Solo Travel Packing List (20 Things to Not Forget in 2023)
As a solo traveler, I know how to pack light and effectively—and you can, too, with this solo travel packing list!
Solo travel is one of the most rewarding experiences out there. Once you learn how to travel solo, the possibilities are endless. But in order to have the best experience possible, a little planning can go a long way. Whether you’re a seasoned solo traveler or total newbie, this guide will serve as the ultimate solo travel packing checklist.
I share products that have worked great for my travels, like multipurpose soap and noise-canceling headphones. Plus, I provide game-changing solo travel tips that will keep you comfortable, safe, and even save you money.
Table of Contents
- Solo Travel Packing Checklist
- Clothing to Pack for Solo Travel
- Solo Travel Packing Tips
- FAQs for Solo Trip Packing
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Solo Travel Packing Checklist
Travel comfortably and hands-free with this ultra-popular daypack. It’s lightweight, durable, and perfect for hitting the trails or the city.
When you’re traveling solo, a day pack is a must for day trips and long outings. This way, you can carry items like a water bottle, snacks, and a sweater—just in case. The Osprey Daylite backpack is a Travel Lemming favorite. It has all the features you need to travel with ease, and is secure and comfortable to carry.
🎒 Need a Larger Pack? Nate, the Founder of Travel Lemming, tested the Osprey Porter 46 and gave it a positive review! The Osprey Daylite can even attach to the outside of this compatible bag. Or, if you want to steal my look, check out the Peak Design Travel Backpack (here’s my Peak Design review).
Perfect for carrying all your essentials when you’re on the go, this belt bag is made for secure and convenient travel.
Whether you’re moving through airport security or just exploring a destination, a belt bag is a great idea. It allows you to be hands-free while keeping your travel essentials (passport, cash, phone) close to you. Things are easy to reach when you need them, but secure because they’re in front of you. This ODODOS belt bag is a great option if you don’t want to use a daypack.
👉 Pro Tip: A belt bag is a great alternative to a money belt. It may not technically be as secure as placing a money belt under your clothes, but it’s the next best thing. Plus, a belt bag is more versatile since you can use it as a daily bag for exploring, going through the airport, and going out.
Noise Canceling Headphones
Change the way you travel on airplanes, trains, and more with these comfortable and seriously noise-canceling headphones.
If you haven’t tried noise canceling headphones for travel, prepare to have the game changed. I personally use these Sony headphones and they make such a difference on noisy airplanes and trains. You can also change the audio settings to ambient noise so you can still hear your surroundings and be in-the-know. This is great for traveling solo. Plus, they fold up small.
Travel light (and clean!) with this biodegradable multipurpose wash. It’s the one-and-done solution for cleaning laundry, dishes, and yourself.
If you plan on traveling cheaply, this Sea to Summit multipurpose soap is one of the smartest things you can add to your solo travel packing list. It’s a concentrated, biodegradable formula and can be used for laundry, dishes, and body wash. I used this on my last solo trip and it was so handy to be able to wash my water bottle and clothes anytime I needed.
When you’re traveling solo, keeping your items safe and secure is a priority. These SURE LOCK TSA locks will give you peace of mind. They’re foolproof to set and super durable so you can store and access your baggage with ease. These locks are also TSA approved and work with just about any type of luggage.
Stop worrying about bulky water bottles that leak with this leak-proof and collapsible water bottle.
Solo trip or not, carrying a water bottle is always a good idea when traveling. However, when you’re a solo traveler, it’s important to pack light and smart. This Nomader collapsible water bottle helps you do just that. It’s super portable and compact thanks to its collapsible feature, plus it’s leakproof. Simply, it’s there when you need it, but easy to put away when you don’t.
Stay hydrated and healthy during your solo trip by adding electrolytes and extra hydration to your water.
Traveling can leave you dehydrated and tired. These Liquid I.V. hydration multipliers are perfect for long travel days, active exploring days, and going out. When you’re traveling solo, staying hydrated and feeling “with it” is important for not only your health, but also your safety.
When you’re traveling solo, safety is huge. And in this day and age, your phone doubles as a safety tool. Whether you’re using it for maps, transportation, contacting people, or something else, it’s important that your phone is charged in case of an emergency. This Miady portable charger is a great choice because it holds multiple charges and charges quickly.
Small First Aid Kit
Even though it’s smart to save space by packing minimally on your solo trip, it’s also better to be safe than sorry. Packing a first aid kit like this General Medi one is a great choice because it’s compact and has everything you need for “small traumas.” I also recommend adding some medicine like ibuprofen, imodium, antihistamines, and bite cream—just in case.
Save money and space by using this quick drying, easy-to-pack microfiber towel. It’s a must-have for solo travelers staying in hostels.
If you plan on staying in hostels, I highly recommend packing your own microfiber towel. Why? Because many hostels have an extra cost for towels. By packing a microfiber towel like this one, you can save money while still packing light. I used this exact towel when traveling solo. I love it because it’s quick-drying and doesn’t take up much space.
A universal adapter with multiple ports. It works for over 150 countries and you’ll never need another adapter again (well, at least for a long time).
An adapter is a must when traveling internationally. I use this EPICKA adapter personally, and it’s been great for trips across Europe and Asia. For solo travelers, this is an especially great option because it has multiple ports where you can charge up to six devices at once.
Store your travel memories and muses with this classic, high quality journal. It’s the perfect travel companion.
As you may expect, traveling solo means you’ll be doing some things alone. A travel journal makes a fantastic travel buddy. This Moleskine notebook is high quality, easy to pack, and comes in different colors. You can keep the journal in your day pack, and pull it out to write as you please. Personally, this is a must for my solo travel packing list.
Make shopping while traveling simple and sustainable with these easy-to-pack reusable bags.
A reusable bag is an easily forgotten item on any solo travel packing list. A bag like this ChicoBag is super easy to attach to any carry on bag, so it barely takes up space. You can use this for any type of shopping, or in case you need an extra bag. Overall, it’s just super handy to have.
Keep your items organized and your dirty clothes separate with these convenient and packable laundry bags.
One of my top packing tips is to keep a separate laundry bag for dirty clothes. This helps keep everything organized so you can keep track of your items, and know when you need to do laundry. This JHX laundry bag is perfect because it’s easy to carry and has a separate pocket for carrying your detergent.
If this is your first solo trip, one of the best minimalist packing tips to follow is to use packing cubes. There are a lot of choices on the market, but these Well Traveled Packing Cubes are truly top-tier. They make a huge difference in packing smart and saving space.
Other Solo Travel Essentials to Pack
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Soap leaves
- Any prescription medications
- Makeup wipes
- Cotton swabs
- Hair brush
- IDs (license and passport, with copies)
- Credit/debit cards
- Vaccine documents
- Face masks
- Hand sanitizer
- Neck pillow
👉 Pro Tip: Traveling should never be a pain in the neck! I linked to Hedy’s top-recommended neck pillow above, but for more suggestions, see her guide to the best travel neck pillows.
Clothing to Pack for Solo Travel
The clothing you’ll need to pack for solo travel will vary based on a few factors. What’s the climate of your destination? What type of trip are you taking (example: city vs. outdoorsy)? How long will you be traveling for? And so forth.
There are, however, a few staple clothing items that are pretty universal for solo travel. Ideally, your travel wardrobe should be interchangeable, so you can mix and match just about everything. Pack items that you know you’ll wear, are versatile, and good for layering.
So what clothing should you pack for solo travel? Here is a quick clothing checklist for solo travel:
- Rain jacket
- Light sweater
- Scarf or sarong
- 2-4 bottoms
- 5-7 tops
- 1-2 dresses
- 1 nice outfit
- 1 swimsuit
- 7-10 underwear
- 3-4 bras
- 7-10 socks
- 1 set of pajamas
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 1 pair of hiking shoes
- 1 pair of sandals or flip flops
- 1 hat
- Minimal jewelry
When it comes to clothing items, just remember that less is more. Packing light helps keep things simple. It also makes your carry on bag lighter, so if you do buy clothes during your travels, you’ll have space for them.
Here are a few specific products that I recommend:
Stay dry, comfortable, and keep yourself from getting sick by packing a high quality rain jacket.
A rain jacket is an essential for any solo travel packing list. Of course, climates vary so pack accordingly, but having a jacket like one of these Columbia styles is great for rain cover and shielding you from wind. This is one of those items where it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Scarf or Sarong
Be prepared for a number of travel situations with this super lightweight, versatile shawl wrap.
A scarf or sarong is one of the most versatile items to include in your solo travel packing list. This Happyluxe shawl wrap is a great option because it can be used for a number of travel situations. This might include having to cover up when modest dress is called for, staying warm, or even using it as a blanket.
Keep you and your feet happy and comfortable with high-quality sneakers that come in tons of styles.
One of the most important items to include in your solo travel packing list is a pair of versatile sneakers. New Balance has a ton of great options that work for different types of solo trips. It’s important to pack sneakers that are comfortable and will go with several outfits, since they’ll be worn often.
Keep your feet clean and protected in a variety of scenarios with these classic flip flops
It’s always a good idea to pack a pair of flip flops like these Old Navy ones when traveling solo. They’re necessary for using hostel showers, super handy in case you go swimming, and they double as slippers if need be.
👉 Pro Tip: If you plan on staying in hostel dorm rooms, bring an eye mask and ear plugs, too. If you happen to have noisy roommates who come back late, these items can help you get a good night’s sleep, which is SO important as a solo traveler.
These versatile pants are perfect for all things travel, so you can stay comfortable, stylish, and keep things handy when you’re on the go.
This might seem like an odd thing to include, but pants are a bulkier clothing item, which is why it’s important to pack smart. These Libin cargo joggers for men and women are great because they’re soft and comfortable, quick drying, and have multiple pockets. Pants like these can be used as travel pants, loungewear, activewear, and everyday use.
Solo Travel Packing Tips
The climate of your destination will play a huge role in what clothing items you include in your solo travel packing list. Nonetheless, packing layers is one of the best ways to pack smart, minimally, and prepared. Plus, layering means you’re prepared for different scenarios and will be comfortable if there are changes in weather.
Keep Your Travel Information in One Place
Keep important items like your passport and documents in one secure place when you travel. Just leave them locked up at your accommodations during the day. I also recommend copying all your important travel information (flight info, travel insurance, etc.) into one digital document. So, in case of an emergency, you can access all your information easily.
💻 Read Next: Packing List for Digital Nomads and Remote Workers
Taking solo trips also means taking more safety precautions than you would if you were traveling with others. Since you can’t travel with something like pepper spray, a personal alarm is the next best thing. And if you’re staying anywhere alone (hotel, airbnb, etc.), then I recommend packing a personal door lock for extra peace of mind.
For solo female travelers concerned about safety, check out Sky’s advice in her guide to solo travel for women.
Bring a Backpack, Not a Suitcase
When it comes to a carry on suitcase, everyone has an opinion. But for the solo traveler, I recommend a backpack over a rolling suitcase. Of course, it depends on the type of trip you’re taking; but generally, a backpack is simpler and more convenient to maneuver.
📚 Related Reading: If you’re unsure about what type of carry on suitcase to bring, Travel Lemming has tons of travel backpack reviews.
Wash Your Clothes by Hand
Depending on where you stay and how you travel, you may need to wash clothes by hand. You may have access to laundry machines and services at your accommodations or nearby, but the cost can add up. Washing your clothes by hand can be more cost effective and sometimes, just simpler and more convenient.
There are tons of opinions on best money practices while traveling abroad. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep some cash on hand. If you can’t get local currency before traveling, bring cash in USD so you can at least do a cash exchange in your new destination. This is a life saver if you have card issues.
Pack a Few Items You Don’t Mind Leaving Behind
In your solo travel packing list, include some items you wouldn’t mind leaving behind like a T-shirt or some products. This way, if there’s hardly any room left in your carry on from shopping, you can exchange new items for old ones.
By the way, if you’re planning to skipped the checked bag, you might want to check out our carry on only packing list too.
FAQs for Solo Trip Packing
What should I pack for solo travel?
For solo travel, you should pack a durable, lightweight travel backpack. Then, solo travelers should pack other essentials like a portable power bank, noise-canceling headphones, security locks, and more.
How do I prepare to travel alone for the first time?
To prepare to travel alone for the first time, there are a few things you should do. I recommend doing your research, confirming travel details before your trip, and letting a loved one know your plan and where you’ll be. For ideas, see my list of the best places to travel alone. The most important tip? Always trust your gut.
Is solo female travel safe?
Solo female travel is safe in some instances. Traveling as a solo female traveler comes with its risks, but with some general precautions, it can definitely be safe. Tons and tons of women travel solo each year, and it can be an extremely rewarding experience.
I know solo traveling may seem daunting if you’ve never done it, but it can be easy with the right planning. Hopefully, this solo travel packing list helps you prepare!
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