Travel Checklist for the Woman Traveling Alone

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I have recently been selected as a Women in Travel Summit (@witsummit) ambassador for Brazil! This is a volunteer position, and I think it's a great initiative for the future of travel and giving women more confidence in moving ahead in travel. For this, to spread the word about the summit and share my experiences as a woman who travels and a woman who is in the travel industry, I'm going to be writing a series of posts on, well.. women and travel :-) To start, a little bit about how I prep for a trip on my own! Hope you enjoy this series of posts! beijoss. 

Also, If you're short on time - just download the following checklist here

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I do lots of traveling on my own. This time around, I'll be alone part of the time, and surrounded by loved ones the other part. But the whole packing and plane flying and whatnot is going to be done on my own, so I'll consider this a "me time" trip. And as we all, know, as with other things in life, solo traveling has its pros and cons.


Pros + Cons of Traveling Alone

PROS: The good parts are getting to make your own itinerary without having to cater to someone elses, wearing those outfits you're always too embarassed to wear in your hometown and around your friends, and not feeling guilty about exploring the destination's food more than its museums (because nobody's looking).

CONS: Not having someone else to share the memory with (which is why meeting people along the way is always a good bet!), feeling awkward when you wake up drooling on a stranger's shoulder on the plane, asking random people to take narcissistic pictures of you hoping they won't run off with your camera, and doing all the thinking/packing/planning yourself.



Thinking, Packing and Planning On Your Lonesome... 

This to me, is the worst. The thinking about the trip part is awesome when you picture yourself on the beach and whatnot, but the "Am I forgetting something?" and checking your purse 5x on the way to the airport to make sure you have your passport feeling is gut wrenching! 

So over the years, I've developed a travel checklist, which especially comes in handy for international travel, and is mostly composed of things that I have forgotten to do in the past, and have made my travels suffer miserably because of this.

If you're in a hurry, and want to just download this neat little PDF I put together of my travel checklist - just click here for it. 

If you want to see my rationale behind it, read ahead :-) 

What to Pack - Clothes/Luggage-Wise 

  • Underwear, 2 pairs for each day you're away - yes, I've forgotten this before, and this is why I double pack. It sucks to not have enough panties.
  • One outfit you would never wear at home. For this trip it's these cute short-alls that are never weather or occasion appropriate in São Paulo. 
  • One black bottom - whether it's shorts, pants or leggings, it'll go with several tops, which helps you pack less. In my case, I never leave the country without a pair of black pants or leggings. 
  • One pair of versatile shoes. I mean shoes you can walk in all day and wear out at night. Usually a pair of black ballet flats or casual sneakers (gotta love the dress + sneaker look!)
  • At least one pair of socks - for the airplane. Bc it's cold. 
  • One scarf. This should go in your carry on. If you're going to a warm place, it can double up as a blanket for when you're stuck in air conditioned places, and a head wrap for when you burn your scalp (yup, it's happened). 
  • A watch. I always have my watch on, because I can never rely on my cell phone battery lasting all day when I'm traveling! 
  • A small purse or backpack. For obvious reasons. 
  • Havaianas. Why don't you own a pair yet? 
  • A long skirt you can convert into a strapless dress. This came in super handy when I traveled to the middle east and then southern France in the middle of the summer, and I've kept doing it since (see photos below)

What to Pack - Toiletries 

This section really depends. If you're staying at a hotel that provides shampoo, conditioner and soap. Don't bring it! It's less bulk for you! I also will pay extra to stay somewhere that provides towels. As many as I may need. 

  • Toothbrush / Toothpaste / Floss
  • Sunblock 
  • Deodorant (stick or roll on - bc aerosol won't get on carry ons) 
  • Mini perfume samples - collect them, they come in handy for travel!
  • Face wipes - these can be super useful and are a great way to freshen up your hands and face in between flights. 
  • Repellent (mosquitos love me, and I like tropical places) 


Documents! 

  • Passport with visa or tourist entry card, if needed. There is yet to be a passport where you don't need a visa to go anywhere. So you know, just double check. 
  • Vaccination card with vaccinations needed. (hint for life: just get your yellow fever shot out of the way - it's valid for 10 years and could save you a lot of heartache) 
  • Travel Insurance card - it's cheap, just get it, you never know! 
  • Credit Card, unlocked to work in different countries 
  • Currency valid in your destination (or US Dollars)
  • Checkin Online - it takes two minutes and could save you many more minutes. 


Etc. 

  • Make sure to charge all your batteries! Laptop, cell phone, kindle, tablet, camera, whatever you're taking with you. And then don't forget to bring the batteries, cords, etc. 
  • Outlet adaptors - find out what it looks like in the other country, sometimes they won't have adaptors at the hotel (or anywhere) that match your country's plug. I always have this issue from South African clients in Brazil! Have you seen those plugs?! 
  • Lip Balm + Mascara - this is probably the only essential makeup I'll bring with me. The lip balm for the flight, because my mouth gets super dry, and the mascara to brighten up my eyes for when I get to the destination, so I don't show up looking like hell. 
  • Small packets of medication you might need: headache medicine, stomach upsets and some allergy medicine (which can also put you to sleep when you need it in some cases). And for Brazilians traveling abroad, Engov, of course. 
  • Sunglasses, and/or a hat. In case you forgot. 
  • Make sure you get a pedicure - you'll be taking a lot of pictures of your own feet.


What to Wear on the Flight 

I used to wear my pajamas on my flights. But I soon realized that wearing a backpack and pajamas doesn't get you much respect in airports or through customs. Getting too dressed up to travel I think is just tacky. There is NO NEED to wear heels and shorts on the flight. JUST STOP DOING IT. I also never wear makeup on flights. I don't want to get to my destination with racoon eyes from my mascara and eyeliner. Just saying. 

So I usually try to wear something comfortable, yet somewhat stylish. If you're going somewhere cold, it's a perfect opportunity to wear cute boots, and not have to stuff them in your luggage. In my case today, I have a pair of sandals that have stones on them that I really don't want to come loose, so I've packed flip flops and socks in my carry on and am wearing them - they will be stuffed under my seat as soon as I get on the flight, but I know they're safe. 

I'm wearing my essential "black bottom" pants - black skinny pants that are loose at the waist = gold, and a boyfriend button up shirt which is super wrinkled, but kind of looks like it should be that way. So pretty much, I look comfortable, but also like to think the sartorialist would want to take a picture of me in the middle of the street and Joanna would approve. 

Everything else is negotiable - just make sure you look up the weather and pack accordingly.

Again, here's the PDF to access a printable and easy to read version of this travel checklist

What do you usually pack to travel? 

ps - I'm at the airport as I write and my flight should be getting called soon. Wish me safe travels, and I'll do my best to update over the next few days!

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