In today’s world of strict airline baggage fees, flight disruptions, and lost or delayed luggage, packing light has become a necessity. The good news is that as travel has evolved, so have the tools for smarter, more efficient packing. For women travelers who want both style and efficiency, creating a carry-on travel packing list no longer means sacrificing comfort, style, or security. Instead, it’s an opportunity to curate a collection of accessories designed to make your journeys easier and more enjoyable. In this article, we’ll explore the best new minimalist gear and travel accessories for women.
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Top 10 New Favorites: Minimalist Travel Gear
With dozens of new travel products on my social media feed every day, I find it helpful to know what real travelers use and appreciate. We’ve enjoyed a lot of travel this year – from wonderful catch up visits with family to a bucket list trip to the Galapagos Islands – and I’ve had the opportunity to try some new products. So before going into the 50+ items that I recommend for general travel I want to share my big winners of 2023. These are the new (to me!) products that have made a big difference in my packing and travel organization.
Here are my top 10 new favorite travel accessories:
- Peak Design Tech Pouch
- inCharge Keychain 6-in-1 Multi Charging Cable
- Collapsible Ultralight Hiking Pole
- Apple AirPods Pro
- Reversible Wrap Skirt
- Packable Rain Jacket (not new but a favorite minimalist accessory)
- Small Pill Pouches
- Patagonia Ultralight Travel Tote
- Clean/Dirty Laundry Cube
- Airplane Foot Hammock (not minimalist but a great help when minimalizing my air travel budget)
Please share with all of us your new favorites in the comments!
Top Minimalist Travel Gear & Travel Accessories for Women
Traveling light and efficiently begins with creating a travel capsule wardrobe and a minimalist, or carry-on sized, packing list. How minimalistic is completely up to you! Female travelers, especially solo female travelers, may want a higher level of security that a man would. Some travelers may have health or mobility issues they need to address in their packing. Despite the posts on social media, packing is not a competition. But we all can benefit from packing lighter.
We’ve travel-tested the items listed below and recommend them for today’s smart travelers! We indicate below the product name if the item is recommended for minimalist travel, sustainable travel, or extra security. All of these would be a great gift options for your favorite traveler, but I include in the tagline if it’s perfect as a small gift or stocking stuffer.
Electronics & Gear
Years ago, when we didn’t have so many amazing electronic gadgets, we all traveled ‘light’. But the utility of these devices is more than worth the weight. We just need to manage all the accessories that go along with the electronics! Here are our recommendations on the right travel accessories for your electronics:
Peak Design Tech Pouch
At first glance the Peak Design Tech Pouch might not seem like it should be on a packing light list, but this pouch is so well designed that it takes the place of multiple charging cord organizers, small electronics cases, a flight bag, and even a purse.
On our long flights in South America, it carried my passport, travel documents, Apple Airpods Pro, wallet, iPhone & iPad mini, kindle, journal and pens, masks and antiseptic wipes, chargers & external power bank, and camera batteries. And I still had room for hand lotion, necessary meds, and a few cosmetics. At my destination I took out the tech stuff, attached a shoulder strap, and used it as a purse. My 2023 top pick.
Weight: 10.2 oz (288g )
100% recycled 200D nylon. Peak Design is a certified B corporation.
Everyone who has traveled with a tangle of charging cords will appreciate a multi- head charger. These feature a plug on one end and multiple options for your devices on the other. If you’re an Apple user, you can find a multi-head cord that’ll charge your Apple watch, iPhone, and AirPods at the same time. And there are similar versions for Android users.
My current favorite is the tiny inCharge Keychain 6-in-1 charger. It has a USB cable plug and USB-C cable on one end, and lightning and USB-C on the other. I carry this charger and a small ‘lipstick’ power bank in my day bag for a quick charge of either my phone or ipad mini. (you can see this in the picture of my tech pouch above.)
MINIMALIST | STOCKING STUFFER
External Power Bank/Charger
Keeping your devices charged while traveling can be crucial. You don’t want to run out of juice when you’re far from home so be sure to carry a compact portable charger. If you’re short on space, carry one of the lipstick-sized power bank. But if you will be away from electricity for longer, look for larger capacity models with fast-charging capabilities and multiple output ports to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
MINIMALIST | STOCKING STUFFER
Universal Travel Adapter
A universal travel adapter is a must-have for any minimalist traveler. It replaces the need for multiple adapters for different countries, ensuring you can charge your devices anywhere in the world. Look for one with multiple USB ports to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
Apple AirPods Pro (and other noise-cancelling earbuds)
Bluetooth earbuds are fantastic on long flights when you don’t have room in your bag for over the ear headphones. Far and away the best noise canceling earbuds we’ve tried are the AirPods Pro. My husband, the music lover, swears by these.
If you’re not in the Apple ecosystem, look for great noise-canceling earbuds from Bose, JBL and other brands. I loved my Bose Quiet Comfort earbuds until I lost one while walking on a windy beach.
MINIMALIST | STOCKING STUFFER
Nothing fancy about this but having a small flashlight that opens to become a lantern, is an essential accessory when I travel. I use my iPhone when I need a quick light, but for a trip where the electricity is not reliable (or non-existent!) I pack my mini lantern. It came in handy the night an elephant visited our camp in Botswana and took down the electricity.
This handy tool stays on my bedside table at home in case of power outage.
MINIMALIST | STOCKING STUFFER
Solar Power Bank
A solar power bank is an eco-friendly accessory that uses solar power to charge your devices, making it a good source of energy when you’re traveling off the grid. Travelers committed to eco-friendly travel will appreciate that these solar chargers reduce the reliance on traditional electricity sources, making it a great choice for sustainability.
There are many varieties of these power banks available. Some have built-in flashlights and USB ports; some can be charged by electricity as well as solar. Pick the one that works for you.
AirFly Pro Bluetooth Audio Transmitter
The Twelve South AirFly Pro is an audio transmitter that connects your wireless headphones or earbuds to devices that don’t have Bluetooth capabilities, such as older airplane entertainment systems, and most travel tour headsets. Using an AirFly (or similar), you can enjoy a more comfortable audio experience during long flights, or in situations where headphone wires may be inconvenient. The AirFly Pro will connect to two sets of headphones which is especially nice if you want to watch a movie together on the flight.
STOCKING STUFFER | STOCKING STUFFER
I have a basic Gorillapod travel tripod, which is compact enough to fit in my day bag, but strong enough to hold a phone or mirrorless camera. When we’re traveling with bigger cameras and gear, we need a stronger, yet still lightweight and portable, tripod. We’re using a relatively moderately priced travel tripod now but have heard great things about the Peak Design carbon fiber tripods from other travelers. (have to save our money for that one!).
Use the Kindle app on your phone or tablet if you’re able, but if you’re like me and an avid nighttime reader, the Kindle Paperwhite is easier on your eyes and doesn’t use blue light that interferes with your (eventually) falling asleep. It’s also waterproof so safer to use by the pool or on the beach.
Fisher Space Pen
A great gift choice for any traveler! The Fisher Space pen will write upside down, underwater, in zero gravity and at extreme temperatures. Pretty much anywhere a traveler can think of to go. (I use it on the plane for filling out customs forms… Ha!)
This is a new travel accessory for me. I originally purchased a phone lanyard to carry my phone while cycling. It’s held securely and is easy to access for a quick picture, or if I need a GPS check. But recently I’ve taken to wearing it in cities to prevent snatch and grab thefts. I wear it around my neck, but you could loop it around your wrist if you’d be more comfortable.
The Latest Cell Phone!
Updating your cell phone offers many benefits for travelers. Besides the obvious benefit of communicating with loved ones and emergency services, a cell phone offers GPS navigation, aids in language translation, gives access to valuable travel apps, doubles as a camera for capturing memories, and ensures entertainment during downtime. In case of emergencies, a state of the art cell phone can also be a vital lifeline, making it a practical and lightweight addition to your minimalist travel essentials and an essential travel accessory for women.
An updated cell phone is always a good travel gift! Today’s phone cover many of the older travel necessities: camera, GPS, translator, alarm, entertainment.
Travel Accessories for In-Flight Comfort
Air travel is tough these days. Long lines, short tempers, and cramped quarters don’t create the ideal environment for a relaxing trip. Spend a little time before your flight planning on how you’ll stay comfortable on your long flight. And if you’ve a bit of space in your bags, consider adding a few items that’ll ease the journey.
Travel Pillow / Inflatable Pillow
A good night’s sleep is essential for a successful journey. Opt for a compact travel pillow that can be compressed and attached to your luggage when not in use. Memory foam and inflatable options provide excellent comfort without taking up much space. My go-to neck pillow is an inflatable one from IKEA.
Another option for ensuring a good sleep is to pack a silk pillowcase that can be stuffed with a sweater or jacket. These pillowcases come in several sizes. I use a ‘toddler’ sized pillow for in-flight comfort. On long-haul flights I use my inflatable neck pillow AND an additional pillow behind my back for support. Add my foot hammock (below) and I can almost convince myself I’m flying in First Class! Almost…
Airplane Foot Hammock
The Airplane Foot Hammock is far from minimalist but it’s a lifesaver on a long-haul flight in an Economy Class seat. Simply loop the strap over your tray table’s support, adjust to your comfort level and you have a bit of a footrest.
Weight: 9 oz. (255 g.)
If you’re a light sleeper or have noise sensitivity earplugs may be one of your most useful travel accessories. Whether you’re dealing with noisy hotel neighbors, loud street sounds, or the hum of an airplane engine, earplugs offer help.
You’ll find simple foam disposable earplugs at your local pharmacy or purchase reusable ones that filter for specific sounds online.
Day to Day Travel Accessories for Women
Here are some of my favorite day to day travel accessories. I’ve chosen items that can simplify your journey, enhance your well-being, and make those hours on the move an enjoyable part of your adventure. Let me know if there’s something I’ve missed!
Travel Journal or Notebook
It’s important to have someplace to keep track of travel info and save thoughts along the way. This can be as simple as a travel app on your phone, but I like to have a hard copy of important information in case the phone is lost, or internet is unavailable. And I also like to jot down memories along the way.
I use a simple Field Notes book for short trips and a bit larger Leuchtturm booklet for a longer or more complicated trip. Both fit easily into my day bag.
Eating Utensils, including a reusable straw
Packing reusable utensils is a eco-friendly choice at home or on the road. It promotes environmental responsibility by reducing single-use plastic waste, ensures food hygiene, and provides convenience for dining on-the-go or in areas where disposable utensils may be scarce. Additionally, carrying your own utensils can demonstrate cultural respect in some regions where it’s customary.
Carrying your own reusable utensils and a straw is an easy way to make any of your travels more eco-friendly. But for adventure travelers, campers, etc. a small utensil kit is mandatory.
Folding Walking Stick
Carrying hiking poles on a flight is a challenge. You can pack them in your check-in luggage, but most airlines won’t allow them in carry-on luggage without a doctor’s note. We have found that you CAN usually bring a collapsible walking stick in your cabin bag if it doesn’t have a pointy end. (Check with your airline to make sure!)
I carried an inexpensive aluminum collapsible hiking pole (pictured) to Peru this year and it was a huge help while climbing around ancient Incan ruins.
MINIMALIST | Weight: 10.3 oz. (292 g.)
Packable Rain Jacket
A necessity for travel. I have a nice looking packable Cole Haan rain coat for city travel, and a waterproof rain jacket from Red Ledge (shown above) for nature adventure travel. Both compress to take up little room in my suitcase.
Not a rain jacket lover? Pack an ultralight travel umbrella in your bag. It’ll also serve as a sun shade on hot days.
Collapsible Water Bottle
A reusable water bottle is both an eco-friendly and minimalist choice. Most travelers are very aware of the problem of plastic pollution and will appreciate a reusable bottle. Choose a collapsible or foldable design that can be easily stashed away when not in use.
MINIMALIST | SUSTAINABLE
Reusable utensils, water bottles, and solid toiletries are just some of the gift ideas for eco-friendly travelers.
Portable Fan / Cooling Scarf
Not always in my packing list, but if I’m anticipating long touring days in hot climates, I’ll add a handheld fan. If I’m traveling with minimal luggage, I’ll carry a cooling scarf. Just soak the scarf for 20 minutes and you’ll stay cool(er) for hours.
Magnet for Securing Bags, etc.
Magnetic hooks? Not something I thought I’d travel with but magnetic hooks, or Bagnet magnets, are a game changer if you’re on a ship or in a sleeper train with little storage room. Just stick the magnet to the wall and hang your coat, bathing suit, etc.
This is the perfect solution for keeping your purse off the floor in a public bathroom!
Carabiner / Heroclip
A carabiner can be a valuable addition to your travel gear. It’s perfect for securing your belongings, whether you’re attaching bags to fixed points to prevent theft or hanging gear to dry. Carabiners can also be used to attach water bottles or jackets to your travel bag.
I carry a Heroclip carabiner when I travel. Heroclips take carabiners to another level by adding a swiveling outer piece which can be used as a hook. I use this to connect my personal item to my carry-on bag or keep my daypack off the ground. You’ll find many other uses, I’m sure! The small Heroclip will hold up to 50 lbs and only weighs a bit over 1 ounce.
Women’s Health and Hygiene Accessories
Packing sunscreen is crucial for protecting your skin from sun damage while you’re traveling. People often underestimate how quickly they will burn while enjoying a few hours on vacation. Whether you’re exploring a new city, lounging on a beach, or engaging in outdoor activities, sunscreen helps to prevent painful sunburns, and, most importantly, safeguards your long-term health.
Look for reef-safe sunscreen if you’ll be snorkeling or enjoying other sports in tropical waters.
Packing solid toiletries offers several advantages for travelers. First,
- Solid Toiletries are more compact and lightweight than liquid counterparts, helping you save space and reduce the weight of your luggage.
- Solid toiletries are less likely to leak or spill, preventing messy accidents and preserving the contents of your bag.
- Solid toiletries are TSA-friendly, as they don’t need to be included in your quart-sized liquid bag during security checks.
From solid shampoo bars to toothpaste tablets, these eco-friendly options also contribute to reducing plastic waste, making them an environmentally responsible choice. Be sure to try the items at home to make sure to find the solid toiletry that works for you.
But if you can’t find a solid alternative, minimize your packing with …
Minimal Toiletry Containers
Liquid makeup and toiletries take up a lot of space in your luggage. And most of your at-home-bottles are way beyond the TSA approved size of 3 ounces. If possible, decant a bit of your makeup into small containers (like contact lens cases) and invest in a few travel-sized, leak-proof silicone bottles for your shampoo, etc. These are not only space-saving but also eco-friendly as they reduce single-use plastic waste.
Bonus points: Reuse bottles you may have around your home.
Personal Hygiene Essentials for Female Travelers
- Diva Cup – a reusable feminine hygiene product.
- Restroom Kit – each purse sized kit contains a toilet seat cover, toilet paper, and a hand wipe.
- Venus to Mars female urinal. A great help when ‘first world’ toilets aren’t available.
Travel Hair Tools
I travel domestically with a simple flat iron, but when I’m flying internationally, and short on space, I rely on hair dryers in my accommodations, or just let my curly hair have a vacation.
There are a lot of excellent travel hair accessories available today, curling irons, blow dryers, etc. all in compact size. Most work with dual voltage but be sure to check before packing for the trip.
Travel Electric Toothbrush
If you use an electric toothbrush at home, consider purchasing a travel version before your next holiday. It’s hard to change your brushing routine!
A travel electric toothbrush comes in a compact size making it easy to stow in your luggage, and ensuring your dental hygiene continues while on the road. Many models come with long-lasting batteries or rechargeable options, and some newer models are being made of eco-friendly bamboo.
Of course there are lots of options for non-electric (manual??) travel toothbrushes!
Pack for Safer Travel
Adding a few safety and security accessories to your packing list is a proactive approach to ensuring a stress-free travel experience. Most likely you will never need these items, but knowing they’re there may give you peace of mind so you can focus on enjoying your trip.
Travel First Aid kit
Put together a travel first aid kit that works for you and your destination. Make a comprehensive kit if you intend to camp and hike, or keep it minimal if you’re traveling to a local city. I keep a kit in my car that came pre-packed with everything I might need while out with the family or on a road trip, but winnow that down to a small kit when I’m traveling light.
Every kit should include the essentials like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and the prescription medications you might need. I usually add 24 hours worth of OTC medicines for common ailments like a cold or stomach trouble.
For a more extensive kit consider adding items like insect repellent, burn cream, anti-diarrheal medication, motion sickness pills, COVID tests, and a thermometer.
Secure Strap for Camera or Travel Bag
Ramp up the secure carry of your gear by switching out regular camera or purse straps for a reinforced one. I use a strap from Pacsafe which is slash proof, can be locked to a stationary object, yet is not too heavy. It’s easy to attach it to my purse or day bag and just makes me feel safer.
Security Alarm for Hotel Door
A portable door alarm adds an extra layer of security and peace of mind, especially for solo travelers. It can be attached to the door handle or door jamb, and if someone tries to force entry, it will emit a loud alarm sound alerting you and hopefully deterring the intruder. Having a compact door alarm ensures you feel safe and secure in your room, allowing you to rest easier during your travels.
One of my favorite travel accessories for women and men!!
Lockable Safe for Hotel Rooms or Beach Chairs
Packing a lockable safe, such as a portable travel safe or lockbox, can be a good idea depending on how you travel. Many accommodations have a safe built into a closet or cabinet, but when you leave your room to spend a day at the beach the valuables you carry – your phone, watch, wallet – are unprotected. After years of one of us standing guard over our stuff, we’ve invested in a small portable lockbox. We can clip the small bag to our chair, bike, or whatever, and enjoy the time together.
Look for a case that suits your needs. If you’re camping or staying in shared areas, consider a case that provides a secure space for everything, important documents, electronics, and money. If you’re only expecting to be at a hotel pool, you can get away with something smaller.
Packing a portable safe can be invaluable in emergency situations, making it a practical and reassuring addition to your travel gear.
New Favorites: Bags and Packing Accessories
Choosing the right travel bags and packing gear is the first step towards packing efficiently. Once you have the tools you need you can begin the packing process.
Some of you may be able to carry all your needs in a backpack. If I’m off on a short trip, a weekend getaway or a road trip, I still pack in a lightweight duffel/backpack. But as I’m older now and have nagging shoulder issues on a longer trip I opt for a lightweight wheeled carry-on and a 12-20L day bag.
This is your primary luggage. Luggage makers are adding a lot of bells and whistles to their latest bags – charging ports, fold-out closets, etc., but I recommend opting for the lightest and most durable bag you can find. Light for obvious reasons, but durable also for those times when the gate agents decide to check all carry-ons.
As I’m still traveling locally with my trusty duffel, the Tom Bihn Techonaut, and internationally with a Eagle Creek spinner, I have no new product to recommend. But I’d LOVE to hear what bag you’re carrying!
The day bag or travel purse is the bag you’re going to be carrying the most. Maximize the size of this if you want to use it as your airline personal item, but make sure it’s something you’ll also be happy to carry walking around a new city or joining a bus tour.
Here are my 2023 favorites:
Pacsafe Citysafe CX 17L Backpack
Designed especially for women, the Pacsafe Citysafe CX backpack is a great bag for international travel. It’s stylish, has plenty of room for personal items and has multiple security features. It’s a backpack you can confidently wear on your back without worrying about theft. And as with all the best bags, there is an easy access organizational panel where you can stash your most often needed items.
There’s a padded laptop sleeve making this a good choice for business trips too!
SECURITY/ANTI-THEFT | Weight: 1.55 lbs (703 g.)
Made with ECONYL® nylon and recycled polyester.
Very similar to the Pacsafe backpack in style but without security features is the Baggallini Soho backpack. I didn’t end up keeping it but really liked this bag. The straps were quite comfortable, and I loved the way the bag opened fully to access contents.
Patagonia Ultralight Travel Tote Pack
I purchased the Patagonia Ultralight Travel Tote Pack for a cycling trip where we were limited on luggage size. This bag is remarkably well designed for such a lightweight bag. It can be carried as a tote, or as a backpack, and packs into itself to carry in your larger carry-on.
I purchased the black and dressed it up with a scarf when visiting vineyards. Though tougher than most packable bags, I wouldn’t check this bag. But fortunately, the size and squish factor make it unlikely you’ll have to give it up at the gate.
| Weight: 13 oz. (368 g.)
Made in a Fair Trade Certified™ factory with recycled nylon ripstop and recycled polyester.
Patagonia is a certified B corporation.
Osprey Ultralight Dry Stuff Backpack
The Osprey Ultralight Dry Stuff Pack 20L was my daypack in the Galapagos Islands. Waterproof with plenty of space for my snorkeling goggles and inflatable safety vest. And it packed down to nothing when I flew home.
This is a dry bag that can be carried as a backpack, rather than a dedicated backpack. It has little organization and style but was perfect for a trip like mine. I wouldn’t recommend it for a trip where you’d need to carry it all day.
| Weight: 7 oz. (194 g.)
bluesign® approved 100% recycled 40D high-tenacity nylon
Pacsafe Stylesafe 2L Sling Pack
The Pacsafe Stylesafe sling pack is my go-to hip pack when I’m on a cycling holiday. An unobtrusive pack, it carried my passport, credit cards, phone, medicine, and a small first aid kit. Just a bit more robust than the usual money belts travelers carry and features an RFID blocking passport holder.
On overseas flights I loved that I could lock it to my airplane seat when I needed to get up. (I walk a LOT on overseas flights to avoid DVT.)
MINIMALIST | SECURITY/ANTI-THEFT | Weight: 8 oz. (227 g.)
DISCLAIMER: These are my 2023 favorites. There are many new travel bag options and I have only tested a few. I chose the bags I purchased based on reviews from fellow travelers, durability, and my travel itineraries. They may not work for your travel needs. Read Best Personal Carry-On Bags for your Flight and Travel Day Bags for Women, and Camera Bags for Women for more suggestions on bags I’ve tested.
Some people are happy to just roll their clothes and pack them. But I find it more efficient to use these small, lightweight bags that’ll help me stay organized during long trips.
Packing cubes are a game-changer for travelers looking to stay organized while keeping it minimal. These lightweight, zippered cubes help you categorize your clothes, making it easy to find what you need without rummaging through your whole bag. They also compress clothing, creating extra space in your luggage for other essentials. Opt for different sizes and colors to best utilize the bags.
MINIMALIST | STOCKING STUFFER
Clean/Dirty Laundry Cube
I hesitated before trying a clean/dirty packing cube, but ended up loving it for keeping dirty clothes away from clean. The cube has a flexible divider which allows you to pack it full of clean clothes when you leave home but have a bag of dirties on the way home.
MINIMALIST | STOCKING STUFFER
Don’t forget to pack some sort of a laundry bag to keep your clean clothes fresh!
Stasher Silicone Storage Bags
My daughter gifted me two Stasher storage bags a few years ago. I used them in the kitchen instead of plastic bags, but when I realized how well they worked for travel, I immediately bought more. I use them for snacks on the plane, for liquids like sunscreen, and have even used one a toiletry bag. They are made of food grade silicone and come in multiple colors and shapes.
Stasher is a certified B corporation.
OK, I haven’t yet purchased this item but realized how smart it was to have dedicated shoe bags when we were hiking in Peru. My friend’s shoe bags kept her muddy boots away from her travel clothes. I’ll be shopping for these when we book our next adventure trip.
(Or…do what I do and use old shower caps to cover the shoe bottoms)
Pill Pouches / Medicine Container
At some point in your life, you find yourself needing to carry medication wherever you go. I have a cute medicine container I carry in my purse, but when I’ve been traveling, I carry prescription medications in a bigger pill case. Now that I’ve discovered pill pouches I use them at home and when traveling.
I fill one of these small, reusable, see-through pouches with what I might need on the flight, e.g., 2 ibuprofen, 1 antacid, melatonin, etc. The small bag slips easily into my flight bag or purse. I do the same when we’re heading out on the bike, or out to dinner. And I use them for OTC medications when I don’t want to bring a whole bottle, e.g., 14 tablets of melatonin. Label the pouches so you won’t get confused.
Note: When I carry prescription medications overseas, I carry a copy of my physician’s prescriptions with me or I carry the medication in its original prescription bottle.
Apple AirTag/Luggage Tracker
This won’t solve the problem of lost luggage but at least by including an Apple AirTag or equivalent, you’ll be able to track your bag as it makes its way back to you.
SECURITY | STOCKING STUFFER
Clothing & Travel Accessories for Women
Investing in multi-functional clothing for a capsule wardrobe is a basis of minimalist travel. Adding pieces like convertible pants that turn into shorts or reversible scarves to your travel wardrobe can save you precious suitcase space. But before you purchase anything, consider how you can use the pieces you already have for different purposes. For example, a simple dress can be belted to become a tunic or worn over biking shorts as a skirt.
Clothing from Sustainable Fabrics
My regular readers won’t be surprised to see me recommending sustainable fabrics for their travel wardrobes. For my new readers, merino wool, bamboo, TENCEL, etc. are all great fabrics for traveling because they pack light, resist odors, and are easy to care for. I don’t advocate going out and buying a whole new wardrobe in these fabrics, but when you’re in need of a new travel shirt or dress, consider investing in natural fibers.
Two of my newest ventures into merino wool clothing have been fabulous for travel – a merino bra from Branwyn and a merino neck buff by WURU.
My favorite brands for eco-friendly, ethically made, pieces are also the brands I’ve chosen to partner with – Encircled, Toad & Co., wool&, WURU, and Unbound Merino. There are more and more companies getting into the sustainability market (yay!) so find a brand that works for you. And check with second hand stores like the online ThredUp to be even more eco-friendly.
Many producers of organic clothing are small brands working towards sustainability. Check their websites for more information. A few that have already received B Corporation certification – Encircled, Eileen Fisher, Athleta.
For more tips on traveling sustainably read Tips for Responsible Tourism
You’ll see scarves recommended on most packing lists and there’s a good reason for this. A bright colored scarf can add interest to a simple capsule wardrobe. Wear it around your neck, over your shoulders, or wrap it as a belt. But a scarf offers even more options; a scarf can also be used as a covering when visiting sacred sites, a light blanket on a flight, or even a tablecloth for an impromptu picnic.
My favorite variation on the scarf theme is the sleeve/sash by Diane Kroe. As the name implies, it’s a scarf with sleeves. Wear it around your neck for dinner and, when the evening gets cooler, slip your arms in the sleeves to create a shrug. OR tie it round your waist as a belt in a pinch.
MINIMALIST | Weight: 6 oz. (170 g.)
Packable Sun Hat
Another mandatory travel accessory for women AND for men. Find a hat that you’ll enjoy wearing to protect against sun damage. I’ve lost one loved one to skin cancer, and I don’t want to lose any of you.
These are investment pieces, but are great at home and on your travels. The beautiful Julahas capes are hand made by artisans in the Indian Himalayas and can be worn in many ways. They’re also great for snuggling under on chilly flights, so tuck a lightweight one into your carry-on bag.
Reversible Wrap Skirt
An inexpensive addition to my travel wardrobe. As a ‘vintage’ woman I like to wear a skirt over leggings or cycling shorts. When I saw this reversible wrap skirt, I knew I had to try it. One side is a solid color, the other a print. and the skirt snaps securely in place on either side. I wear it on the pickleball court, as a swimsuit cover-up, and as a cute skirt for coffee with friends.
MINIMALIST | Weight: 7 oz (198 g.)
Travel insurance is an important option for every international or adventure traveler. Insuring your trip offers protection against events that can disrupt your plans, like trip cancellations due to illness, unforeseen family issues, lost luggage and other airline issues.
For years we have purchased insurance for our ‘big’ trips and have only had to file a claim three times, once for an airline strike, once for weather complications, and once for a death in the family. In all of these cases our claim was handled quickly and to our satisfaction.
But more importantly to us than the financial safeguard of travel insurance is that knowledge that if we have an injury, of suffer a medical emergency, we’ll get the treatment we need and will get a flight home. At this time in our lives this is essential for our travel well-being.
Having the right travel gear can significantly ease the challenges of travel. The travel accessories for women I’ve recommended simplify packing, while ensuring you’re comfortable and prepared for every situation. I hope that by selecting minimalist travel gear tailored to your needs, you can enjoy a smoother and more enjoyable journey, and really focus on having fun.
Amy, a writer on responsible bucket list travel, is your reliable source for insightful travel advice. With a career background in libraries, and a degree in biology and mathematics, Amy's approach to travel is rooted in meticulous research and planning, and her commitment to eco-conscious adventures.
Amy’s dedication to sustainable travel practices, including efficient packing techniques, ensures that every adventure leaves a positive impact on both the environment and the traveler's well-being. Trust Amy to guide you towards meaningful and eco-friendly travel, making the most of your retirement years.
A lifelong New England resident, Amy is also the source for insider tips on travel in the Northeastern U.S.