As a travel guidebook author and content creator, I do a lot of solo travel. Over the years, I’ve authored 34 Lonely Planet travel guides across 5 continents. These assignments have taken me to some of the world’s more remote places, including road trips across Madagascar, Namibia, and the Australian Outback, as well as to more touristy destinations like Thailand’s dreamy southern islands, Switzerland, and the American Southwest. 

Packing for a solo trip used to intimidate me, and I’d bring way too many items I never wore or needed, but after doing it enough times, I’ve perfected my suitcase game. Instead of overpacking, I stick with tried-and-true essentials and add outfits based on climate and itinerary. One of my core rules is to pack clothes that can provide double or triple duty, depending on how they are accessorized.

My most recent trip, for a magazine assignment, took me to Las Vegas to experience the Oasis Pool Deck at the new Fontainebleau Hotel. This trip was all about chilling in a cabana at LIV Beach, Sin City’s hottest new daylife destination inspired by the cliffside terraces of Antibes in the French Riviera, listening to Tiësto spin, and then dancing at LIV nightclub, so in addition to my go-to safety accessories, I packed outfits I knew could effortlessly go from day to night. Here are my packing essentials, all under $35 on Amazon.  

Becca Blond

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter


Many of my travel guidebook assignments took me to remote locations where the drinking water quality is unsafe for consumption. When I updated Lonely Planet’s Madagascar guidebook (quite a few editions ago now), I relied on a water purification pen to keep my drinking water safe as I made my way around the country by car and public transport — one bus ride took 8 hours and involved holding someone’s baby goat in my lap; Africa travel is always an adventure! 

The LifeStraw filters out more than 99.99 percent of waterborne bacteria and parasites, including E. coli Giardia, and is easy to use – simply remove the caps at either end, submerge the bottom of the straw into whatever you are drinking out of, and sip like you usually do. It is hard to believe something so simple can be such a lifesaver, but other travelers agree: LifeStraw has garnered over 96,000 perfect five-star ratings on Amazon. 

She’s Birdie Personal Safety Alarm


As a woman who travels solo, personal safety is always in my mind. I visit some uncomfortable places when researching guidebooks, but I feel safer knowing I have the She’s Birdie Personal Safety Alarm in my pocket. Unlike pepper spray and mace, which cannot fly, the Birdie alarm can travel with you. The alarm is easy to use; you just pull the pin, and it emits a loud, flashing siren that quickly draws attention to the situation. You just slide the pin back into the alarm’s body to turn it off. Luckily, I have never had to pull the alarm, but Amazon customers who have purchased it say it works, giving it nearly 10,000 five-star ratings. “I feel much safer in a crowd. All I have to do is pull on this alarm, which starts shrieking. I keep it pinned to the strap on my purse for easy access,” one reviewer wrote

Endmak Door Stop Alarm


A door-stop alarm is easy to pack and can set your mind at ease when traveling solo and staying in hotels or vacation rentals. To use, you simply place it behind any inner pull door, and if someone tries to enter, the door will hit the metal switch and turn the alarm off. This one by Endmak sets off a loud, shrill ring that will alert you and hopefully scare the intruder away. It operates with two AAA batteries and is made of durable plastic. Just switch it off when traveling so you don’t accidentally trigger it at a TSA checkpoint.

Anker Portable Charger


When researching guidebooks, I rely heavily on Google Maps to get me around. There are a few things scarier when traveling solo in an unknown city than having your phone die and getting lost. So, I always have a portable battery charger like this one from Anker in my purse. Just knowing it is there gives me peace of mind. Slim and easy to carry, this charger still packs a powerful punch. 

It can charge my Google Pixel Pro 8 about four times before I need to recharge the charger, and it also can charge two devices at once with USB C and USB A ports. It charges my devices quickly, taking about two hours to charge my phone and other devices I always travel with, including my trusted GoPro Hero 11 that I use to create underwater content. 

Vadoo Anti-Theft Crossbody Shoulder Bag


I carry an anti-theft bag to keep my valuables safe when traveling in cities known for pickpocketing incidents. I like the feel of a crossbody bag over a purse, and this sling shoulder bag from Vadoo does the job well. It has five different pockets to separate valuables and a magnetic phone compartment that is compatible with phones up to 6.7 inches long. The bag is lightweight and slim and designed to fit your body. Wear it as either a chest bag or a shoulder bag, depending on the level of safety you need. Amazon shoppers also love this bag, with one reviewer saying: “Used this very lightweight crossbody bag inside my coat and or sweater in Barcelona and wasn’t heavy at all. I love how functional it was and it carried my cell, passports, makeup, etc. It was stylish, too.”

Atumtek Extendable Selfie Stick Tripod 


I admit I am one of those people who always packs a selfie stick. But honestly, as a content creator traveling solo, it is a job necessity. I used my Atumtek selfie stick to take so many recent shots, including some memorable ones on a beach in Watamu, Kenya. Sometimes I hold it in my hand, but I love this product by Atumtek because it also doubles as an expandable tripod that can hold most phones for hands-free photo-taking. When used as a tripod, it takes beautiful full-body shots and can even hold steady in moderate wind. The easy-to-set-up Bluetooth wireless remote lets me snap after perfecting my pose. 

Copper Compression Socks – 3 Pairs


Last summer, I basically commuted between Denver and Europe for work, hopping across the pond five times in three months and visiting 14 countries. All that flying is hard on my body, and my ankles are prone to swelling. I also have serious anxiety over developing DVT, especially while traveling solo, so I always wear compression socks on long-haul flights. 

There are thousands of compression socks on the market, but I love these by Copper Compression because they infuse copper directly into the fabric’s fibers, which helps keep the socks from getting stinky. Besides flying, I use my compression socks for hikes and sometimes on long walking days in a city. They help reduce inflammation, which I am prone to, and relieve sore muscles and tendon pain. And with a 3-pack costing less than $25, they are also a great deal on Amazon. 

Skechers Bobs B Cute Sneaker


If you’ve read my other reviews, you’ll know I never leave home without my trusty, hands-free Kizik sneakers. But they can be quite pricey, so I also recommend this similar pair that is part of Skechers’ Bobs line. As a rescue dog mom to a Chihuahua mix named Poppy who travels everywhere with me, I love the Bobs line because the brand has donated more than $10 million to animal organizations and helped 1.9 million shelter dogs and cats from its purchases. These sneakers are comfy and stylish, easy to slide in and out of, and versatile — you can wear them with a dress, shorts, or pants. When they get dirty, you can throw them in the washing machine. 

Becca Blond

Satuun Open Front Cropped Cardigan 


A lightweight, open-front black cardigan is the clothing essential that accompanies me on every single trip. I wash it after travel and put it back in the suitcase with the other live-in essentials. I’ve gone through dozens of cardigans over the last decade, but currently, I love this shawl cardigan from Satuun. Made from soft, light material that doesn’t easily pill, it has three-quarter sleeves. The shorter cut works well with my 5-foot frame. This cardigan is super versatile, and when I’m traveling to warm-weather destinations, it will be the only layer I carry. It pairs well with a dress or pants and is also my go-to when visiting religious sites or traveling in Muslim countries. This cardigan comes in 23 different colors and is machine washable. 

Yathon Sundress with Pockets  


My other essential clothing is a stretchy summer dress with a fitted top and a twirlable skirt. I’ve packed a similar dress to this one on nearly every warm-weather trip I’ve taken for the last decade. It is just super comfortable, looks flattering on my body type, photographs great, and the stripes hide dirt and stains between washes. I lost the tag to the dress years ago, but this one by Yathon is a similar style and gets lots of praise from Amazon shoppers with more than 14,000 five-star reviews. One traveler said it’s their “favorite little black dress of all time” and “It is a staple for travel and in my wardrobe. I will probably venture out and get a few more colors because I wear it so often.”

Feisedy Polarized Vintage Jackie O Cat Eye Sunglasses


I never leave home without stylish, polarized sunglasses. When I’m traveling, and the sun is out, sunnies are covering my eyes. I don’t mess around with UV rays causing damage to my eyes. I like polarized lenses for travel (well, really for everything) because they provide more color clarity, especially when looking at water. The ones I’ve been wearing for the last few seasons are by Versace, but these are a similar look with a flattering cat-eye shape. Amazon shoppers love them, too, giving them more than 5,800 five-star reviews and praising them for their size, comfort, and durability. 

Bsubsearch Beach Dress Cover Up


I prefer warm weather destinations over cold ones, so a bathing suit and cover-up are always in my suitcase. I love this cover-up by Bsubsearch for its versatility. I packed it in two colors for my weekend at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas, knowing it would be perfect to wear to LIV Beach during the day.

The cover-up is short, with a more fitted top and an A-line flair to the skirt. I love how it hugs my curves in all the right places. Best of all, the style worked great for wearing to the club at night when I put a body suit like this under it and paired it with vintage YSL gold strappy heels. I felt right at home ordering bottle service at my table at the LIV Nightclub, which boasts opulent décor, over-the-top special effects, and an exclusive high-energy vibe.    

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