Packing for a trip is always a challenge. You may want to take everything such as a hairdryer, kitten-heels and an assortment of handbags which are essential for back home, but practicality is the key when you travel. One of the most useful packing tips for solo travel is – if you can travel light, then do. Not only will it help reduce your baggage fees on planes but you’ll be more comfortable walking from place without a heavy load on your back. The rule of thumb is to get everything you think you need to take then divide it by two (at the very least). Enough clothes for one week is plenty as you can always do your washing on the road.

Packing Tips for Solo Travel

Packing tips for solo travel


As tempting as it may be to just buy a cheap bag, this is probably the biggest investment you’re going to make for your travels so it’s definitely worth investing in a decent backpack especially if you’re travelling for a long time. The last thing you want is for it to break when you’re away. Paying a bit more ensures a sturdier bag and one that will last longer.

There are so many bags on the market and it all depends on personal preference but the features to look for are:

  • A rain cover (essential if you’re travelling during rainy seasons or have your bag strapped to the top of a bus).
  • One with an internal frame.
  • One with an attached daypack (you can use 
the daypack during the day or zip it onto your main luggage during check-in on flights to give you an extra bag for hand luggage).
  • One with zips which you can lock together with a padlock for safety.
  • One with the right volume for you (65 litres is a good size).

Backpacks are easy to carry and have comfortable straps for your waist and shoulders and can be easily carried over rough terrain, perfect for places which don’t have cemented roads. If you don’t want to take a backpack then consider taking a suitcase instead which is more suited towards city travel and places with smooth surfaces (difficult for places off the beaten track). Or even better, go for the two in one – a backpack with wheels so you can wheel it or strap it to your back, but it is heavier than a standard backpack, (Berghaus also sell wheeled travel backpacks).

Recommended Backpacks

You can buy backpacks from outdoor specialists, hiking shops or retail stores but here are my favourite brands:

Berghaus – They’ve been making rucksacks since 1970 and deliver to sixty countries.

Deuter – Founded in 1898, Deuter is one of the leading backpacks worldwide.

Karrimor – A UK producer that pioneered the alpine rucksack.

Highlander – A Scottish outdoor equipment manufacture at affordable prices.


Many backpacks also have a daypack attached which can be zipped off and used separately. If you don’t have a daypack then take a zipped bag for walking around during the day. Material bags can be found practically everywhere but if you’re after something more practical which can be stored in your jacket packet then the Ultra-Sil Day Pack by Sea to Summit is the perfect bag. Strong, practical and extremely compact, this day pack is perfect for carrying anything whether you’re on a hike, shopping at a market or spending a day at the beach.

Recommended Suitcases

Depending on how much you want to pay, here are my recommended brands for suitcases:

Antler – A British brand with nearly 100 years experience.

Delsey – US luggage designed for personal and business travel.

Karabars – A UK Retailer with unusual curved luggage.

Samsonite – Known for their quality and free delivery in the UK.

Packing tips for solo travel

Girly Packing Tips for Solo Travel

So now you’ve decided on your bag, what do you put in it? One packing tip is to take mini toiletries if you’re only away for a short time. You can buy plastic bottles and just pour your favourites into them to take them with you. Don’t forget that you can probably buy toiletries when you’re away too so just take the essentials. Perfume sticks are easier and lighter to carry than a glass bottle for instance.

Think about your hair as well. Highlights may look great but they may be difficult to maintain on the road so consider dying it just one shade and taking extra colourants with you if you’re away longer than six weeks, or just keep it natural. Take scissors if you can cut your own hair and shampoo bars instead of a bottle of shampoo (they are lighter and last for up to 80 washes).

If you can’t afford to lose it, then don’t take it. Take costume jewellery instead of anything expensive and avoid taking a really nice watch if you’re venturing to a less-developed country. This helps to avoid being more of a target.

When you travel, you can end up on long train journeys, hiking extensively on mountain trails or spending hours on a bus getting to a new destination. The key thing to remember is to pack plenty of comfy clothing that you can wear for any activity.

Packing tips for solo travel


It’s so easy nowadays with e-tickets and reservations being sent direct to your phone instead of having to take paper tickets. A good tip is to photocopy all your paperwork and keep the copies in a separate part of your luggage.

Don’t forget that you can buy clothes and shoes as you need them, unless you’re going somewhere really off the radar, so you don’t have to take everything with you. To make sure you don’t forget anything, check each list in the columns for what to pack. Happy packing!

Important documents

* Passport (and a photocopy)

* Visas

* Flight tickets

* Booking confirmations

* Travel insurance

* Driving licence – both parts

* Debit card / travel money card

* Credit cards

* Local currency

* Electrical equipment

* Plug adapter

* Mobile phone (unlock it)

* Camera and charger

* Extra memory card for camera

* Torch and batteries

* Ipod

* Any other chargers

Packing tips for solo travel

First Aid Kit

* Medical Card (with all vaccinations)

* Yellow fever certificate

* Antimalarial tablets

* Antihistamines

* Mosquito spray / insect repellent

* Bite creams

* Rehydration formulas

* Pain killers

* Imodium

* Strepsils

* Tissues

* Plasters

* Hand bacterial gels

* Vitamins

* Sewing kit & safety pins

* Travel sickness tablets

* Ear plugs

* Condoms

Packing tips for solo travel

Other Items to Pack

* Sunglasses

* Towel

* Books / Kindle

* Language phrasebook

* Padlock – combination one

* Guide book

* Money belt

* Alarm (or use your phone)

* sealable bag (for dirty washing)

* Lighter

* Notebook and pen

* Playing cards

* Portable washing line

* Sink plug (for washing your clothes)

Packing tips for solo travel


* Contact lenses / glasses

* shampoo

* conditioner (or a two in one)

* Ear plugs

* Soap / shower gel

* Cotton buds

* Deodorant

* Moisturiser

* Toothbrush

* Toothpaste

* Perfume

* Make-up

* Make-up wipes

* Travel wash (for washing clothes)

* Hairbrush

* Travel towel

* Tissues

* Suntan lotion

* Aftersun

* Feminine hygiene products

Packing tips for solo travel

Clothes Packing List

Obviously this all comes down to personal preference so if you want to pack your favourite little black dress or neon glow clubbing top then do. Here are some essentials on what you should pack:

* Trousers x 1

* Jeans x 1

* Skirt x 2

* Short sleeved t-shirt x 1

* Long sleeved top x 1

* Going out outfit x 2

* Day dress x 1

* Vest tops / strappy tops x 3

* Shorts x 1

* Cardigan x 1

* Fleece

* Sarong

* Bikini / swimsuit

* Bras x 3

* Knickers x 5

* Sports bra

* Socks x 3

* Trainers

* Sandals

* Flip flops

* Hat

4 thoughts on “Packing Tips For Solo Travel

  1. Joanne

    When backpacking and skint, I managed to regularly wash hair and body with a small bar of soap – so if you run out of shampoo, don’t panic. And baby wipes are handy when travelling particularly in places where the toilets are basic. Imodium? Never needed, but be aware of remedies such as drinking full sugar soda and eating crisps to rehydrate / keep you going if you have an upset tummy. Perfume can make skin sensitive to sun so consider not taking any. Make-up – use the absolute minimum and get a natural glow from fun, fresh air and a bit of sun.


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