One piece of advice when traveling solo internationally – pack light, but smart. Since it’s just you, you’ll need to make sure your luggage is easy enough for you to carry around and lug up stairs or hills. Here’s your international travel checklist for the solo female traveler. Or you can download a printable version HERE.
*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services that I truly love and support.
What You’ll Need to Buy
Cross-body bag or a money belt. Depending on where you’re going, you’ll need one of these. If you’re going to a place known for pick-pocketing, a money belt is the better option. It is similar to a fanny pack but much thinner and you wear it under your shirt.
A cross-body bag is harder to pickpocket so it’s a better option than a regular purse, but shouldn’t be worn in countries where locals on motorbikes can drive by and grab the bag, dragging you along with it. So do your research on the country/city, and determine if it’s safe to wear a cross-body bag vs a money belt.
Anti-theft passport holder. You’ll want an RFID blocking passport holder which prevents people from scanning your passport and stealing your information.
Padlock. If you plan to stay in hostels, make sure you book ones that offer lockers. You’ll want to keep your valuables safe while you’re out and about and locking them up is the best way to do so. Hostels don’t provide the padlock though so you’ll need to bring one with you. I suggest also bringing mini padlocks to use on your backpack or luggage zippers if you’re staying in an Airbnb or your hostel doesn’t have lockers.
Waterproof bag. Figuring out what to do with your belongings at the beach can be tricky if you plan on swimming. Hiding your stuff under your towel, in a bag, or in the sand is risky. And you don’t want to be stuck staring at your stuff the whole time you’re in the ocean. So your best and safest option is to put your valuables in a small waterproof bag and take it into the ocean with you. Just make sure it has a wrist strap so you don’t drop it!
Sleep mask, ear plugs, sleeping pills. Sleeping in a hostel can be difficult sometimes, especially if you’re sharing a room with drunk, noisy people. A sleep mask will help when your roommates come home in the middle of the night and turn the lights on. Ear plugs obviously will block out the sounds of drunk, noisy people. And sleeping pills are necessary for longggg flights (just buy over the counter Tylenol PM).
What You’ll Need to Bring from Home:
Copy of your passport. Losing your passport in a foreign country is a huge bummer and inconvenience. But you’ll make life a lot easier for yourself if you have a copy of your passport. Take a picture of the main pages and print them out or upload them to the cloud. Don’t keep a picture of it on your phone in case it’s gets stolen.
Anything required for customs. Some countries’ customs require a lot in order to let you into their country. Make sure you print out everything you might need such as bank statement, proof of return flight, proof of vaccinations, etc.
Paperclip. If you plan on purchasing sim cards for phone data, you’ll need a paperclip to pop it open on your phone.
Headphones and a book. You’re going to be spending a fair bit of time by yourself so you’ll need to keep yourself occupied. Headphones are a must for listening to music or podcasts on long bus rides. Dining alone? Having a book will help you feel less awkward and give you something to do besides stare at other people.
Print out your accommodation’s info. If you’re in a country where English isn’t widely spoken, you’ll be grateful that you have the address, map, and phone number of your accommodation printed out. You can simply hand it over to your taxi or shuttle driver to help him understand where to take you.
What to Download on Your Phone:
Google Maps. Before you get to your destination, download the map of the city so that you’ll be able to access it without data or wifi. This is crucial to navigating yourself in a foreign country.
Podcasts, music, e-books. You’ll want to download everything before you leave home so that you’re guaranteed to have access when you arrive without wifi or data.
Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. You’ll need a way to keep in contact with all your new friends and unfortunately texting through sms isn’t universal. Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger will allow you to connect with most people, even your friends and family back home.
Hostelworld, Airbnb, Expedia. Make sure to download the app of whichever booking system you used. Having easy access to your accommodation’s address and phone number will make things easier for you when trying to navigate the city.
Uber. Always useful if you’re lost or can’t figure out the public transportation system.
Google Translate. You can download the native language of your destination when you have wifi so that you’re able to use it later without wifi or data. A very useful app in countries where English isn’t widely spoken.
This international travel checklist is essentially your solo travel toolbox, so make sure you bring these with you. Trust me you will need them!!
Did I forget anything? Comment below if there’s something you always take on your solo trips!