The Ultimate List of Traveling Essentials for Women Over 50

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Candi Randolph

Are you a woman over 50 who loves to travel? If so, then you know that there are some essential items that you just can’t leave home without. I’m in my 60s and have traveled within the United States quite frequently, mainly from Michigan to Florida (or vice versa).

I also had the amazing experience of international travel when our family went to Naples, Italy earlier this year so my mom could see where her family originated. She’s 95 so it was quite the traveling adventure for all of us.

traveling essentials for women

Am I a sophisticated world traveler? Nope. Can I show you loads of amazing photos of me sporting my travel wardrobe in beautiful locations around the country? Not really. That’s not my style of blogging, or as a person.

Have I traveled frequently enough to be able to give some thoughtful advice, travel tips, and pointers to women in midlife when it comes to packing for a vacation? I have.

So, now that we all understand the perspective of this blog post, let’s discuss traveling essentials for women that should be included in their luggage.

These are the must-have essentials that’ll make your journey smoother than that silk scarf you can’t leave behind. I’m talking about those top travel essentials that savvy globetrotters like you swear by. What’s the best way to stay comfy on long flights? Or how do you keep things chic yet functional for those long days exploring new places? Well, stick with me—I’m about to show you the easy way to pack smart.

And the best part? We’re not just throwing random items into your suitcase; we’re selecting great options designed to make your long trip a breeze, because hey, isn’t discovering new places the spice of life? Pack your bags and get ready to tick off your list because I’m about to unveil the secrets to stylish, hassle-free travels. Stay tuned, because this is one update you won’t want to miss!

And, there’s a free resource printable for you too, to help you stay organized as you plan your adventure! You’ll find access to it at the bottom of the post.

If you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Why Travel in Midlife?

Amalfi coast in southern Italy

Women in midlife are at a unique stage in their lives. They may have more free time than they did when they were younger, but they also may have more responsibilities, such as caring for aging parents or young children.

As a result, travel can be a great way to recharge and rejuvenate. Have you ever considered a girl’s getaway? How much fun that would be! But before booking a trip, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, consider your physical health and energy levels. If you’re not feeling up to an exotic adventure, that’s okay. There are plenty of other options that can be just as rewarding.

Second, think about your budget. Travel can be expensive, so it’s important to plan ahead and save up if necessary.

Finally, don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure! Whether you’re exploring a new city or taking a relaxing beach vacation, getting out of your comfort zone can be one of the best parts of travel. So go ahead and start planning your next trip—you deserve it!

Benefits of Vacationing Close to Home

You don’t have to go far away to have a great vacation. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to stay close to home for your next getaway.

For one thing, it’s usually cheaper to vacation nearby. You won’t have to worry about airfare or other transportation costs, and you can probably find some good deals and save money on lodging as well. Plus, you’ll be able to save time by not having to travel far. This means you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying your vacation.

And speaking of relaxation, vacations close to home can actually be less stressful than those in far-flung places. When you’re not worried about getting lost or dealing with language barriers, you can relax and truly enjoy your time off.

So next time you’re planning a vacation, don’t discount the benefits of staying close to home. You might just find that it’s the perfect way to recharge your batteries.

Wherever the Destination, Packing can be Stressful

packing for a trip can be stressful

There are so many things to think about when you’re packing for a trip – what clothes will you need? What kind of shoes? Will you need a bathing suit? And if you’re traveling with the grand kids, there’s even more to remember. It’s no wonder that packing for a trip can be one of the most stressful parts of planning a vacation.

Here are a few tips to help make packing a little easier. We’ll be diving into more detail below, but this is a quick and efficient checklist when it comes to travel essentials for women:

  • Start by making a packing list of everything you’ll need to bring with you. This will help ensure that you don’t forget anything important. Grab the free printable at the bottom of the post to make this process easier.
  • Pack light, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking or touring. You don’t want to end up lugging around a heavy suitcase.
  • Choose versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. This will help save space in your suitcase and give you more outfit options.
  • Invest in travel-sized toiletries so you don’t have to worry about packing large bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc.

By following these tips, packing for your next trip can be much less stressful – and you can enjoy your vacation that much more.

Traveling Essentials for Women: My Personal Travel List

Naples, Italy 2022

We’re going to cover these travel essentials by category to make things easier, and also allow you to focus on areas of particular interest to you.

Luggage and Carry Ons

Let’s begin with the luggage and carry on items first. How you transport your clothes and other necessities is important in a number of ways:

  • ease of getting from point A to point B with all your stuff – what sounded like a good plan at home can quickly become an almost impossible load to drag along with you
  • size and weight restrictions – ditto the above, plus, do you really want to pay more for an overweight bag? Or, be turned down at the gate (and pay a fee) because your carry on luggage didn’t meet the airline’s restrictions?
  • beginning your trip planning with the knowledge of how much packing space you do, or don’t have, will help you be more realistic


Unless you’re going to be away for weeks at at time, one standard size suitcase on wheels with an expandable handle should be able to accommodate your clothing and some other essentials. There are many affordable options available, many in sets, so you have the carry on as well as the checked bag.

Packing cubes can be a wonderful way to stay organized and protect your clothing while traveling. More about that a little later.

Remember to include luggage tags, and if you’re traveling abroad, a travel document holder

I’ve created some lovely luggage tags that you won’t find anywhere else but in my Zazzle shop, Ivory Home. Many can be personalized, too.


You’ll want an additional bag for travel essentials, and a carry on will usually be your best choice.

NOTE: Some airlines allow one free carry on, and others charge a fee for it. Sometimes you can bring ONE item on the plane with you, and sometimes you can include a carry on AND your purse. Be sure that you understand your airline’s rules and regs.

You’ll want to place the items in your carry on that meet current TSA guidelines, so that’s another detail to review when making packing decisions. Taking the time to check for any mask requirements for your airline and travel destination is also a wise planning strategy; it eliminates surprises.

Some carry on bags are designed to fit under the airline seat so they don’t have to be lifted up over your head to be placed in the compartment. I have traveled many times with my pretty little under seat carry on from Lilly Bloom, and I still love it! I get compliments when I’m wheeling it through the airport terminals. 🙂

Remember that you can always choose to check the smaller carry on bag for an extra cost. That is up to you, my friend


I have learned that the purse I carry day-to-day isn’t necessarily the purse I want to travel with. For me, I want it as compact and light as possible for a couple of reasons: 1) I always have a carry on, and a heavy purse would be too much weight to lug around, and 2) I only want the essentials with me, not the extra stuff I keep in my purse day-to-day. Less to carry, less to lose or have stolen.

So, make a decision based on where you’re going, what you’ll be doing, and how much you need to carry with you at all times. There are many choices in purses that are made specifically for travel, including those that are waterproof, ‘theftproof’, have hidden compartments, can be worn as backpacks, include umbrellas, are an anti theft bag, etc.


My goal is to have enough clothes for one week. If my stay is longer, I’ll do laundry. So, the following travel essentials list is based on that philosophy. It is also assuming that the climate will be pleasant and include some warm weather – no winter travel to Alaska, for example. Keep that in mind as you consider your travel essentials:

  • 2 pair slacks (1 could be jeans, 1 could be capri length if you wish) – neutral colors. If you absolutely feel that two pair of slacks is not enough, add another pair and then create your traveling outfit using one of the pairs of slacks. It will keep the suitcase a bit lighter.
  • 1 pair shorts or a skort; 2 pair if you’re going somewhere warm – neutral colors. If you never wear shorts, increase the number of slacks or skirt
  • 1 cardigan – black, ivory, white, or navy
  • 1 blazer or wrinkle-free jacket or additional sweater – neutral color that coordinates with your other separates
  • 1 casual dress or skirt
  • Option: 1 LBD (little black dress), or a no-wrinkle dress that will accommodate your activities or special planned events
  • 5 tops of varying sleeve lengths and styles based on your preference and climate you’re visiting. Make sure that they are interchangeable with the slacks, shorts, and skirt. I always include my TuckTop – a must for hands-free traveling and sight-seeing
  • 1 outer jacket appropriate for the climate
  • Jammies – and a robe if you need it. I always travel with my Cool-Jams.
  • Workout clothes, a top and a bottom
  • 1 bathing suit/coverup 

NOTE: It is very important to consider each and every article of clothing before placing it in the suitcase. The key to wardrobe essentials is to make sure that your separates mix, match, and are interchangeable. Sure, you might wear the same pair of slacks a few times, but by switching up the tops, sweater/blazer, and shoes, you can create quite a variety of styles.

It’s quite similar to a capsule wardrobe. You can learn more about this type of wardrobe organization HERE.

Try not to bring anything that is a one-and-done type of outfit unless you have a special event that requires it.


What to put on your tootsies is also a personal decision based on your style preferences, the condition of your feet, and where you’re going to be traveling to.

In general, I would recommend a combination something like this:

  • 1 pair sandals
  • 1 pair comfy shoes – tennies, if that works for you, and especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking
  • 1 pair semi-dress low-heeled shoes
  • Flip flops or slippers for hotel room/pool/beach

TIP: It’s really, really easy to start packing way more shoes than you’ll actually need. Resist the urge to bring shoes that will only go with one outfit (unless they are for the dress). This is an area where many women overpack.


You might tweak this a bit based on your personal needs and style, but this list should see you through a week of travel. Don’t skimp on the undies, though, especially if you don’t have laundry facilities at hand.

  • 2 bras – color is based on the tops/dress you’re bringing
  • 8 to 9 pair underwear
  • 5  to 6 pair Socks
  • 1 or 2 pair nylons if you wear them


  • Makeup, skin care, and hair care products – all in small bottles – bring just what you need for the trip
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste – I love my Quip electric sonic toothbrush. It runs on batteries, includes a travel cover and mirror mount that is perfect for vacationing or any time you’re away from home.
  • High SPF sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Eye drops – if you need them
  • Hand sanitizer spray or gel
  • Small hair accessories such as hair ties, head band, clips, rollers, etc.
  • Hand mirror for makeup and hair
  • Specialized hair accessories such as curling iron, brush, flat iron, etc. Most hotels include hair dryers, so if you’re staying in one it might not be necessary to bring your own unless you must have it. Note that it takes up space and weight in the suitcase.
  • Clippers, nail scissors, nail file
  • Personal hygiene items – I don’t go anywhere without my Poise!
  • Sunscreen
  • Medication and vitamin supplements – don’t forget these! Try to pack them in smaller containers so you’re not bringing all of the bigger bottles with you

Travel Accessories

These items are so helpful to have with you on your travels. They help keep you organized and the items stay safer.

  • Jewelry carrier
  • Travel wallet
  • Travel sunglasses – inexpensive in case they get lost
  • Mini travel wallet
  • Makeup toiletry bag

Here are some options I curated for you:

Travel Essentials and Incidentals to Consider

travel essentials and incitentals to consider as women over 50

Here are some additional travel essentials for women that you might want to consider. The first list is for when you are on the plane, or in the car, on the train, etc. The second list includes some very helpful additions that will make your time away more comfortable and secure, and they don’t take up a lot of space or weight.

On the plane

  • Lip balm, because chapped lips are no fun
  • Wet wipes, tissues, toilet seat covers
  • Reading material
  • Ear buds
  • Neck pillow if you rest better with one. Here are some options to consider in neck pillows

Other helpful additions and travel necessities

  • Plastic storage bags in sizes – they come in handy for organizing your smaller items in the suitcase
  • Packing cubes – these handy little wonders will help you keep everything in your suitcase organized. Check out these packing cubes
  • Water bottle – no matter where you go, you’ll want to stay hydrated. Collapsible water bottles are available, too!
  • Safety alarm keychain – if traveling alone this can be a good addition to your accessories. Check them out.
  • Travel first aid kit
  • Sewing kit
  • Travel laundry bag to keep the dirty clothes separated
  • Adapter and portable charger – these would be international travel essentials. I found them very helpful on our trip to Italy and used this helpful site to figure out what I needed to purchase
  • Travel insurance – there are different schools of thought on this one, but it deserves to be on the list because it might be a travel essential for you based on your personal situation as well as your destination. Accidents happen, ever though we don’t like to think about them.

Rediscover Your Personal Style in Midlife

The Fashion Cure

What to Leave at Home

It’s tempting to bring extra things with you ‘just in case’. And, while I understand the thinking, it does not work well when your packing space is limited.

  • All your makeup – only take what you need
  • Extra pairs of shoes – you’ll most likely wear the same ones over and over
  • Hair dryer – unless you know for sure that your accommodations don’t offer them
  • Full size prescription and supplement bottles – transfer them to small easy-to-transport containers

Grab your Free Resource Printable, Travel Essentials Checklist, from the Resource Library

You’ll find it in the Lifestyle Section

What I Wish I’d had With Me

  • Packing cubes from EZPacking – my suitcase as well as other items would have stayed much more organized!
  • Spray dewrinkler for my clothes – so much easier than pulling out the iron and ironing board! I like this one from The Laundress

Conclusion: Travel Essentials for Women

sunset at Fort Myers Beach, FL

And just like that, we’ve reached the end of our little virtual packing spree. You’re almost set to jet-set! Don’t forget to tuck those credit cards and important documents in a safe spot—because nobody wants to play hide and seek with their passport or ID, right?

Oh, and let’s not underestimate the power of comfortable walking shoes. Whether you’re rushing through airports or strolling through cobbled streets on short trips, they can be a total game changer for your feet. And speaking of great options, have you seen those travel organizers? Trust me, investing in a few is a decision you’re unlikely to regret.

We’ve been around the block a few times (or across the globe, to be precise), and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that good preparation pays off—big time. The last thing you want is to be distracted by what you left behind when there’s so much ahead waiting to be discovered.

So as you give your list one final glance, just think of the peace of mind you’ll enjoy knowing you’re carrying all your favorite travel essentials. Now, go forth with confidence into your next adventure. Bon voyage, my friend, and remember—the world is your oyster, and you’re about to make a pearl of a trip!

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best traveling guide for women over 50

3 thoughts on “The Ultimate List of Traveling Essentials for Women Over 50”

  1. This is a helpful list. I am a chronic over-packer. I agree packing cubes are a must, I love them! Regarding shoes, if I’m going to be walking a lot I need at least 2 pairs of comfy walking shoes as wearing the same pair day after day isn’t good for me and I’ve read other travel blogs that say the same. Thanks for your interesting posts.

    1. Hi Julie, thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. Ultimately, packing for a trip is a personal experience, and based on location as well as preferences, your final packed baggage may look a little different than someone else’s. Comfy shoes in any number are always a must!

  2. Comfortable shoes are a must. Unfortunately, I struggle to find great pairs that are both comfy and fashionable. No matter what I buy I always seem to end up with blisters on my heels. Which, speaking off, add blister bandages to my must pack list.

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