Comprehensive Checklist: Travel Clothing For Women

Travel clothing for women

When it comes to packing clothing for your next big trip, you need to find the sweet spot for the amount of clothing you should bring. You definitely don’t want to underpack and find out that you'll run out of underwear, but you don’t want to overpack either.

Depending on your flight, a heavier bag will cost you more money. If you pack light enough, you might even be able to bring just a carry-on and avoid going to the baggage claim. Too many clothes will take up much-needed room in your suitcase, and who wants to lug around more than you need to?

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make a checklist of all the clothing that you need. If you miss this vital step, it will be easy just to start grabbing things from your closet and drawers while you pack at the last minute and either forget some essential clothing items or take way more pairs of jeans than you actually need.

This article will serve as a guide to help you in forming your checklist on the necessary travel clothing for women. Obviously, where you are traveling to and what you will be doing will dictate what clothing you should bring with you. Use these lists to help get you started, and alter them as you need to.

A Few Essential Packing Tips

Here are some useful tips to consider when packing your clothing. While some of these might seem like common sense, they will help you in packing for your trip. It’s easy to forget details like these when you’re packing.

1. Build a Capsule Wardrobe Travel Style

If you don’t already know what a capsule wardrobe is, you’re missing out. Many women have started capsule wardrobes in their closets at home as a way of living a minimalist lifestyle. The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to rid your closet of all the clothes you don’t like and never wear. Instead, you’ll have all the essential wardrobe items that you love and fit perfectly.

Capsule wardrobes require you to use the same pieces of clothing but worn in different ways or with various accessories to make them feel like a new outfit each time. Typically, people suggest that you limit your closet to 37 or 50 pieces of clothing.

When going on a trip, you can apply this same method, but aim for less than 10 pieces of clothing instead. Rather than packing 14 different outfits for a two-week trip, you can pack a couple of shirts and pairs of pants that you can mix and match with different shoes and accessories.

2. Choose Clothes That Are Good for Layering

Almost anywhere you travel to will have varying temperatures that will require you to alter what you’re wearing to keep comfortable. When choosing what clothing you are going to bring with you on your trip, you need to pack clothing that is thin and light enough to be layered.

There is no need to pack separate clothing for different temperatures or times of the day. This is how you end with up a giant suitcase full of clothes, of which you'll only wear half. Instead, you will want to choose clothes that can serve more than one purpose. A white blouse, for example, can be put on over a tank top, worn underneath a cardigan, or worn on its own.

3. Choose Colors That Match With Anything

Although your hot pink blouse with sequins on it might look like a fun shirt to add to your suitcase, you might want to pick up the simple beige top instead. You want to avoid picking a color that doesn’t typically mesh well with most other colors. Instead, go for neutral colors that are easy to mix and match. Try to pick clothing with colors that complement each other to reduce what you have to pack.

Travel clothing for women

4. Bring Some Accessories

Accessories like inexpensive jewelry, headbands, hats, a small purse, and scarves are often super light to pack and will help you change up your outfits a bit without having to pack extra clothes. The same white blouse will look very different when paired with a scarf versus a hat. Even a simple necklace or headband will give you a unique look that you need to reuse the same shirt for another day.

5. Avoid Flashy or Expensive Jewelry

As a good rule of thumb, you should avoid bringing expensive jewelry with you when you’re traveling. Although simple jewelry and accessories are fine, you don’t want to bring anything that you will have to worry about getting lost or stolen.

Consider the possibilities:

  • Your luggage can get lost with your jewelry inside it
  • You can easily lose small pieces of jewelry while moving from place to place
  • Your jewelry can make you stand out to people who might want to rob you

You’re better off bringing cheap jewelry with you that you won’t be too upset about if it happens to get lost. While your wedding ring might be the only acceptable exception to this rule, you might want to consider leaving your real wedding ring at home and getting a silicone one instead. You won’t need to worry about it getting lost or stolen, and it will be more comfortable, too.

6. Remember That You Can Always Wash Your Clothes

Often, people pack a lot of clothes assuming that they can’t reuse clothing they already wore. While some more casual trips may allow you to wear a lightly used shirt or a pair of jeans without washing them, a day at the beach or at an amusement park might make you turn your nose at the thought of wearing your clothes without cleaning them first.

If the place you are staying at has a washer, then you’re set. However, you can wash your clothes even if you don’t have access to a washing machine. Hand washing is a super easy, cheap way to clean your clothes so that you can quickly use them again. You will want to try to pick clothing that is easy to wash and can quickly hang dry.

While a sink and some detergent are all you really need for hand washing in most places, not all places will have a sink that you can use. In situations like this, especially when camping or hiking, there are travel wash bags you can buy to hand wash your clothes easily.

7. You Don’t Need Seven Different Pairs of Shoes

Unlike other pieces of clothing that you can condense easily into tightly packed cubes of fabric, shoes can be tricky to pack. It’s easy to get carried away packing shoes when you consider which shoes go best with each outfit or the different situations where you might need different types of shoes.

You should try to pack only two pairs of shoes, and never pack more than three. Having a good pair of walking or tennis shoes is essential for the days you are walking around town or possibly hiking. In warm weather, you will need a comfortable pair of sandals or flip-flops. You should only bring a third pair of shoes if you need dress shoes for nights spent at a fancy restaurant or at a show.

Anything over three pairs of shoes is excessive and will take up far too much room in your suitcase. To save even more space, you should wear your largest pair of shoes, like your tennis shoes, on the plane so that you don’t have to pack them in your bag. Then you will only have your flip-flops to pack, which will take up significantly less room.

8. Be Aware of Clothing Requirements in Different Countries

If you are traveling overseas, you need to familiarize yourself with different clothing requirements around the world. If you are traveling to a predominantly Muslim area or visiting any temples or churches, you will need to be especially mindful of what you wear. Here are some types of clothing you should avoid wearing when traveling internationally:

  • Clothing with vulgar or offensive text
  • Revealing clothing- especially clothing that exposes your cleavage and stomach
  • Super short skirts or shorts- some religious sites won’t allow any shorts at all
  • Patriotic or religious symbols

Travel Clothing for Women Lists

With those important tips in mind, you are now ready for these starter packing lists. There are several different lists fit for different climates or types of traveling. Although there are far many different types of trips you might need to prepare for, these are a few of the most basic ones.

Woman pulling suitcase

The General Packing List for Most Occasions

  • 3-5 long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirts and blouses
  • 1-2 cardigans or light sweaters
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 light rain jacket
  • 1-2 tank tops or sleeveless tops
  • 2 dresses or skirts
  • 2 pairs of shoes: One pair of walking shoes and one pair of sandals
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 2 bras: one regular bra and one sports bra
  • 3-5 pairs of socks
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 hat
  • 2-3 accessories like scarves or jewelry
  • 1-2 pajama sets

Packing for the Beach

When you’re packing for the beach, it can be much easier to pack light. If you’re strictly staying on the beach or at a resort, you will most likely be spending most of your day in your swimsuit. While you might want to bring a pair of pants and tennis shoes just to be safe, you can probably get by just wearing dresses and flip flops the whole time.

  • 3 tank tops or sleeveless tops
  • 3 short-sleeved tops or blouses
  • 2-3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of light pants
  • 2-3 swimsuits
  • 2 dresses or skirts
  • 1 hat
  • 2 pairs of thin socks
  • 2 pairs of shoes: One pair of flip-flops and one pair of comfortable walking sandals

Packing for the Cold or Snow

When you’re packing for especially cold climates, you might as well leave all the short sleeves and flip-flops at home and opt for sweaters and boots. While thicker clothing understandably takes up more space, use layering to your advantage.

  • 3-4 long-sleeved shirts
  • 1-2 dressy sweaters
  • 2-3 super-warm sweaters
  • 2 pairs of thick jeans
  • 1-2 thermal sets
  • 2-3 pairs of leggings
  • 5-7 pairs of thick, long socks
  • 1 heavy coat with a hood
  • 1-2 scarves
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 beanie
  • 1 pair of snow boots
  • 1 pair of casual boots or tennis shoes

Packing for Camping or Backpacking

Packing for long camping trips or backpacking trips can be tricky. Although you should expect a certain level of dirtiness being outside and sweating all day, you will have very little room for fresh, clean clothing. You may end up tying light sweaters or jackets around your waist to save room in your bag.

You’ll definitely want to have some way to wash your clothes to save on space. You will need to pay special attention to layering and the material of your clothing on these trips. If you are going in the cold weather, you can skip the shorts. In hot weather, you will not need heavy-duty jackets.

  • 2-3 pairs of underwear
  • 1-2 sports bras
  • 1 tank top
  • 1 pair of thermals or long underwear
  • 1-2 wool or synthetic short-sleeve tops
  • 1 UPF 50+ long-sleeve shirt
  • 1 pair of convertible or roll-up pants
  • 1 pair of light, stretchy running tights
  • 1 pair of active shorts
  • 1 fleece sweater
  • 1 heavy jacket, windbreaker or rain jacket, depending on the weather
  • 2 extra pairs of socks: one thin and one thick
  • 1 sun hat
  • 1 beanie
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 headband or bandana for your hair.
  • 1 set of warm pajamas

Packing for an International Trip

When packing to go on an international trip, you won’t need to stray too far from the general packing list. However, there are a couple of clothing items you might want to consider bringing with you to help respect the clothing norms in the country you are visiting.

  • Capris: shorts might be inappropriate for some countries, but capris are more likely to be acceptable
  • Knee or ankle-length skirts and dresses: a short dress or skirt is unacceptable in many countries around the world
  • Sarong: a sarong is very useful when visiting temples, churches or other religious buildings since they can cover up your chest, stomach, and your legs if you are wearing a tank top or shorts
  • Old closed-toe shoes: Depending on where you’re traveling, some roads might be too muddy or dirty for sandals or nice shoes. Consider bringing a pair you can leave behind or use again for your next adventure

How to Pack Your Clothing

Now that you’ve reduced your clothing packing list to only the bare necessities, you shouldn’t waste all your hard work by packing them incorrectly. The way you pack your clothes, shoes and accessories will make a big difference in whether you can fit all your items into a carry-on or in a suitcase.

When packing your clothes, you need to begin by knowing how to fold them. Rather than just folding your clothes the way you normally would at home, you should learn to roll your clothing. Rolling your clothes will allow you to maximize the space in your bag by fitting your clothes in from edge-to-edge. Plus, your clothes will be kept mostly wrinkle-free, so you won’t need to worry about ironing your clothes while traveling. The best way to prevent wrinkling is to roll your clothes military-style.

Another good idea is to do a combination of folding and rolling clothing by putting your rolled items on one side and folded or flat items on the other side. Whether you should roll or fold depends on the type of clothing. You can roll light clothing like shirts and leggings, whereas you'd want to fold thick, bulkier items like jeans.

Rolling your clothes definitely is better than folding your clothes for maximizing space, but compression sacks or packing cubes will actually create more space. Compression sacks are like well-sealed plastic bags that have a vacuum seal to make its contents nice and compact. Compression sacks are best for large, bulky items like thick sweatshirts and jackets. They also keep your items waterproof and protect them from spills in your bag in case your shampoo decides to burst in your bag.

Packing cubes, on the other hand, compress your clothes a little bit and provide you with some much-needed organization. While most of your clothes might fit better in compression bags, packing cubes are great for holding your accessories, jewelry and any other items you might have floating around in your bag.

Keep in mind that although these methods help in reducing space, they do not reduce the weight of your bag. The only way to reduce weight is simply to pack less.


As you prepare for your next trip, hopefully, these checklists for travel clothing for women and other travel tips will help you pack with more efficiency. You’ll be a packing pro in no time.