These practical travel tips for women are from my journeys through Egypt, Israel, Africa, Europe, Mexico, Hawaii, and Costa Rica!
Whether you’re moving overseas to Africa or taking a day trip to California, these travel tips will help you handle money, health, socializing, and more.
Before the tips, a quip from Mark Twain:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Explore, dream, and discover, women travelers! For more info on women traveling alone, click on Gutsy Women: More Travel Tips and Wisdom for the Road by Marybeth Bond. It’ll give you courage and inspiration, especially if you’re a solo woman traveler. Okay, here are my 55 practical travel tips for women…
55 Practical Travel Tips for Women
If you’re a woman traveling alone and worried about homesickness, read 8 Tips for Overcoming Homesickness for Women Traveling Alone.
Packing Your Luggage
One of the most important travel tips for women is to pack less than you think you’ll need – unless you’re traveling to Africa, where basic items aren’t always readily available.
- Ensure your luggage is 22 inches or smaller; if you’re renting a car, remember that small cars (and trunks) are popular in foreign countries.
- “Nest” a smaller empty duffle bad inside your luggage to fill with exotic treasures.
- Take photos of your luggage to help with identification in case of loss.
- Buy “bar” shampoo; it’s lighter and more compact than bottled shampoo.
- Pack old clothes; after you wear them leave them in the hotel room or give them to charity.
- Take a multi-purpose wrap that you can sit on, wear as a skirt, throw over your shoulders, or wear as a scarf.
Read Packing and Travel Tips for Africa for more in-depth info.
If you’re going on a luxurious holiday, read Packing Tips for an All-Inclusive Resort Vacation.
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Watching Your Money
A great travel tip for women is to look as inconspicuous as possible. For instance, don’t carry a purse. Keep your wallet tucked away in your backpack or daypack.
- When withdrawing from an ATM, make sure the bank is open in case your card gets eaten.
- Carry small bills and spare change for small purchases, vending machines, laundry, etc.
- Buy a “real” money belt – one that looks like a traditional belt, but has a concealed pouch and zipper.
- Ask for hotel prices, boat trips, tour guide costs, etc in writing.
- Confirm sit-down versus take-out prices in restaurants.
- Stash small amounts of money everywhere: wallet, pockets, money belt, backpack.
Getting and Being There
These travel tips will help with air and road travel:
- Check your airline’s regulations for carry-on and checked items.
- Rent cars in advance from home for the best deal for long-term rentals.
- Investigate rail and ferry ticket prices from home; some passes are only sold in advance.
- Learn to drive a manual transmission.
- Be painfully precise when asking for and receiving directions.
Taking a break from cosmetics is one of my favorite travel tips for women; it gives skin and hair a chance to breathe.
- Use witch hazel and cotton pads for effective cleaning if you have no water.
- Always carry extra serviettes, toilet paper, and baby wipes.
- Substitute your regular exercise plan for something new: hiking, biking, or swimming.
- Carry antiseptic hand gel, aloe vera gel, and band aids in your day pack.
- Go without your regular cosmetics to give your skin and eyes a break and make traveling easier.
Nothing ruins a vacation more than reporting a robbery, so remember these travel tips for women:
- Scan and email your passport to yourself, to access if you lose yours.
- Never surrender your passport, even to hotel proprietors.
- If a loud diversion occurs near you, keep an eye on your luggage or backpack.
- Wear clothing with secret pockets.
- Use safety pins to fasten the zippers of your backpack closed.
- Avoid looking like a tourist; eg, instead of stopping on the street to check your map, go to a store or coffee shop.
These travel tips include socializing effectively, so you’re not just a bystander. You can be a participant in the local customs and culture!
- Ask bus and taxi drivers for tips on restaurants, shopping, hotels, and customs.
- Learn some basic foreign phrases.
- Talk to locals about their life, traditions, business, and customs. Be curious.
- Accept invitations to locals’ homes, churches, and events – but take a buddy.
- Ask other tourists about destinations, hotels, sights, and surprises.
Buying souvenirs can be fun – especially if you keep these travel tips for women in mind:
- Insist on prices before buying anything; this includes taking photos of performers in costume.
- Buy local scarves, bags, and purses; they’re easy to pack and make perfect gifts.
- Confirm Visa versus cash prices in shops.
- Always ask, “Is that your final price?”
- Go to local markets for food, clothes, local wares and unique souvenirs.
- Explore antique and secondhand shops for invaluable discoveries.
These travel tips include the best ways to immerse yourself in a different culture:
- Enjoy the local entertainment: concerts, operas, plays, fashion shows, jam sessions.
- Go off the beaten track and explore a unique neighborhood or untouristed community.
- Buy a hop-on, hop-off bus or metro ticket; get off at every stop.
- Take hands-on art workshops, cooking classes, jewelry-making sessions, etc.
- Investigate alternative ways to explore the culture: seaweed baths, Swedish massages, spiritual retreats, aromatherapy rooms, pow wows, cold plunge pools.
Eating is one of the best parts of traveling. Make sure you’re not caught off-guard with these travel tips:
- Carry nuts, dried fruit, and snacks to ensure balanced meals.
- Bring your own water to restaurants so you don’t have to buy expensive bottled water.
- Find local eateries off the main streets – they often have the best prices and food.
- Experiment with a new appetizer or main dish at every meal.
- Give your leftover food to homeless or street people.
- Picnic at least once a day with food from the local market or grocery store – it’s healthier, cheaper, and often tastier.
- Bring a corkscrew, pocketknife, plastic cutlery and plastic cups for more elaborate picnics.
Your Personal Wellness
Use your vacation as a time to re-energize and re-focus with these travel tips:
- Attend a local mosque, church service, mass, or spiritual ceremony.
- Splurge (or save money on) on a day spa, facial, massage, pedicure, manicure, or haircut.
- Schedule downtime to read, snooze, and relax.
- Pack candles, massage oil, and aromatherapy oils for sensual evenings – even if you’re going solo.
- See the adventure and magic in everything – even the frustrating, bad parts – and be grateful for the experience.
For more travel tips, read Packing a Carry On Bag for Air Travel? Easy Ways to Pack Light.
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What travel tips for women have I missed? Please share below…