By Pierra Calasanz-Labrador –
Have wanderlust; will travel.
Starting to get burnt out from your humdrum routine or claustrophobic office cubicle? A change of scenery and pace can do wonders for the spirit! Girls gotta have fun too, whether you want to travel solo or have a girly weekend or travel with the boyfriend. Here’s a helpful women’s guide on planning that much-needed break.
Travel Kit for Women Travellers
Where to Go
Choices, choices. With an entire bucket list of places to visit, how do you decide on where to go? Well the first thing is figuring out what you’re most in the mood for. Then think about when you plan to travel, who you want to travel with (and their availability), and your own travel personality. Here are a few ideas for plotting a getaway with your favourite girls, or soul-searching respite, or even an adventure alone.
Outdoor yoga with Como Shambala, Bali
Mermaid girls are happiest by the ocean
That can mean anything from a quick getaway to Bali, which balances shopping with the sand and sea, or Krabi for yoga and lazy days in the sun. Or if you like to party in paradise, the best sun, sand and buzzing nightlife combination can be found in Boracay, Phuket or Bondi Beach.
Culture vultures thirst for destinations steeped in history
Hip wanderers are all about the quirky-cool and affordable
Be sure to check out the trendy K-pop culture and cosmetics stores in Seoul, or visit the cafes and picturesque parks all on bicycle at the universal hometown of hipsters in Portland, Oregon. There are plenty of up-and-coming cities in Asia too (like these) that are worth checking out so you can say you did before everyone else!
City Queens who thrive on shopping, dining and buzzing city life
What to Pack
There’s a stigma that women suffer from excess baggage – and, consequently, backaches – when they return from holiday. But not when you’re armed with smart packing tips.
The best-laid (travel) plans can be ruined by packing the wrong wardrobe – imagine being turned away at a must-see temple for your inappropriate attire, or freezing your butt off because you forgot to check the weather? Research and pack appropriately for the season, destination or travel occasion.
To get maximum wardrobe mileage, opt for neutral colours that are easy to mix and match, and pack a sarong that can serve as a wrap on the plane, a cover-up for those temple visits or dressing up an otherwise plain outfit. Check out more packing tips for women here.
Frequent travellers always have a well-stocked vanity kit on hand to grab and go when adventure calls. Flight 001 has great travel organisers – stock it with your favourite toiletries in neatly labelled miniature containers (available at department stores or ever-reliable Muji) or beauty samples from your favourite brands.
For long-haul flights and road trips, pack a separate vanity kit for grooming on the go – mouthwash, comb/brush, blotting paper/face powder, lip balm, moisturiser (love L’Occitane’s travel-sized hand creams!) and face mist (try The Face Shop’s refreshing Green Tea Water).
Scale down your gadgets to the latest smartphone and your charger, but don’t weigh yourself down with any more than that. Don’t forget a country-specific adaptor – you can get these at Flight 001. Oh, and pack that selfie stick if you must.
Keep your belongings safe in anti-theft travel gear, such as Pacsafe or Travelon. As for your purse, skip the cute bucket bags and backpacks and opt for cross-body bags with non-slashable straps, and be sure to hold it close in packed areas such as trains, bazaars and music festivals.
What You’ll Need
As fun as it is to wing it when you travel, you’ll need to equip yourself with certain things to ensure a fun, safe and worry-free vacation.
Information is key
Do a bit of research on your destination. Aside from the appropriate clothing, read up on cultural dos and don’ts so you respect the local customs. For example, if you’re travelling with your boyfriend to a country governed by strict Muslim rules, be wary of showing public displays of affection.
Travel visas and insurance
Make sure you’ve secured the visas that you need (if any) for the places you are visiting. Invest in a travel protection plan, especially if you’re a woman travelling solo. Remember to save the emergency number on your phone and written on a paper that you keep with you at all times.
Helpful sites and apps
Thanks to the travel industry going digital, we can now book flights, accommodation, tours and various adventures online – check out Tripnary to efficiently organise your bucket list, and Expedia’s bundle deals for great vacation packages. You can check guest ratings, and book your flights and hotels together to get some serious discounts on your trip. Expedia+ members also accumulate points that turn into savings.
And with (mostly) unbiased reviews from travel communities, we no longer book blindly – Wanderful is a particularly helpful virtual sisterhood of travellers. Then there are the apps that are handy to have when we’re actually on the trip, such as Jibbigo Translator, which includes support for offline translation, and Safety Map Worldwide, which alerts you when you’re venturing into sketchy areas.
Personal Safety Habits
Think about some personal practices to stay safe. It could be making sure someone knows where you are each day, or using a travel app, or subscribing to travel alerts. You should also read-up about dangers in cities you are visiting so you know what crimes are common. Some cities are known for snatch-thefts and pickpockets for example, so take the right precautions. It might also be a good idea to carry a small torch, swiss army knife, whistle or pepper spray for certain regions.
Motivation to Travel Solo
Yes you need to take some precautions, but travelling solo as a woman is still a great experience. If you’re considering your own Eat, Pray, Love experience, we say go for it! Do a little research on yoga classes, wellness workshops, or even some muay thai and martial arts if you want to box your way to health. Read up, try something new. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Just take time to pamper yourself and be adventurous while you’re out there.