

Your packing list will change, depending on what sort of climate you’re heading into. Packing for a summer holiday will obviously mean you’ll be taking up far less space in your suitcase. This is a great opportunity to bring along smaller (therefore, lighter!) luggage.

  • 2 to 3 comfortable t-shirts or tank tops – choose simple and versatile shirts, for a great space saver!
  • 1 to 2 pairs of leggings – opt for knee length leggings during warmer months
  • 2 to 3 pairs of shorts – avoid anything with heavy fabric (it will take too long to dry)
  • 1 dress if dresses are your thing! The comfier and more versatile, the better!
  • 1 to 2 light jackets or sweaters – when traveling during summer you may not need them. But it’s also good to have at least one light sweater for cooler nights, of it you’re required to cover up when visiting certain religious cities
  • 1 pair of sneakers / walking / hiking shoes – it’s always good to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes, just incase a hiking opportunity arises! 
  • 2 pairs of thin socks – great for those walking shoes! Also good to wear around your hotel room or hostel dorm
  • 1 to 2 bathing suits – if you’re headed to a beachside location, it may be a good idea to bring a few pairs!
  • 10+ pairs of underwear – remember you can always hand wash when you’re running low
  • 1 to 2 comfortable bras – I recommend packing a sports bra as well as a regular bra, for ultimate comfort
  • 1 to 2 pairs of thongs flip flops or sandals, for you non-Australians reading this!
Summer travel essentials - everything you'll need for international travel! Click To Tweet

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, so always make sure you’re just packing the essentials!

  • 2 to 3 long sleeved shirts – thermal tops are encouraged! They’ll keep you super warm, and you won’t need to bring along as many!
  • 1 to 2 sweatshirts – I encourage packing a hooded jumper/sweatshirt. It will come in handy during rainy periods, and they’re generally a lot warmer!
  • 2 to 3 pairs of full length leggings – I wear leggings every day while traveling during the colder months. They’re super comfortable, can be worn with anything and if you invest in a good quality pair, they’ll last forever! Lululemon have some great styles, perfect for travelers
  • 1 pair of black or blue jeans – bring along a versatile pair that will go with anything. That way, you’ll only need to pack one perfect pair of jeans instead of multiple!
  • 1 pair of sneakers or walking shoes – make sure they’re comfortable and hold up well in wet or muddy environments
  • 1 pair of boots – boots are perfect for evening dinners or nights out on the town!
  • 10+ pairs of underwear – utilise the laundry services at your accomodation, if they have the option. If not, hand washing is the way to go!
  • 1 high quality coat/jacket – try to choose one that’s warm, versatile, comfortable and doesn’t take up too much luggage space
  • 5+ pairs of socks – it’s best to pack more pairs of socks during winter than summer, as you’ll be wearing enclosed shoes more often!
  • 1 pair of gloves – for ultimate convenience, try to find a pair of gloves that can be used with smartphones
  • 1 scarf – I recommend an infinity scarf! They’re super comfortable, easy to wear and come in a ton of different colours. You can also buy them pretty much anywhere during winter!
  • 1 beanie – pack your favourite, most comfortable beanie, and you’ll only need one the whole trip!
A packing list with everything you'll need for international travel during winter! Click To Tweet


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.

  • 1 toiletry bag – I recommend finding one that has zipped plastic compartments. These make searching for what you are looking for, much easier!
  • Moisturiser for dry skin – this is a big problem for me, so I make sure to bring enough of my favourite moisturiser to last the duration of my trip
  • Refillable or travel sized bottles – perfect for shampoo and conditioner!
  • Disposable razors
  • Bar soap in soap container – most hotels will have soap available, but if you’re heading on a road trip or camping, I definitely suggest packing some!
  • Spare contacts – if you require them
  • Any medication you take daily – i.e birth control, vitamins etc
  • Pain killers – effective pain relief for headaches, back aches, stomach bug, colds and flu etc
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste I recommend bringing a couple of travel sized tubes of toothpaste, especially if you’re traveling remotely
  • 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, it’s a good idea to pack your own!
  • Deodorant opt for roll on deodorant as opposed to aerosol
  • General first aid supplies – bandaids, bandages, wound wipes etc
  • Makeup of your choice – try to keep it minimal!
  • Pads or tampons – tampons can be hard to find in some countries, so it’s always best to bring your own just incase!
  • Hair straightener – small, travel sized hair straighteners are cheap and easy to find at most department stores
  • Hair dryer – remember that most hotel rooms provide hair dryers these days!

Please note: Depending on where you’re traveling (Thailand is a good example), 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.

Besides shampoo and conditioner, what else do hotels provide? Click here to find out! Click To Tweet

Miscellaneous Items

  • Packing cubes – these are perfect for organising your clothes. You can purchase sets of packing cubes that come in a few different sizes, and they make finding items of closing a lot easier!
  • A high-quality suitcase or backpack lock – I strongly recommend purchasing a good quality lock for any luggage that you plan on checking (anything you won’t be taking as carry on)
  • A neck pillow – great for planes, trains and even hotel rooms with less-than-amazing pillows! You can find neck pillows almost anywhere, but if it’s a last minute thought, most airports will sell them (albeit, much more expensive than elsewhere!)
  • Plastic bags – perfect for storing dirty clothes, shoes and wet clothes if you’re at the beach or pool!
  • Sandwich bags – these are good for organising electronics, charging cords, jewellery or make-up. They also come in handy to store snacks for long road trips! 

Carry-on Essentials

This packing list is everything you should have in your carry on luggage. Basically, whatever is most important to you, and what you could not live without! Having your personal items close by means you’ll always know that they’re safe and won’t get lost in transport.

  • Passport – the #1 essential you cannot leave the house without! Pack your passport first, and triple check that you’ve got it before heading to the airport!
  • 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!
  • Travel wallet – perfect for keeping your passport, money, tickets, bank cards and travel documents safe. If you’re after a high quality travel wallet, kikki.K have some really cute ones! 
  • Phone and charger – because let’s be honest, we can’t live without our phones!
  • Portable charger – these are great for charging phones on the go. Simply charge the portable charger overnight, then while you’re out and about, you have a phone charger at easy access!
  • Headphones – for comfort, invest in over or on-ear headphones. Generally these types of headphones will have a noise cancelling feature, which is perfect to drown out annoying sounds on the plane!
  • Laptop and charger – make sure your laptop is easy to take out of your carry on luggage when going through security
  • Camera and charger – purchase a small camera bag to not only store your camera, but also your charger and spare memory cards!
  • Spare memory cards – it’s always a good idea to bring a second or third memory card. That way, you won’t need to worry about taking too many photos!
  • Small toiletry bag – for essentials like lip balm, deodorant, pain killers, birth control (if you use it), toothbrush, toothpaste and moisturiser. Let’s face it, traveling is an uncomfortable experience. You’ll be thankful you packed the essentials!
  • Make up wipes or baby wipes – perfect for freshening up during your flight
  • A book or magazine for the plane – or, if you’d prefer the electronic version, invest in a Kindle! 
  • Alternate ID – your home country drivers license or proof of age card will be fine!
  • Cash – in your home currency and the currency of the country you’re visiting
  • A spare outfit and underwear – it isn’t uncommon for airlines to lose luggage, so it’s best to bring along a spare outfit and underwear incase it happens to you!
  • A jacket – planes can get very cold, even during the summer months!
  • Flip flops or thongs – great for trips to the bathroom while flying, if you choose to take off your enclosed shoes on the plane
  • Tissues – grab yourself a travel sized pack from the supermarket. Trust me, they will come in handy
  • Empty water bottle – you aren’t allowed to take open, full beverages through security. So bring along an empty water bottle to fill up while you wait for your plane! That way you’ll have plenty of water to get you through the flight
  • Snacks – if you’re like me and hate airplane food, make sure you bring plenty of delicious snacks
  • Portable wifi device – these come in super handy while traveling, especially if you require the internet. Skyroam have a great deal on their portable wifi device, and you can purchase one for $80. Unlimited data, and the ability to connect up to 5 devices!
Your passport should be the first thing that you pack into your carry on luggage! Click To Tweet

Tip: For an alternative to the portable wifi, you can purchase local sim cards at the airport. Grab one when you land, and you’ll not only have data, but also credit to make phone calls and send text messages.

Your packing list will vary depending on where you’re traveling, how long you’re staying, your accomodation and what you like to wear. But generally, these are the main essentials you should consider adding to your packing list!

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

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

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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 😀


    • 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 🙂