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6 packing essentials for a stylish female traveler | Don't Ever Look Back

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6 packing essentials for a stylish female traveler

6 packing essentials for a stylish female traveler

For those of you who know me well, you’d know that I’m not your typical backpacker. In fact, I’m probably the complete opposite to the stereotype that most people associate with long-term travelers.

I’ve worked in the beauty industry for 8 years and have a strong passion for taking care of my skin and body as well as looking good. In order to achieve this, there are quite a few things in my luggage that you might think are crazy. But for me, these 6 things are essentials for an extended time on the road.

1. My GHD Hair Straightener

GHD Hair Straightener

At home, I use my GHD Hair Straightener day in, day out without fail. It’s probably a luxury for any traveler as I won’t be using it nearly as much when we’re on our trip but I’m planning on using it enough to justify it making my final packing list.

Personally I hate my hair when it’s not straightened and if I want to change it up a bit I can also use the GHD to create curls.

2. Travel Size Hair Dryer


Even after reading this great post over at Suzy Guese, I wasn’t completely sure that bringing this was a great idea. But after using it tonight it definitely was a smart move. Not all hotels/hostels come with hair dryers and the ones that do are generally useless – I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this.

These are only half the size of a regular hair dryer yet still pack enough power to do what it needs to do. Try to get one that’s at least 1800W if you’re looking at buying one for yourself.

3. One Pair of Heels

High Heel

This is going to cause some controversy, as a lot of people will completely disagree with packing heels. But to be honest, it was something that I didn’t even need to think twice about! Come on, we all want to feel sexy and dress up occasionally even while on the road.

4. Make-Up

MAC Foundation

This is a personal choice of course but I did bring my make-up purse with everything that I would use at home. This includes foundation, concealer, powder, eyeliner, mascara and blush. I’m even planning on topping up on M-A-C Cosmetics in the USA since everything over there is much cheaper.

5. Good Skincare


Over the past 2 years I’ve been working for the prestigious French cosmetics company Clarins. And yes, I did bring my Clarins skincare products with me – despite the high cost and the fact we’re on a pretty strict budget, for me it’s a must!

You only get one chance to look after your skin and you will be thankful one day! So cleanse, tone and moisturize always!

6. A Razor


I’ve heard stories of people who refuse to shave while their traveling but please do! Nobody wants to see that long underarm hair blowing in the breeze. Besides, not only will you look good but you’ll also feel a lot cleaner and fresh as well.

These are just some of my traveling essentials to keep me looking stylish while traveling and there are many more in my pack. Look out for my full packing list in the next few days.

Do you take any of these with you while you’re traveling? What are your essentials for looking stylish on the road?


  1. Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with you on all of these things. I will definitely be packing my GHDs, hair dryer and make-up with me when I head to South America. I might even squeeze in a pair of heels. Yes, it will add extra weight to my backpack but that is better than refusing any photographic evidence of me on my journey!

    And as for people who don’t shave (or have to wait out hair growth between waxes) Yuck!!

    • Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:41 am | Permalink

      It’s great to see I’m not the only one! Definitely gotta look good for those photos!

  2. Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    You’re my kind of traveler. We’ve got to look good while traveling. It’s easier to meet people I think if you look good and feel good about yourself. Thanks for this post!

    • Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:42 am | Permalink

      Totally agree – always better to feel good about yourself! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    I love love LOVE that you packed HEELS. Ahhh women in HEELS are so hot (& yes I am gay…but still think so)!!!

    • Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:43 am | Permalink

      Hahaha! Always yes to heels – love that you commented on this post!

  4. Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    I don’t have a hair dryer and straightener, but I do have two pairs of heels in my bag! 🙂
    And I brought make-up kit, skin care products and razor, too!

    • Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t find a hairdryer anywhere in the Philippines last time I was there – Kieron’s family told me that they use the sun haha. Wish I could bring two pairs of heels with me but don’t have enough room for that. Boo!

  5. Robyn
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    For myself, a straightener (my hair is super frizzy), a travel sized hair dryer and a razor are ESSENTIAL! I can survive without heals, but might bring some cute sandals that are flats.

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      It’s always a good idea to have one nice pair of shoes with you, whether they’re heels or flats is up to you!

  6. Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    I am so glad that I’m not the only one packing heels on their trip! I figured I’d get a lot of crap for that as well. I’m justifying the heels by taking a minimum amount of makeup and leaving the straightener and hair dyer behind.

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      It’s difficult to get the balance right of things you wanna bring but pack whatever you feel is necessary! Who cares what other people think.

  7. Posted July 26, 2011 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    My wife’s makeup bag is the size of the clothes that I pack, not that there is anything wrong with that, as a husband, I understand, and I also concede that is not excessive either. Most all women WANT to look good if the opportunity presents itself and you know, if all it takes is good hair and a pair of heels, then by all means, make it work in that bag of yours.

    Besides, end of the day, it is all about what makes YOU happy. Some people are okay being the stereotypical nasty-i-havent-showered-in-43-days-but-I-saved-$5 type of backpacker.

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Hell yeah! It’s good to see you’re an understanding husband when it comes to what your wife packs.

  8. Posted July 26, 2011 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more! I thought that as soon as I went backpacking I wouldn’t care what I looked like so I didn’t pack GHDs or heels and packed a minimal amount of makeup. I lasted for about 2 weeks and had to go shopping and buy everything new! I wish someone told me just to pack it!

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      That would have been me too! I would much rather prefer to bring it with me and if it’s not getting used then get rid of it than not to have it at all.

  9. Posted July 26, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Love that you don’t sacrifice feeling pretty to travel! Have you heard of Sseko sandals? They’re great for traveling and support a good cause. They have interchangeable straps so you don’t have to sacrifice space to have multiple pairs of shoes at your fingertips!

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Just checked them out, they look like a really great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Posted July 26, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    GIRL!!!! Yes, yes and more YES! I was fist pumping the entire time I was reading this. My appearance is something I take a lot of pride in, and something I’m not willing to let go just because I’m traveling. I’m planning on taking heels, makeup, ALL of my ridiculous hair products, and makeup. Thankfully, I never straighten my hair, so no flat iron or blowdryer for me. Which means I can bring more shoes!!! 😉

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Hahahaha! Completely agree! You’re lucky you have naturally lovely hair and get the extra space for shoes! I took along an old pair of heels so that I can upgrade when I see a pair that I really love! 🙂

  11. Posted July 26, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I think its important to evaluate what you use on a regular basis. I hardly ever use a hair dryer, or hair straightener so packing one on a trip just doesn’t make sense for me. The one thing I definitely have to take when I travel is a razor, I can skip the makeup, but I just can skip the razor.

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Definitely gotta bring the razor! If you don’t feel like you would use the other things on this list then they shouldn’t be in your pack. Agree with evaluating what’s in your pack regularly, if I’m not using any of these things in a few weeks then I’ll get rid of them for sure.

  12. Posted July 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I agree with most of these points. I wasn’t able to pack my heels, but I brought a manicure kit and makeup, and some dressy (but flexible) wear in case I decide that I want to go out dancing one night while I’m away. I typically wear my hair up, though, so the blowdryer isn’t necessary, and my super-straight hair makes a straightener kind of irrelevant.

    You need to be able to make yourself feel pretty, even while traveling. If you don’t, not only will you feel less good about yourself, but in many instances, you will lament not bringing those necessary “get pretty” items, even if it was for one event.

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Agree totally with your comment! You’re so lucky to have naturally straight hair, wish mine was like that! I know I’m not going to use some of these things everyday but they’re definitely worth bringing to me.

  13. Chelsea
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Love your style tips! My GHD goes everywhere with me. So does good quality skin care – travel messes with you enough without dealing with breakouts, dry skin or other things that could be solved if you’d just packed cleanser & moisturiser! I’m a real believer in packing as much of your ‘real life’ stuff as possible – if you’re not the type of person to sleep in last night’s makeup and not brush your hair at home that type of thing is unlikely to change on the road!

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      GHD’s would have to be one of the greatest things ever invented! And a good skincare routine while traveling is essential – no need to change just because you’re traveling.

  14. Posted July 27, 2011 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    Firstly – there are people who don’t shave while they’re travelling?????? Are you serious??? Wow. That to me is like a basic level of beauty upkeep, no matter how annoying it is to keep up or buy the products on the road. I took straighteners and a travel hairdryer to Vietnam and used them pretty much every day. Not sure whether I’ll take heels next year, simply because of space and also the places I’ll be travelling to I probably won’t have the need for them, but as you’re going to USA/Europe you’ll definitely be able to justify having them there. I totally agree with this post and what you’ve said. As long as we’re willing to carry the weight in our luggage, why should we sacrifice feeling our best? 🙂

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Yeah for sure – it helps a lot that I don’t have to carry that weight on my back! Have made a lot of other sacrifices and think I’m doing pretty well despite my few luxuries. 🙂

      Apparently there are people who don’t shave… how disgusting! Haha.

  15. Posted July 27, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I recently started traveling with a straightener and hair dryer again… glad I did 🙂

    • Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Nothing worse than going to bed or out for the day with wet hair!

  16. Posted July 28, 2011 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    a hairdryer is always necessary!! great post

  17. Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    First of all, I don’t consider myself a super fashionable girl but I have to admit that I don’t like the way I look without makeup and even though I haven’t ‘done’ my hair in ages it drives me crazy because it’s so flat all the time. I’m completely with you on the hairdryer, makeup and skin care. Taking care of yourself and feeling good are a must.

    As for the heels, I can’t walk in them so I don’t wear them even at home but I think that what you are doing is great–you have to be confident and feel good otherwise it can really get in the way of your enjoyment to be honest.

    For the razors, it is driving my insane HOW EXPENSIVE replacement blades are but I have to ask you if they are cheaper in the USA than Oz so that I can get some before I go if I need to!

    For the Venus pack here it’s about $20 or so for 8 blades–more or less than Oz?

    Thanks Amy!

    • Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Razor cartridges are quite expensive and a bloody rip-off if you ask me!

      I think you’d be better off buying them now while you’re in the US – I just looked at a chemist’s website in Australia and they’re charging $15.99+ for 4 blades! Totally ridiculous!

  18. Posted August 12, 2011 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    I *love* this post! I never bought into the idea that just because I travel I have to do away with the make-up and suddenly dress in different “traveling” clothes… especially if I’m going to be in hundreds of photos that I have to look back at later!

  19. Posted August 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m lucky in that if I blow dry my hair it goes straight anyway but my travel hair dryer was an absolute must. Does anyone travel without make up? i know I couldn’t. Ditto for razors. Luckily most Europeans now have realised that underarms need to be shaved but I cringe everytime I see the bush lurking under their tank tops eww. xx

  20. Posted June 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with this list! It’s important to be comfortable with yourself while you travel. Yes you have to scale down but absolutely bring everything that you feel the need to use on a daily basis! The one switch I made which I was very happy with was from concealer and bronzer to a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen. It covers imperfections, gives you a nice glow, and you don’t need to glob on the sunscreen over or under your makeup!
    Britany recently posted..A Confession, a Plan, and a Promise: SOTC Moves Forward

  21. kle
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    ahhh i’m so confused about what kind of traveller am i! I’m probably an hybrid of the typical backpacker and the more “sophisticated” one :): I’m bringing my hair straightener, my skin products (i’m obsessed too!) on the other hand…i think i would never bring high heels..i barely use them at home anyway, and i’m taking my make up but not sure i’ll be using it a lot. Result? i’m half and half really! but everyone is different of course. And we need to satisfy our needs on the road ti be happy travellers!

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