North America Packing ListOn
North America Packing List: Solo Female Travel
This North America packing list is for travelers who prefer to travel with a carry-on. The list fits a standard carry-on size of 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm). If your carry-on allowance is even smaller then try this packing list. If you are traveling with checked luggage then, of course, you can pack more clothes and bring full-sized toiletries.
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Here’s What To Pack In Your Carry-on:
As you’ll notice, you won’t be able to take a lot of clothes. This means washing your clothes more often and looking for ways to get multiple uses out of every item. If you’re staying in hostels and budget hostels, you’ll most likely have access to laundry facilities so you won’t have to worry about washing when you need to.
Pants x 2
- A pair of skinny jeans, leggings, etc.
Skirt x 1
Tops x 5
Dress x 2
Underwear x 7
- If there is a delay in getting your clothes in a washing machine, you’ll at least have clean undies to get you through.
Bras x 4
Socks x 7
- You want to go extra on the socks because these have a habit of disappearing.
Flip-flops (For the shower)
- Shared showers can get a bit germy and you’ll want to protect your feet.
Pair of Flats (Comfortable and Sturdy for Walking)
- For hiking and trekking, I bring a good sturdy pair of hiking boots but for city walking I prefer flats. You’ll want something that breathes, can be slipped in and out of easily and are comfortable and made for hours of walking. Your feet will thank you.
**Note: This does not include the clothes you wear on the plane. Wear your heaviest clothes like jackets, hiking boots, sweaters, etc when you board. Don’t be afraid to layer!**
One thing to keep in mind is hostels are not as common in North America like they are in Europe and Australia. Some of the more popular cities will have a few but depending on where you go you might have to rely on budget hotels, and those tend to have basic toiletries for their guests.
Travel-sized Shampoo & Conditioner
- If you need specific hair products like I do then you should purchase empty travel bottles and fill them up with whatever your hair needs, instead of trying to find the travel-sized version of a product.
- Check out this post for more info on how to take care of Black hair on the road.
Travel-sized Body Wash
- You can buy tampons and pads in North America of course but it doesn’t hurt to bring a couple with you just in case.
- A regular cotton towel won’t do when you’re backpacking. They take too long to dry and you’ll end up lugging around a damp, smelly rag. Microfiber towels are quick-drying and roll up easy with makes them great to travel with.
Small Pack of Tissues
Pack of Wipes
Small Bottle of Hand Sanitizer
- The only way to get a good night sleep in a hostel room full of people.
- Another essential for hostel life.
- You won’t remember every aspect of your trip and all the things you did and the people you met…but your journal will.
- The best thing I ever did for my hair was to buy a satin pillowcase and satin-lined beret. The friction caused by our hair rubbing against those cheap fabrics they insist on putting on airline seats and hostel pillows does a lot of damage that results in breakage and dryness. Now I just tuck my hair into my beret when I’m flying and I use my own satin pillowcase in hostels, hotels, everywhere.
- Not all outlets are created equal. Make sure you have a plug adapter so you can charge your phone, tablet, laptop, etc.
- It took me a while to get on board with packing cubes but when I did I fell in love with them. They make it so easy to keep your pack organized.
Here’s What To Pack In Your Personal Item:
Motion Sick Pills (if needed)
Lip Gloss with Sunscreen
There you have it!
My North America Packing List to help you make the most of your trip. Next, check out Solo Female Travel Safety Items for some small, carry-on friendly items you can add to your packing list to protect you and your things on the road. Also, see my Resources page for more of the specific items I travel with!