After travelling for over as a hijabi Muslimah 13 years, most of them with hand luggage only, I have definitely picked a thing or two about the best travel packing tips for women.
Men have it so much easier than us, with fewer accessories, layers and toiletries. So packing for them is so much easier. My husband takes 10min to pack his suitcase most of the time.
I, on the other hand, have to plan that my hijabs will match my dress and that the layers i need will match the rest of my outfit. Add to this that I am a plus size woman and not Xs size, and the fabric and the amount it takes to pack and bulk is overwhelming.
I also hate travelling and carrying a suitcase with me, especially since I have a back problem.
So if you are wondering how to travel light as a hijabi, keep reading.
Over the years, I developed a system that helps me pack everything I need, still manage to have some stylish outfits and also travel mostly with a carry-on even when I have a toddler in tow.
This is cheaper, less overwhelming, and much more fun.
Hijabi’s Guide to Packing for a Holiday
Let’s tackle my favourite packing tips for a stylish, enjoyable Hijabi holiday without further delay.
1. Planning your days
I always say failing to plan is planning to fail. This is true when it comes to saving money on your holiday when living your best life as well as when it comes to travelling. Knowing what you are doing during your holiday will help you plan what you need to bring without feeling overwhelmed.
Let’s be honest, I am sure you like my pack and only wear 20% of the things you brought, even though you have probably paid for the extra weight and want to take everything you might need just in case.
No matter how many days you go for, always write down on a piece of paper the days as well as the activities you are thinking of joining on your trip, plus what you think you will wear for that date.
Nothing is set in stone, you can change your mind, but it is so much easier when you have a clear plan; this helps you with your travel packing but also reduces overwhelm during your trip.
You don’t suffer from decision fatigue when you are on holiday because you can’t decide if you want the blue top or the red top.
Here is what my list normally looks like when I am planning my holiday.
Day / Activity / What to Wear
So for example, on Tuesday we are sightseeing so I can wear my jeans with the blue top, cardigan, and loafers.
I usually will wear the same jeans 2-3 times and my underlayer top once and top twice. I sweat a lot and hate wearing the same thing. Plan your outfits this way, and I promise you it will make your life so much easier.
2. Capsule Hijabi Wardorbe
I try to be as minimalist as possible in my daily life as well as my travels.
Not perfect, but I decided a few years ago to just buy things that are 10/10 and make me feel good about myself no matter the price (within reason and budget of course).
Having a wardrobe of clothes that make you feel confident and good and are quality over fast fashion makes your decisions easier. I also don’t subscribe that you have to have only safe tones etc. Yes, they are OK for the basis, but as hijabis, we want some colour which you can achieve via your scarves or tops.
Find your personal style and what you like, and slowly buy pieces that you love!
I gravitate towards the colour blue since it is my favourite one, so it is easier to have similar shades of that when I travel. Usually, my dresses are the one thing that has patterns and a pop of colour. But my stable pieces are more classic.
When packing for a trip, it is easier this way to actually pack only what you need and able to combine different outfits.
Your jeans, for example, match your blazer, but your underlayer tops can be some bold colours.
Combining 1 blazer with 2 tops and jeans, you have two outfits or more if you dress them up or down. They also take up less space.
Another thing that I personally like is cotton and natural fibres. This is even trickier to pack because they are also bulkier, but as I mentioned above, I go sweat a lot, and although polyester is easy I try to avoid it, especially in warm weather countries.
My hijabs are in neutral colours most of the time as well as my turbans. My most wearable ones are in beige or blue, they also slim my face and are easy to combine with pretty much any colour. So making packing easier.
I also look for hijabs that are cotton or viscose, as they are breathable and cool and don’t require a pin to hold them in place. I used to lose so many safety pins and then would get frustrated with my hijab.
All my footwear is also minimalist and classic, so it matches everything I will be wearing.
3. Look for Hijab Friendly Outfits in Good Fabric
As Muslim women, we need to dress modestly and cover which also means we need to travel with more clothes and layers.
I don’t always shop from Muslim online retailers, although I do love shops like Modanisa and Riva. I find great maxi dresses from Mark’s and Spencer and Next in the UK.
Last summer, I found a couple of fabulous Maxi dresses in cotton that was so comfy I wore them pretty much all summer and took to several trips with me.
As a Hijabi and as a Muslimah, it is easier to wear maxi dresses when you go out exploring during the day and bring accessories to dress it up or down with Hijabs and belts. My suitcase always contains one maxi dress at least.
This way, I have two days out of my trip covered, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. Also, you can mix and match and style with a cardigan or a sweater, and the maxi dress becomes a maxi skirt.
Many of my accessories are also multi-purpose such as my bags and belts, which are reversible or can be used in different ways.
A full video on this is on Youtube.
Also, I don’t carry a prayer dress or abaya with me since I use the maxi dress as one. Saving me space in my luggage.
I am looking for dresses with long sleeves, so I don’t have to wear anything else underneath or I Islam-fy them if needed. Like this video, I did here.
4. Don’t buy travel-size toiletries
Travel-size toiletries are the biggest scam; you pay more money for a smaller size when you can just put your creams into reusable pouches and save space and money.
The only travel-sized thing I have bought recently was my loose powder because transferring a £40 powder out and into another container is guaranteed disaster.
I used to travel with the standard travel bottles you get either from hotels or just those silicone ones we find on amazon.
Now, I switched to pouches, and I am telling you my packing game changed. They take so much less space than bottles, and you can put enough for the trip you need. Honestly, I wish I had discovered them years ago.
This way, you can also fit more in your liquid allowance transparent bag.
Here are the ones I bought on Amazon and still going strong.
I know there are talks about removing the limit of 100ml, but even if they did, do I need to carry with me a 100ml shampoo for seven days when I wash my hair only 2-3 times, and I used about 20ml in total?
When you sit and think about it, it makes sense. We always get that fear of what if I need this, in reality, I’m sure you are going to a place that has shops, and if you really need something or have an emergency, then you will find it there.
For my make-up, I use some of the tiny bottles they give you when you taster products. I usually put my make-up or BB cream there and enough for my trip. They are smaller and easier to move around in the transparent bag. I bought so many toiletries bags, and I only use them when I travel with luggage because they are so bulky.
Also, remember that only liquids need to go into the airport security bag. I use one bag for my liquid and one for the non-liquid toiletries that I still need but don’t have to take out.
5. Vaccum Bag your Hijab friendly outfits
My ultimate packing tip is to vacuum bag clothes. I have been doing this way before becoming a TikTok trend. I remember about 13yrs ago; I used to ask the housekeeping to get me the vacuum because back then, they didn’t have those handy travel-size vacuums.
I swear by vacuum bags when travelling because they are so handy for us Muslim women, especially plus-size women. If you are going on a Halal beach holiday, you will also need your burkini or Islamic swimwear and we know how bulky those are.
Even if you travel with a suitcase, I always vacuum my things because they take up less space and I can take more shoes and bags. 🙂 My vice.
I have these from Amazon and they are excellent
I travelled for three weeks with my hand luggage and about ten outfits just because I managed to vacuum most of them.
I have used packing cubes as well; I just don’t find them as effective as the vacuum bag in terms of space saving. Yes, they are better for organising your things, but I prefer to have a couple more outfits and everything in one bag.
I do take a second one in case the first one breaks or to use as a laundry bag for dirty clothes.
6. Buy a Soft Case Carry-on
Yes, I know this might be controversial.
Still, if you are planning to explore a budget airline, especially in Europe or going for Umrah with Wiz Air, you want to avoid paying exorbitant fees for luggage. My best travel tip is to buy soft case carry-ons as you can fit more things in them.
Soft cases are easier to mould around your clothes and the vacuum bag, and you can fit things in empty spaces. They usually only have one compartment, so it is easy to fit everything in.
I love my hand luggage from Perfois, and they do last a good while; I have two of them, and they are great quality for a good price, especially on sale.
7. Get yourself a Travel Steamer
Ha! It is weird to vacuum your clothes and then have a steamer, but it works! Hotel irons are often burned and have ruined so many of my dresses.
I started travelling with a small travel steamer about ten years ago and never looked back. I got laughs from people, but they ended up asking for my steamer as they got white marks on their clothes. I was totally vindicated, lol.
As Muslim women, we do have more fabric to iron, and if you take my advice above and don’t travel with many polyester tops, you will need to steam our creases. For me, the two essential things that always make it into my suitcase are the above bags and the steamer. I don’t think I can travel without them.
This is the one I have from Philips and it is small and powerful.
8. Make sure you take advantage of the free under-seat bag
This is something I started doing recently, and I have to say I regret not doing it earlier. I used to travel with my handbag and my hand luggage, but I was missing extra things I could bring.
All airlines allow one small bag under your seat, laptop bag or handbag.
After my daughter was born, I used to bring my Tiba and Marl backpack for her, which is amazing if you are a new mom.
You can check the article with all my baby accessories.
However, a few years ago, I bought my mum this weekend bag from Parfois, and since then, I have bought one for myself because it not only fits for free under the seat but also holds so many other things. Usually, these bags also don’t have a weight limit, so I put there my laptop, my Dyson Airwrap ( I know! but it’s a game changer) and my toiletries.
All heavy items.
This way, they are accessible, but also, there is a pocket that fits over my hand luggage, so I don’t have to carry the bag. Plus, I always manage to have my cross-body handbag, which holds my passport and other important documents and my wallet.
You’ll get so much more baggage allowance this way, and I have been doing this with Ryanair and Easyjet recently.
9. Prayer Mat and Other Muslim Travel Tips
Depending on my destination, I might travel with a travel prayer mat. There are so many cute options on the market that It comes in handy, especially on long-haul trips in non-Muslim countries where I will have to pray in the airport.
Most airports do have prayer rooms or contemplate rooms 🙂 and I will use my hijab but again not the most hygienic thing. I like the Takva prayer mats because they have some cute designs.
My Quran is on my phone as an application, so it is easy to access, and I don’t have to carry it around.
I also use the app Qibla Connect for my Qibla prayer direction, and I find this to be a good and correct indication of it. Gone are the days were I used to have a compass with me.
I have used the app for several years and have tested it in Muslim countries to see how accurate it is. In most cases, it is very close to the actual Qibla direction, even if you’re using the city rather than the exact location.
To find local prayer times I just google them with the city I am visiting. I also believe the Qibla application offers those once you put your location. As a Muslim traveler I do take advantage of combining. my prayer times making it easy to explore while traveling.
This way, I stay out later, which, with a travelling toddler in tow is a must.
I know many Muslims also want to use a travel bidet, and I know there are several on Amazon. Personally, I don’t carry one with me because I use a bottle in my hotel room if I travel to non-Muslim countries, and it has never been an issue.
For Halal food, I normally google Halal Food options near me when in my destination, but I also am happy to eat fish and veggies. Pasta and pizza are life, and you can have it anywhere. 🙂
I don’t plan my holiday around halal food since I believe we miss so much out of an adventure this way.
Also, if I am writing a destination guide for that location as a Muslim blogger, I copy those on my phone.
10. Electronics Minimise Your chargers
I have to say the chargers for my electronics are the one thing I struggle with. They take up space and are bulky. As a content creator, I have cameras, laptops, phones, drivers, and so much more that it is one of the most stressful things.
Even there, I try to minimize the chargers I bring and what I use on a trip.
I recently bought a travel adaptor that is super handy, and although I lost the first one, I bought it again. It is a little bulky, but it is a fast charger and has several ports managing to charge all my devices. This way, I don’t have to carry the adaptors for each piece of equipment I have, and it doesn’t take up much space in the corner of my suitcase.
Here is my travel adaptor that I love.
There you have it, my biggest travel packing tips for Muslim women and Hijabis that actually work.
I see so many TikTok videos of the perfect packing suitcase, but most are either small women, or they don’t have realistic options for hijab styles and the multiple pieces we sometimes need to wear in order to be modest.
I do have a full packing video on Youtube with the clothes I actually pack if you want to have a visual as well.
The above tips, especially the first part about planning, help avoid stress and feeling overwhelmed beforehand and reduce the chance of forgetting something you wanted.
Some more articles you might like here:
9 Travel Tips Muslim Women Must Know When Flying
1 Day Inca Trail To Machu Picchu: Packing List & Best Tips
What to Do Next Time you Travel With Your Baby as a First Time Mum