Not Boringly-Obvious Travel Essentials
Some hot weather travel essentials for women are so obvious that I’m going to list them for you quickly and move on:
Passport, sunscreen, underwear, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, travel visas, birth control, tampons/diva cup, water bottle, cash, sunglasses, razor or wax strips, tweezers, hairbrush, and a suitcase or backpack to pack it all into.
With those out of the way, let’s get to 15 hot weather travel essentials for women I’m actually excited about.
Hot Weather Travel Essentials for Women
The first time I went on a solo trip, I brought two massive suitcases. Their wheels nearly broke off as I dragged them over the uneven pavement to my shared apartment in Barcelona.
Over the 10-plus years of travel since then (almost always to hot weather destinations, because… obviously), I’ve tried and tested tons of different products, clothes, bags, and shoes and dumped a lot of crap.
Only a few things remain that come with me no matter where I go. These are my favorites.
Most of the links to my favorite warm-weather travel essentials for women are affiliate links. They cost you nothing and earn us a small commission.
Travel Essentials to Look and Feel Good and Be Ready for Whatever
1. Ecco Soft White Sneakers
Tired, sore feet suck.
I eliminate this problem by getting shoes I can walk in for hours, and still feel decently stylish.
I recommend the Ecco Soft White sneakers because they’re high quality, deep fitting (so your heels don’t slip out and there’s space for orthotics), match almost every outfit, and despite the white color, can be easily cleaned.
Buy them: Zappos.com
2. Hannah Lavery Drift Linen Shirt
I have a weird obsession with linen.
Linen is a natural material made from flax that’s famous for keeping you cool and dry in warm weather.
A white linen shirt can be dressed up or down and can look effortlessly chic with a naturally worn-in look.
3. Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
Not the most stylish, but the most useful, I love my Patagonia Nano Puff jacket.
Because whether I’m going to the highly air-conditioned movie theatre in humid Panama or visiting Cape Town where the weather changes in a matter of minutes, this jacket always has my back.
Buy it: Patagonia
4. Lululemon Fast and Free Leggings
These Lululemon leggings are one of my top hot-weather travel essentials for women because they’re thin, quick-drying, and have functional pockets sewn into the sides.
I wear them on the plane, for hikes, on coffee dates, or while working out with Chris.
Buy them: Lululemon
5. Wide Leg Aritzia Nanterre Pants
Do you remember when hippie genie pants with a super low crotch were a thing?
Maybe they still are but I can’t stand them. Instead, I’ve found pants that are practical in warm weather, loose, and don’t make me look like I haven’t shaved my armpits in weeks.
The Aritzia Nanterre pants are made from thin cotton, are wide-leg, and have a drawstring waist making it incredibly comfortable for walking around the city or sitting on a 14-hour plane.
Dress them up by wearing a tighter fitting top and a necklace.
Buy them: Aritzia
Travel Essentials to Not Lose Money, Yourself, or Your Body Parts
6. Google Maps Saved Places
Google Maps Saved Places is my travel treasure map. I save all the restaurants, cafes, attractions, and photo ops spots I want to visit so whenever I’m in a new place, I just open Google Maps.
It’s one of my top travel essentials for women (and men!) because you can save notes (like what day of the week a restaurant has a special deal or when a museum is free) and access it all offline without data.
For more information about Google Maps Saved Places, read our in-depth post here.
7. Travel Credit Card
Who likes giving away free money? Nobody.
Well, if you’re using a regular credit card while abroad or using your debit card, that’s what you’re doing… to banks.
Chris and my travel credit card (HSBC Premier World Elite) saves us about $30 a month in foreign exchange fees where almost every other credit card out there charges. It also saves us $40 per trip in travel insurance, gives us $100 a year in upgrades, AND it pays us up to 3% cashback.
If you’re Canadian and are looking for the travel credit card best for you, read this post.
No matter how many lucky charms you ate as a kid, accidents happen. That’s why travel insurance is one of my top hot-weather travel essentials for women.
It’s the only thing on this list that we hope will be a waste of money for you.
If you haven’t left for your trip and are looking for the best travel insurance, read this post.
Already traveling? Here’s how to find the best and cheapest insurance ASAP.
Travel Essentials to Keep Everything in its Place
9. Packing Cubes & Ziploc Freezer Bags
Maybe it’s the Japanese in me but I find organizing my belongings, especially when I travel, to be extremely rewarding.
I organize my clothes with packing cubes to separate them by type (pants, shorts, tops, bras/underwear/socks, etc) and to keep my dirty laundry separate. This makes unpacking and finding specific items incredibly easy.
I also pack an assortment of Ziploc freezer bags for separating and packing toiletries, waterproofing electronics, carrying leftover food, and… for so many other reasons.
10. Longchamp Le Pilage Tote
I’ve considered leaving this Longchamp bag at home on so many occasions but it somehow squeezes its way into my luggage every time.
It is lightweight, foldable, versatile, and I end up using it almost more than any other bag I own.
Buy it: Longchamp
11. Travel Sized Containers
I couldn’t believe it when I recently saw a friend unpack two full-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner from her suitcase. Either her hair gets super dirty on vacation, she’s planning on using the bottles as weights, or she packed poorly.
Small travel-sized toiletries are enough. They can easily last me 2-3 weeks, and if they run out, I buy new product.
Invest in high-quality containers with simple lids so they don’t explode in your bag, and can be refilled and cleaned easily.
Quick Tip: Get a plastic spray bottle (10-15ml) for your perfume instead of carrying around a heavy glass bottle!
Travel Essentials to Stay Dry, Fit, & Make Friends
12. Workout Resistance Bands
Maybe not all women consider staying fit while traveling essential, but I do.
And that’s why I don’t leave home without my bands.
I use them to stretch, activate muscles before a run or a workout, or use them for partner exercises like Chris and I sometimes do.
13. Plantronics Wireless Headphones
I didn’t know how much I took my Plantronics wireless headphones for granted until I accidentally cut them in half with a pair of scissors the day before I left for Spain.
Without time to buy a replacement, I was stuck getting tangled in and untangling my wired headphones that barely stay in my ear properly.
I swear by Plantronics Wireless headphones because they stay put during sweaty workouts, have a long-lasting battery, and are very durable (as long as you keep them away from scissors).
Buy it: Amazon
14. Relefree Travel Towel
A travel towel is a boring item to include on a list of hot weather women’s travel essentials, I know.
But somehow it keeps finding new ways to be useful for me, so I can’t help but include it.
I use my travel towel for working out, to cover my shoulders in Muslim countries, at the beach, and to cover cheap apartment rental chairs in warm weather so my thighs don’t sweat. The list goes on…
Buy it: Amazon
15. Gifts from Home
This travel essential is a trick we picked up from some of our favorite guests back when we were Airbnb hosts.
They were a Korean couple and they presented us with a pair of wooden ducks. They explained in their culture the ducks symbolize partners in a relationship and depending on your mood, the duck is positioned differently.
Because of this funny and memorable gift, we connected better with them and made extra sure they had an awesome stay with us. And we really want to visit Korea (for more than a layover).
As Canadians, our go-to gifts are smoked salmon, maple syrup, local wine, and dried foraged mushrooms.
To save the hassle of lugging these things around, save money, and save the planet, think twice about bringing these non-essentials.
- Bulky towel
- Security belt
- Full-sized toiletries
- Travel-specific clothing like zip-off pants
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