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Shop my suitcase on this guide full of my favorite travel gear! Find tons of suggestions for luggage, health & beauty, digital nomad life, solo photography and more linked below. Although some of these products are affiliate links, I only recommend brands I absolutely love and trust.

Happy shopping! xx Madison

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Solo Female Travel Safety Essentials

Anker Portable Charger

My #1 safety tip for solo female travelers is to always have a charged phone and reliable internet. Your phone is of no use to you if it’s dead! I used to travel with 2 x fully charged portables just in case I needed them. Nowadays, most emergencies can be solved with a smart phone.

A Reliable Esim

Nothing is more important to your safety than a reliable data connection wherever you go. Airlo’s eSIMs make it easy to get an instant and reliable internet connection anywhere in the world. Simply download the app, active your eSIM and you’re good to go.

Door Stopper Alarm

I wouldn’t personally bother with this unless I was staying somewhere very sketchy, but a door stop alarm can make you feel a lot safer when staying in hotels or Airbnbs alone. You simply wedge it under the door and, if anyone tries to open it, a loud alarm will sound. 

Passport Scarf

Amazon and other retailers sell circle scarves with a hidden pocket for your passport, cash or other valuable items. Nowadays, a money belt might be kind of obvious, but no one would expect you to have valuables stashed in your scarf!

A Personal Alarm

Clip this little alarm to your bag or backpack, press the button if you feel unsafe and it’ll let out an ear-piercing wail to draw attention of people nearby and hopefully scare off any would-be attackers or pickpockets.

SafetyWing Travel insurance

SafetyWing is perfect for both short-term travelers and digital nomads since you can tailor it exactly to your dates and needs. You can use it as a monthly subscription (what I usually do), or pay in full for a set date range. Get a quote for your next trip.

Anti-Theft Travel Purse

Travelon offers a great selection of anti-theft crossbody bags that are the perfect accessory for solo travelers abroad! Consider this messenger bag with a water bottle side pouch, this anti-theft slim backpack, or this classic mini shoulder bag.

A Fake Wedding Ring

Men can be awfully forward, especially if they know you’re traveling alone. Although a fake wedding ring definitely won’t keep everyone away, it’ll at least defer some of the inevitable male attention. (Don’t wear this in places where flashy jewelry is discouraged).

A Backpack Lock

In many countries (especially in Europe), pickpocketing is a very common practice. If you’re wandering around with a backpack, I highly suggest you utilize a backpack lock to keep your cash, documents and electronics safe from thieves.

Apple Airtag

Adding AirTags to your luggage before a trip is a smart move since it provides an extra layer of security for your belongings. If the airlines lose your luggage, you’ll be the first one to know where it is with this little tracking device.

Hidden Camera Detector

We’ve all heard the horror stories of solo female travelers finding hidden cameras in their Airbnbs and hotels. Not to freak you out (I’m sure this is a rare occurrence), but if you frequently stay in Airbnbs or hotels alone, a lightweight hidden camera detector might give you peace of mind.

Phone Case with Strap

I bought this iPhone case in February before my latest trip to Roatan and I’m truly obsessed. My intention was to use it to take photos on a boat (without worrying my phone would fall overboard), but during my trip to Colombia I found it has great anti-theft properties a well! Plus the yellow is super cute.

Hostel Survival Kit

Microfiber Towel

Most hostels don’t provide towels free-of-charge for guests staying in dorm rooms. Usually they’ll offer towels for rent, but you’re better off saving yourself some $$ and investing in a easily-packable microfiber towel set.

Combination Lock

I never book a hostel without in-room lockers to lock up your valuables. Locks are another essential not often provided by hostels. You can usually rent or buy a combination lock at the front desk, but it’s smarter to just travel with your own.

Flip Flops

Trust me, you never want to go barefoot in a hostel shower. That’s just begging for athlete’s foot or worst! Do yourself a favor and pack a light pair of flip flops, which will also come in handy on the beach.

Ear Plugs

If you’re a light sleeper, ear plugs are going to be your saving grace in a hostel dorm room. Although I’ve found most hostel travelers to be respectful, there are always those who come back very late and make tons of noise while the rest of the room is sleeping. Better to be prepared than exhausted the next day!

Eye Mask

Another essential item that might earn you some extra sleep in a hostel dorm is a handy eye mask. Amazon sells 4-packs for less than $10.

Eco-Friendly Travel Essentials

Collapsable Water Bottle

Whether you’re traveling or at home, plastic water bottles are a big no no. Packing a reusable bottle is an eco-friendly choice that will save you $ in the long run. I love these collapsable bottles on Amazon since they take up very little suitcase space when they’re empty.

Insulated Water Bottle

Although the collapsable bottle is the better choice space-wise, it’s lacking in insulation. If you’re looking to keep your drink cold all day long, a Hydroflask bottle is the way to go.

Reusable Tumbler

I never travel without my reliable YETI tumbler, especially in the tropics. In Roatan, everyone brought their tumblers to the bar and had the bartenders fill their cups directly! The alternative was drinking boiling hot cocktails and beer all the time.

Reusable Straws

Plastic straws are not recyclable and usually end up in landfills, as litter or the bellies of marine life. Make the eco-friendly choice with a reusable and easily-packable metal straw.

Reusable Grocery Bags

Wherever you are, just say NO to plastic bags! These reusable bags in their tiny pouches take up very little suitcase space and allow you to lessen your carbon footprint while traveling. As a bonus, they can be used for much more than groceries on the road.

Champagne Stoppers

If you’re like me and stock up on bubbly as soon as you land in a new destination, then these stainless steel champagne stoppers are a must to keep your champagne bubbly and delicious for at least a week after it’s opened.

Packing Essentials

26L Laptop Backpack Duffel

I just invested in this Calpak Backpack Duffel and I am OBSESSED. The colors are super cute and it’s an incredibly practical backpack for a digital nomad. As a bonus, there’s a matching toiletry bag, sling bag and carry-on suitcase.

Hanging Toiletry Bag

I’m loving this matching toiletry bag from Calpak! There are tons of convenient pouches and pockets to hold all your toiletries and there’s a retractable loop on top to hang it up in the bathroom (perfect for hostel restrooms).

Sling Bag

I’m not normally one for fanny packs, but I’m head over heels for this sling bag from Calpak Travel. It’s the perfect size to hold my camera and can be slung around your shoulders for a more casual look.

45L Carry-On Luggage

I’m a sucker for a matching set, so the next item on my wishlist is the carry-on bag from Calpak’s Terra Collection. It’s the perfect size and the stretchy exterior allows you to overpack just a smidge.

Large Clear Cosmetics Case

My only complaint with the Calpak toiletry bag listed above is that is doesn’t zip around the edges, which makes altitude spills a little more likely. Their clear cosmetics case solves that problem entirely and nothing will ever get lost!

Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag

My LL Bean toiletry bag served me faithfully for seven years of traveling around the globe. Recently, I had to retire it in favor of a newer mode, but this bag is fantastic for fitting tons of toiletries and keeping all possible spills locked safely inside.

Stowaway Pack

This LL Bean stowaway pack is one of my favorite essential travel items – regardless of the destination. It folds up into an easily-packed pouch and is the perfect lightweight backpack for any hike, day trip or outdoor excursion.

Water Bottle Holder

This water bottle holder is the perfect accessory to stay hydrated and look fashionable while doing it! It has a convenient crossbody strap and pouches for your wallet and other knick knacks.

Tech Organizer

Digital nomad or not, you’re guaranteed to have some tech to organize on your next trip. Whether it’s 20 SD cards for your travel photoshoots or simply an iPhone charger and an adapter, it’s nice to keep your tech organized in one place. For the nomad on a budget, check out this more affordable alternative on Amazon.

Packing Cubes 8-Piece Set

If you have trouble cramming way too many outfits into a teeny tiny carry-on, packing cubes might be the solution for you. They’re also great for keeping your clothing organized in your suitcase. Amazon sells tons of budget-friendly options as well.

Leather Passport Case

I cannot recommend a passport case highly enough! When you have a fistful of travel documents, a passport and credit cards to keep organized, you’ll want a high-quality passport case to keep it all together.

Lululemon Belt Bag

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that everyone and their mother has this Lulu belt bag. That’s because it’s cute af and functional as hell. It’s also made by Lululemon – so you know it’ll last a lifetime.

Carl Friedrik Carry-On Bag

I recently got the chance to try out this luxury carry-on made by the London-based leather goods brand—Carl Friedrik. Although it was a little small for my overpacking tendencies, it turned out to be the perfect gear bag. Read my full review here!

Style & Beauty Travel Essentials

Thermal Protection Spray

Traveling isn’t an excuse to neglect your hair’s health! This travel-size thermal protection spray by Chi is the perfect lightweight product to protect your hair from heat from hair dryers, straighteners and curling irons.

Dual-Voltage Straightener

Blowing a fuse or frying your straightener is sure to be a huge bummer on any trip. With the wrong voltage, hair tools can become wayyyy too hot and unsafe to use. Cover your bases with dual-voltage hair tools like this reliable Chi straightener.

OUAI Hair Oil

This OUAI oil is my favorite hair oil on the market! The full size product is already travel size, so it’s easily packed in a carry on bag. The oil is lightweight, smells amazing and is guaranteed to give your hair some desperately-needed moisture while traveling in tropical destinations.

Dual-Voltage Hair Dryer

For only $14, there’s no excuse not to pack this dual-voltage hair dryer on your next trip! The cord is easily retractable and the body folds up for no-fuss packing. I’ve traveled with this dryer to 30+ countries and never had an issue with voltage. My last Conair dryer lasted 5 years!

Makeup Setting Spray

Foundation doesn’t stay on your face well while you’re scootering and hiking around in tropical destinations. Charlotte Tilbury’s travel size makeup setting spray will help you keep your makeup in place – even while you’re sweating up a storm.

Claw Clips

Traditional hair ties made with synthetic rubber or polyester are terrible for your hair’s health. I always travel with a variety of claw clips to keep my hair up and out of the way – especially in tropical climates. Clip one to your purse or backpack and be prepared for any hair emergency!

Heat Resistant Silicone Pouch for Hair Tools

Anyone else find themselves constantly holding a hot iron while dragging suitcases and hopping in the cab to the airport? A heat-resistant pouch for your straightener is a handy-tool for those hair-obsessed travelers!

WOW Anti-Frizz Dream Coat

No one’s hair is frizz-resistant in the tropics. WOW is consistently recommended as the best product on the market for frizz control. I have the version specific to straight hair, but that one requires heat to activate. With the dream coat, you can let you hair air dry frizz-free.

Leak Proof Silicone Travel Bottles

I finally invested in some good, reusable silicone travel bottles and this colorful set from Amazon was a godsend. They are 100% leak-proof and easy to empty back into their original containers when you get home. Not to mention they’re a steal at 4 for $6.

Microfiber Hair Wrap

Not only are traditional towels terrible for your hair (no one needs that extra breakage) but two towels take up a lot of suitcase space. Save your locks and your luggage space with this easily packable microfiber hair wrap.

Health Essentials

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

A lot of chemicals found in traditional sunscreens – like Oxybenzone and Octinoxate – can cause permanent DNA damage to coral and other organisms on the reef. Sun Bum’s sunscreen is both reef-safe and vegan, making it an eco-friendly option for your next beach vacay.

Bug Bite Thing

This handy little bug bite tool sucks out venom, saliva and other irritants under the skin caused by bug bites. It’s also lightweight and compact, so it’s easy to shove in a suitcase. Especially if you’re going to the tropics, it’s always good to be extra prepared.

Peppermint Oil

I never go anywhere without a tiny bottle of peppermint oil in my purse. A little bit rubbed on your forehead works wonders for headaches. It also smells great!

Travel First Aid Kit

As someone who’s had more than her fair share of injuries abroad, a travel first aid kit should always make the list of packing essentials. Just having simple first aid gear like disinfectant, band aids and gauze can save your behind on the road.

Jase Case

If you’re an adventurous traveler who loves outdoor activities, visiting countries with questionable medical care, are prone to infections or all of the above—Jase Case is the perfect solution for you. A quick doctor’s consultation will provide you with all the life-saving medication you may need in an easy-to-pack case + ongoing care.

Daily Pill Organizer

Wherever you’re traveling, chances are you’ll have some medication packed in your suitcase (especially if you’re visiting somewhere that requires malaria pills). This handy pill organizer keeps all your medication separated and organized for when you need it.

Booty Band Set

It’s hard to find time to work out while traveling, especially if your accommodation doesn’t have a gym. These easily-packed booty bands are a favorite of mine to get in some quick exercise on the road.

Digital Nomad Gear

Ergonomic Vertical Mouse

This ergonomic vertical mouse by Anker encourages a “handshake” hand and wrist position that reduces overall strain. When you’re on the computer all day everyday, it’s something to think about. I also find that the movement and use is smoother than other, traditional wireless mouses.

Voltage Converter

Remember this piece of advice: not all voltage adapters are created equal. During my study abroad semester, I successfully fried my iPhone 6 in only a couple months with what I thought was a good quality adapter from Best Buy. I now use this top-rated Voltage Converter from Amazon.

External Hard Drive

When you take as many RAW photos as I do, you’re guaranteed to travel with at least one external hard drive. I love these Seagate portable hard drives for both travel photos and any other digital work that needs to be kept safe while not taking up space on your laptop.

Multiport USB Hub

Anyone with a new MacBook knows the struggle of the switch from USB ports to USB C ports. If you’re plugging lots of hard drives, SD card readers, etc. into your laptop – a multiport USB hub might be the life saver you’ve been looking for.

European Plug Adapter Extension Cord

It’s always a struggle when you need to charge your phone, camera, laptop and iPad with your one lone travel adapter. You’ll never have this problem again with this European plug adapter extension cord on Amazon!

Solo Travel Photography Essentials

USB-C to SD Card Reader

When you take photos of friends on trips with your professional camera, a USB-C to SD card reader is an absolute must-have! Simply plug the SD card into one side and plug the other side into your friend’s iPhone to transfer photos. If you have the iPhone 14 or earlier, grab the lightning to SD card reader.

Memory Card Case

Another must-have for travel photographers, this Pelican memory card case fits all your SD and micro-SD cards comfortably and securely. It also has a water-resistant seal to keep your photos extra safe inside.

JOBY Compact Action Tripod

Although my favorite travel tripod is no longer on the market, the JOBY compact action tripod is the same design from a different manufacturer. This lightweight and compact tripod is about as travel-friendly as they come and is a must for solo travelers who want to get great travel photos.

GoPro Hero11 Black

GoPros are the perfect action cameras for solo traveler adrenaline-junkies trying to capture amazing content on the road. With each new version the quality gets better and better…this GoPro11 HERO kicks my GoPro5’s ass.

Iphone Tripod

If you’re not ready to invest in a professional camera, don’t worry! You can take awesome travel photos with your iPhone and a trusty iPod tripod. At only $20 on Amazon, this version is a steal and is super easy to pack in a carry-on.

SanDisk 32 GB SD Card

If you hope to capture tons of amazing content on the road, the first step is stocking up on SD cards. Trust me – the last thing you want is to have to spend hours clearing space on your cards during your trip. I always travel with 5 SanDisk SD cards like the one above.

DJI Mini 3 Pro

I recently bit the bullet and invested in a DJI Mini 3 Pro with DJI RC to level-up my solo travel photography for my upcoming Europe trip. I am OBSESSED! In my opinion, this drone is the best budget-friendly photo/videography gear for travelers.

Sandisk 128 gb Micro SD

Don’t bother with 32 – 64 GB SD cards for this drone. Do yourself a favor and grab yourself a couple of 128 GB Micro SD cards – then get ready to fly!

Where to Book Flights/Transportation

Skyscanner: My favorite tool to find great deals on flights all over the world. I love their “everywhere” feature. It’s perfect for when you want to plan a trip, but aren’t super picky about the destination. Keep in mind that certain airlines, like Southwest, don’t show up on Skyscanner.

Expedia: Expedia is another great tool for finding great flight deals (as well as deals on hotels, rental cars and excursions.) I especially love using Expedia when I need a multi-city itinerary – when you want to arrive and depart in two different places.

12Go Asia: During my 8 months living and traveling through Southeast Asia, 12Go was my saving grace. It’s an all-inclusive search engine for trains, buses, ferries, etc. all over the continent.

Next Vacay: I recently joined Next Vacay and I’m loving it! For only $25/year, they’ll send you multiple daily emails with incredible flight deals. Just sign up, choose 5 nearby airports and let the flight deals flow.

Where to Book Hotels/Accommodation This is my favorite site to search for hotel deals and finalize travel bookings.

VRBO: VRBO is very similar to Airbnb, but they only offer entire homes, so you generally won’t find any single rooms or bed & breakfasts here. It’s recommended to check both Airbnb and VRBO for the best deals and options when searching for accommodation in a new city.

Expedia: As well as flight deals, Expedia also offers great deals on hotels!

Hostelworld: Hostelworld is the best hostel search engine out there. Filter your search by important factors like security lockers, 24/7 front desk, wifi, air conditioning and proximity to city center. (I always filter for a bar 😜.)

Airbnb: Airbnb is an easy and oftentimes more affordable way of finding great accommodation in a new city. Please use Airbnb consciously and, in cities where the platform is displacing locals, opt to stay in a local hotel instead.

Where to Book Tours

Viator: Viator is my #1 choice when it comes to booking tours. I’ve found so many hidden gems on Viator that quickly turned into some of my favorite travel days. Just be sure to read the reviews before booking.

TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor tours are becoming more and more popular, and I can see why! This platform offers tons of unique and exciting tour options in cities all over the world.

Discover Roatan: Sadly, other platforms have a shortage of Roatan tours available (probably because the island is still relatively undiscovered in comparison to the rest of the Caribbean.) Discover Roatan offers tons of exciting excursions specific to Roatan, Honduras.

Airbnb: Although I’ve never booked through Airbnb Experiences, I’ve heard positive reviews from friends who have booked through them. I personally prefer Viator, but it’s a great alternative if you’re looking for more variety.

My Favorite Courses for Travel Bloggers

SYTB (Scale Your Travel Blog): This course by long-time travel bloggers Mike & Laura Travel is the single most valuable blogging resource on this list. Yes—it’s an investment. When I finally bit the bullet, bought the course, and joined the community, was when I finally started to see success in my blogging journey. I can’t recommend this course enough.

6 Months to 50K Sessions: As a blogger, if your ultimate goal is to get accepted into Mediavine, then Nina Clapperton’s 6 Months to 50K is the course for you. Let’s just say…Nina knows her shit. In addition to her thriving community of travelers, bloggers, and SEO specialists, she spends all her free time looking into the latest and greatest SEO strategies to grow your traffic to 50K/month and beyond. At only $297, this also happens to be one of the most affordable SEO courses on the market. If you do want to get more involved with her comprehensive guide, check out her SEO Roadmap course.

Travel Blog Prosperity: This nurturing community of bloggers and travelers is the perfect resource for both new bloggers (who don’t know where to start) and experienced bloggers who aren’t getting great results. It’s a monthly Teachable subscription is created by travel blogger Jessie on a Journey that’s filled with 59+ premium blogging courses, 21+ workshops, 2 monthly live Q/A calls, a free 15-minute onboarding call with Jessie and a welcoming community designed to make your travel blog succeed.

Although “technically” the doors are closed, I’ve got a special code to get you backdoor access! Click here to sign up for Travel Blog Prosperity or watch Jessie’s FREE webinar How To Turn Your Travel Blog Into A Profitable Business: A 4-Part Profit Plan. Use code MADISON9 to get your first month for only $9!

The Blogger Bootcamp: By social media influencer and blogger Christina Galbato, this course was the first course I ever took on my blogging journey. In addition to teaching me valuable lessons about SEO, Pinterest, and affiliate strategies, this course comes with an inspiring and supportive community of female entrepreneurs. I highly recommend Christina’s courses to anyone looking to make $$ on their website or social media accounts. (Christina’s other course, The Influencer Bootcamp, was how I learned the ins and outs of social media and how I was able to begin my career as a Virtual Assistant.)