Traveling alone as a woman is one of the most freeing and independent things I have ever done, in my travel life. While a lot of being a solo female traveler is “playing it by ear” and going with the flow, packing smart essentials is where I have control.

In my solo travels, I’ve found my favorite things for trips that I can’t leave home without. They’re products for comfort, female health, female safety and convenience, like my belt bag and my biker shorts (see why!).

In this list, which comes from years of pruning my solo travel “must-haves,” you can pick through and learn about a few handy products I recommend.

Safety items for solo female travelers

As a solo female traveler, safety is top of mind. For me, I constantly thought about my safety as a woman in places like Central and South America (which I wrote about for Remote Year), or on sleeper trains and public buses in Asia.

Thoughts that constantly went through my head were, “I need to keep my money safe,” and, “I need to act confidently, even if I don’t know where I’m going.”

The items below are perfect for women traveling alone, as they help out with avoiding theft, staying safe at night, in crowded places and on transportation. Check out these ideas.

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Money belt: Cocoon Silk Money Belt

This money belt can be worn around your neck, and is made of silk, which has temperature and moisture management. This particular money belt has water-repellent zippers and a RFID-secure front pocket.

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Zippered belt bag: Canvelle Belt Bag

As a woman traveling alone, it pays to have all your valuables zippered up, in sight. My Canvelle belt bag can be worn crossbody, or as a waist pack.

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Tracking valuables: Apple AirTags

Traveling alone means being in charge of all your stuff without any help, and Apple Airtags are helpful in “tagging” your most valuable essentials to track their locations.

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Safety & emergency whistle (rape whistle)

If having an emergency whistle with you in your day bag makes you a more confident solo female traveler, then go for it. This small rape whistle has a high-decible screech that can save lives.

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Fake engagement ring

For 10 bucks (on Amazon), you can ward off unwanted men who are bothering you at bars or during transport, by flashing a fake engagement ring. This has been a known “hack” for female travelers for decades, especially in Latin America.

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Laptop lock

For women who are traveling solo and working remotely some of the time, consider investing in a laptop lock. For when you get up for a minute from your table at a cafe or in a coworking space, this prevents your computer from getting snagged.

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Pepper spray keychain

This is one of the impressive products for solo female safety during travel that can make you feel armed with something very small. This keychain-sized pepper spray has a quick release function for quick access, and has max strength.

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Travel products for female health

I remember sitting in my office in Shanghai, China, while I was working abroad years ago, chatting with an old girlfriend who planned to visit Southeast Asia for the first time. I warned her she may not find tampons or pads in convenience stores, and to bring her own supply of that sort of stuff!

While many women (like me) are set in their ways when it comes to female health away from home, a few nifty products have popped up in recent years to solve the problems that come with travel limitations. What do you think of these travel products for female health?

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The Diva Cup (Period Cup)

In countries where tampons aren’t widely available (which is actually most of the world aside from the US), it may be hard to find feminine products. Coming prepared with a sustainable cup like the Diva Cup is a reusable tampon alternative that travels small.

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Reusable feminine pads

This sustainable product for women travelers comes recommended by my friend Daniela. These reusable bamboo pantiliners are useful to help travel light and lessen your disposable waste.

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Quick-dry towel (Cocoon Ultralight Microfiber Towel)

Having my own quick-dry towel in my bag is either for when a hostel (or campsite) doesn’t give towels for free, or when I want that luxury feeling of having a hair towel at a basic accommodation. My small fold-up travel towel is also handy for “covering up” at a pool or a beach.

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Travel products for female comfort

Traveling solo, for me as a woman, meant considering washing some dirty items in hostel sinks, or just waiting around until I could split laundry at a laundry service or laundromat with someone I met. I bring along comfortable items that keep me from standing out like a sore thumb in some parts of the world, as well as comfortable items that can be worn again and again, or have multiple uses.

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Sports bra: Nike Swoosh Light Support

For years, as my method of choice for for keeping my passport safe, I’d stash my passport into a sports bra when traveling solo, if I was flying or sleeping in a train car of random strangers. I like this one from Nike because it’s sweat-wicking and comfy.

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Boy shorts-style undies (WAMA Underwear)

For a woman traveling solo, you may be staying in hostel dorm rooms or shared spaces. With boy short-style underwear in your pack, you don’t have to worry about looking skimpy around strangers.

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Merino wool bra: Icebreaker Siren Bra

This barely-there bra is ideal for hiking and activity. It’s wireless with no back closure, so you don’t have to change out of it in front of stragers if you want to sleep in it. It can also double as a bikini top, according to my friend Daniela!

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Scarf for modesty (sarong)

Having a sarong has multiple uses for me, while traveling. You can use one at the beach or pool, as well as at religious temples where covering your shoulders or legs is required.

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Apparel for women traveling solo

As I’ve traveled more and learned about how I could improve what I pack, especially while traveling alone, I’ve found out about multi-use functional travel apparel.

As a solo woman, I think smart and functional travel clothes that have zippers and pockets help you keep things safe when you might be on your own in new places, like some of the best destinations for solo travel.

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Travel scarf: Bluffworks Utility Scarf

A perfect scarf for travel. How often can you find pockets in a scarf? That’s why I love Bluffworks!

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Travel dress: Aviator Chambray Travel Dress

A women’s dress for travel with zipper pockets is brilliant, and this one comes from one of our favorite brands, Aviator. The hidden side zipper pockets not only keep valuables safe from pickpockets, but let you relax a little when solo in crowded markets or cities.

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Shorts with pockets: Nike Universa Biker Shorts

I’ve gotten into bike shorts recently, and these are great for a workout as well as having skin-tight side stash pockets perfect for a phone, keys or a little bit of cash. These’ll keep you comfy and chafing-free on long (and maybe hot) trains, car rides or buses.

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Why trust me?

As a woman traveler who has shared knowledge on how to travel solo, I’ve backpacked alone in places like Costa Rica, South Africa, China, Thailand, Colombia, Japan and the USA. Traveling solo has been one of the most independent and freeing things I’ve ever done in my life!

In years of testing travel gear and looking for the latest gadgets for the modern traveler, I’ve landed on some favorite products and items. I outline these in my lists of the best accessories for backpackers, my winning roundup of the best backpacks for female travelers and the best women’s travel shirts.

I have fortunately stayed safe and practiced healthy habits as a solo female who has chosen to travel on my own. With the right gear and some smart products, I believe women have the power to travel independently anywhere they choose.

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