Emily's Top 10 Must-Haves for Solo Female Travellers

Emily's Top 10 Must-Haves for Solo Female Travellers

Nowadays many of us are itching to get travelling again, and one of the best ways to go to all your dream destinations is to travel the world solo! However, many first-time solo female travellers may be worried about whether it's really safe to travel alone. So, we asked Emily Luxton, solo female travel blogger extraordinaire, to share some of her essential items! 

From anti-theft bags to handy locks, there are multiple items to consider adding to your arsenal. Emily's blog is packed with inspiring content, too, so is a great place to go if you're not sure where to visit next! 

"Solo travel can be tough - but it can also be one of the most exciting and enriching experiences of your life! I've been travelling on and off for over seven years now, sometimes with friends or as part of a group, but often completely solo. Along the way, I've picked up a lot of tips for how to travel more safely and more efficiently. These are my top ten must-pack items to help keep you safe, organised, or generally more comfortable while you travel."

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Emily Luxton
Travel Blogger
  • Osprey
    Fairview 70 Women's Travel Backpack

    Emily Luxton

    One of the most important tools for every solo traveller is, of course, a backpack. But if you're a solo female traveller, like me, you might not realise that there are actually backpacks out there designed especially for women.

    I've used several different backpacks over the years, and I can honestly say that the Osprey Fairview 70 is the best one I've tried. It's specifically designed for women, so the shape, size, and fit have all been adjusted to fit a female frame. Having a comfortable, well-fitting backpack makes a world of difference, so I highly recommend looking for a female-specific one instead of a unisex bag. I use the 70L Fairview, which has a 55L main bag and a detachable daypack - but there's also a smaller option if you prefer to travel light.

    The other really great thing about this backpack is that it opens all the way around, so it's more like a suitcase. A lot of backpacks open at the top, which is a real pain when you're travelling for a long time and constantly having to unpack and repack your stuff.
  • Travelon
    Anti-Theft Crossbody bag

    Emily Luxton

    Although my travel backpack comes with its own daypack, I prefer to swap it for an anti-theft bag. Depending on what kind of trip it is, I'll either take a handbag, like the Travelon Heritage Crossbody bag, or an anti-theft backpack. I've used tons of Travelon products, so I know they're a great brand, and I love how many different style options they have in the range.

    An anti-theft bag really is a must when you're travelling, especially if you're solo. They're made from reinforced fabric, normally with hidden wire mesh which stops thieves from slashing the fabric or straps and making off with your valuables. 

    The main compartment locks to keep it safe, and there are often handy hidden pockets to stash your cards or phone in. Most Travelon bags also include a mini torch which helps you find stuff inside the bag when it's dark!
  • Money Belt for Travel

    Emily Luxton

    Another great anti-theft product is a discrete money belt or stash pocket, which can be worn underneath your clothes to keep your cards and cash safely out of sight. You need one which is slash-proof, so potential thieves can't cut the strap, and it should have a strong buckle and tough zippers too. 

    It should also feature RFID blocking material. I'll be honest, I still don't understand how it works, but some tech-savvy thieves can steal your details straight off your credit cards and passport. Tuck them inside an RFID blocking pouch, and they'll be protected from these scary-sounding tech attacks!
  • Water To Go
    Water Filter Bottle

    Emily Luxton

    A water filter bottle is one of the most useful tools any traveller can have. In many countries, tap water isn't safe to drink. Plus, while you're out hiking and exploring you might want to refill your bottle from a water source that could be dirty or carry disease. 

    A water filter bottle can remove all these germs, as well as any dirt, and even remove the bad taste! I swear by the Water-to-Go bottles, but I think you can only get these in Europe. If you're based in the USA you can try a LifeStraw bottle, which does a similar job - I've heard very good things about the brand from fellow travellers.
  • PackTowl
    Microfibre Travel Towel

    Emily Luxton

    Now for a really useful space-saver! A towel can take up a lot of luggage space when you travel, which is a particular problem if you're travelling long term or trying to pack everything into a backpack. Instead, opt for a microfibre travel towel. These are much thinner and lighter than a normal towel, but still just as absorbant. 

    I've been using the PackTowl Personal Travel Towel for years and absolutely swear by it. Not only is this super small and lightweight, fitting easily into my backpack, but it's also fast drying which is really handy when you want to shower, pack, and leave in a hurry!
  • BV
    TSA-Approved Travel Locks

    Emily Luxton

    A padlock is an absolute must-have for solo travel. They frequently come in handy! Especially if you're staying in hostels as you'll need a padlock to stash your valuables securely inside the hostel lockers.

    On public transport it's often a good idea to padlock your bag shut too. Although it won't stop a potential thief from making off with the whole bag, it will at least stop anyone opening your bag and grabbing your wallet while you sleep. This has happened to at least two travellers I know, so it's always worth locking your bag shut!

    Make sure you opt for a TSA-Approved padlock to use on your suitcase or backpack when checking it into flights. If the airport security decide to search your bag they will just cut off a normal padlock, but they're able to open the TSA-Approved ones with a special key. Most TSA padlocks also have an alert button which tells you when they've been opened using this key, so you can check your bags to make sure everything's in order before leaving the airport.
  • Anker
    Portable Power Bank

    Emily Luxton

    I rely heavily on my phone when I travel solo. Not just to Instagram sunsets and stay in touch with friends back home, but also to actually travel! Finding my way with Google Maps, checking the currency conversion or the weather, translating a restaurant menu, calling an Uber... my smartphone often feels like the most useful tool in my arsenal! But, annoyingly, most don't seem to have the battery life to last for a full day of exploring. So I never go anywhere without a power bank!

    The best power bank I've found so far is the Powercore Slim from Anker. They have a great range, and the prices are really reasonable. My Anker portable power bank is very small - so it doesn't take up too much space in my bag - and it fully charges my phone at least twice before it runs out of juice. It's especially handy on long bus and train journeys when I don't have access to a plug socket.
  • RAC
    100 Lumen LED Aluminium Torch

    Emily Luxton

    Although your phone probably has a torch function, sometimes it's just not good enough. Having your phone out after dark could also make you a potential target for thieves. A small, pocket sized torch is an invaluable tool on your travels.

    Some destinations, like islands in South East Asia, might not have much lighting at night, so a torch is useful to see where you're going. It can also come in handy if you're camping or hiking. But a torch is equally handy for finding stuff in your backpack late at night in a hostel, so you don't have to be the idiot that turns the dorm light on and annoys every other guest!
  • Minder
    Personal Safety Alarm

    Emily Luxton

    There's a lot to be said for peace of mind when you travel solo, especially as a woman. So even though I've never needed or used one, I still think it's a good idea to travel with a personal safety alarm. Some travellers swear by mace or pepper spray, but this is illegal in many countries and might get you into a bit of trouble at airports. It's also not always safe to use unless you know what you're doing.

    A personal alarm is small, discrete, and totally harmless. If you have an emergency, you can press the alarm and it makes a very loud noise. This should attract attention from anyone nearby who can help you - but it may also act as a deterrent for a potential attacker.
  • eBags
    Packing Cubes

    Emily Luxton

    My eBags packing cubes are my number one travel must-have for organising your luggage! When you travel solo, being organised is key - it helps you pack and unpack faster, find any essentials you might need, and stay on top of your belongings so you don't misplace anything. 

    Packing cubes are brilliant for this. You can use them to divide up the inside of your backpack, with clothes in one, toiletries in another, and so on. It's like having a set of drawers inside your luggage! Neatly folding all your clothes inside a packing cube also makes everything take up less space, so you can fit more into your backpack or suitcase.

    There are lots of brands out there selling similar products but not all of them are great quality. The eBags packing cubes are strong, durable, lightweight, and just brilliant! I've been using a set for at least the last seven years, taking dozens of trips a year with them (even travelling full time for two of those years) - and I've still not needed to replace them. You can get a set of mixed sizes, or three of the same size. Personally, I find that three medium sized packing cubes are ideal for my clothes, undies, and everything else.

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