18 must-have items if you’re traveling alone

young woman traveling with a wheeled suitcase

When traveling solo, you might be tempted to travel light. Whether you plan on hiking through mountain towns or enjoying the nightlife each city has to offer, you’ll want to keep your load light to be able to easily move around on your own.

There should be some must-have items you pack even while traveling alone. Even if you plan on packing efficiently, these are essential items you should bring.

1. Easy-to-pack waterproof jacket

Whether you’re traveling to the Pacific Northwest or Thailand, you never know when a sudden downpour of rain might break out. It’s essential to pack a thin-shell waterproof jacket for such an occasion. And make sure it’s waterproof – water-resistant and waterproof jackets are not the same.

2. Multipurpose shoes

Even if you’re traveling to enjoy the nightlife across various European cities, you should pack more than a pair of dress shoes or heels. Consider having your primary shoes be a pair of multipurpose athletic shoes. The arches of your feet will thank you.

3. Non-lethal weapons for self-defense

Wherever you’re traveling, it’s a smart idea to have a personal safety device on you to remain protected. Non-lethal weapons such as a canister of pepper spray or a keychain weapon can be enough to provide you with essential defense when needed.

4. Personal safety smartphone app

Although alone, you’ll always want a lifeline to the rest of the world. Personal safety smartphone apps allow you to effectively get in touch with family, friends, and local law enforcement if you’re ever in need of defensive support. With GPS and SOS functions, you can access protective services as needed.

5. Keychain alarm

Alongside a smartphone app, you can attach a keychain alarm to keep yourself safe. Available for emergency situations, all you have to do – with most devices – is remove a small pin to activate the device, which will send out an SOS signal to nearby protective services.

6. Water bottle

Portable, durable, and leak-proof: These are the characteristics you should look for in a traveling water bottle. Humans can only go so long without water, so it’s imperative that you have water available. Whether in the city or the mountains, you never know when potable water might not be available.

7. On-the-go water purifier

Run into a situation where your water bottle is empty and you desperately need water? Portable water purifiers make it easy to get safe and consumable water in an instant. Packed in a small device, you can end up with purified water taken from any fresh source in no time.

8. Powerful flashlight

Even if you’re not planning on heading out in the woods, a flashlight should be packed in your bag. Whether you’ll be out walking in the evening or want to be able to see around your hostel early in the morning, a flashlight is a must. To improve your self-defense tactics, you should look into purchasing a flashlight stun gun – allowing you to defend yourself with a seemingly innocuous object.

9. Headlamp

Sometimes you want a lighting source that’s hands-free. Headlamps provide you with just that. Perfect for early-morning walks or late-night strolls, a headlamp can let you light the way while keeping your hands free to access your phone, check directions, or protect yourself if needed.

10. Traveling power bank

The last thing you want to have happen when you’re traveling alone is to have one of your electronics die without a charging port in sight. To stay safe, you should pack a portable power bank – a battery-powered pack that can be charged, making it into an immediate power source as needed.

11. Large, dependable padded backpack (22+ L)

A dependable and comfortable backpack is a must when traveling. To carry all of your items, settle on a traveling and hiking backpack above 22 liters of space. If your bag is already full prior to leaving, consider sizing up, just in case you purchase anything while traveling.

12. Protective folder for necessary documents

Whether you’re traveling for business or going abroad, you’re going to need specific documents to travel safely. To ensure they’re kept safe, you should keep a secured folder in your bag, where items from your passport to business documents to boarding passes can be stored.

13. Well-worn clothes

Unless you’re trying to look stylish at all times, consider bringing some well-worn clothes along with you. Easily packed and worn without worry over whether they’ll get dirty, these clothes allow you to stay comfortable and properly dressed wherever you’re traveling.

14. Plastic bags

Need to carry various electronics cables, cough drops, and writing materials? Plastic bags – sometimes colloquially called Ziploc bags – make it easy to store whatever loose items you have moving around inside of your backpack.

15. RFID wallet

While smart-chip credit and debit cards have made conducting transactions easier, long-range technology can be utilized to hack cards and steal your information. RFID wallets work to block wireless signals from ever reaching your cards, helping to protect your identity and accounts wherever you are.

16. First aid kit

You never know when a simple injury will occur, and even the most basic cut can lead to a possible infection. A proper first aid kit can provide you with the tools to disinfect, close, and protect any wounds to protect yourself at every turn.

17. Snacks

No matter where you’re traveling to, it’s a smart idea to have extra food stashed away in your backpack. Consider simple dried foods like granola bars or meal replacement bars to round out necessary carbs, protein, and fat.

18. Hard-shell carry-on suitcase

If your backpack isn’t enough, you’ll have to consider bringing a carry-on suitcase along. Go for one that is economical: a carry on that has rolling features, that has locking protection, and which is strong enough to stand up to drops, hits, and general compacting.

Preparing for solo travel requires you to do your research. Beyond knowing your destination like the back of your hand, you should prepare by having all necessary items in your possession. Together, they’ll make sure your trip is comfortable, safe, and enjoyable.

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