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What to pack when travelling in later life

27th February 2020


As you get older, you encounter a myriad of free time and the urge to get out and about and use that time wisely, and what better way to do so, than to explore and travel? Getting out and exploring the world is the perfect way to enjoy your free time, keep agile, de-stress and relax. Whether you are looking to enjoy a staycation or want to travel a little further afield, there are some tips you should make sure you follow to ensure safe travels.

There is plenty to think about when planning a trip, from the weight of your luggage to prepping enough medication and ensuring you pack methodically and carefully. This guide will talk about what to pack when travelling in later life, with some recommendations from bloggers and travel experts.

Necessary paperwork

First and foremost, making sure you are carrying the correct paperwork with you when you are planning to travel is crucial, especially as you get older. Whether it is travel documents, travel insurance or papers from your doctor regarding medication, these may be required during your travels so it is best to have them to hand.

Travel insurance

Making sure you take out travel insurance before planning a holiday means you are covered should there be any changes to your circumstances. Whether you encounter travel delays, loss of luggage or health concerns, getting the right insurance means you are completely covered. Taking all the necessary paperwork away with you will avoid any doubts should you need to use it.

Compare The Market state that “According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), 1 in 5 Brits has needed some kind of medical treatment while abroad. Yet as many as 10 million holidaymakers travel without the right travel insurance, or even no travel insurance at all.”

Medication papers

Often, when taking medication abroad, it can be a good idea to carry any necessary paperwork or notes from your doctor to avoid any unnecessary delays when travelling to a new country. A simple way to ensure there will be no confusion is to ask your doctor to write you a note or a letter to confirm what medication you are on and for what reason.


Mobility aids

For those who travel later in life, the thought of taking a mobility aid or a wheelchair abroad can feel like a burden. Travelling with the use of an aid is easier than ever before and most airlines, cruises and train lines are now offering mobility help for those who should require it.

“You can take your scooter or powered wheelchair abroad within the European Union free of charge for up to 30 days in any 12-month period.” Says

It is often worth checking with your hotel or accommodation as to what their accessibility measures are. Most hotels or cruise ships will offer accessible rooms with walk in shower and bath enclosures and other accessibility aids like handrails and lifts.

Only what you need

Knowing what clothes, shoes and personal items to pack when planning a trip can be tricky, so only packing the items you feel are necessary is important. For those who find it hard to lift heavy objects, make sure you aren’t overpacking your suitcases with anything unnecessary. Check with your hotel or accommodation as to what they supply and avoid packing these to free up some room, hairdryers, towels and robes are a great example of this.

The team at Gransnet recommend travelling lightly: “From the adventurous solo traveller to the seasoned cruiser, Gransnet users are full of tips and advice on what and how to pack for all eventualities. The first tip is to travel light so you're not lugging heavy bags around, likely full of clothes you won't even wear. Pick a few coordinating outfits and limit yourself to three pairs of shoes - one pair of trainers, one pair of sandals and one smart pair. Secondly, remember to pack for the culture - a light scarf is incredibly useful for covering arms or shoulders if local custom requires it.”

Buy packing cubes

Packing cubes are a great way to organise your belongings and will also reduce the risk of overpacking, a technique that the team at Gransnet also recommend.                                          

“The third tip is to buy packing cubes. For the smart, organised traveller they are a godsend, particularly if you're travelling around. And most importantly, sort out your travel insurance well in advance. If your plans change for any reason, you're then covered in the run-up to your holiday and not just while you're on it.”

Necessary medication

Getting caught out by delays without all the necessary medication can cause great stress, so a top tip Joanne from New Mum Fun suggests is to pack enough medication to allow for any potential delays or health changes:

“As a pharmacist, I always advise patients to ensure they bring more medication than they will require for the duration of their trip in case of any delays they may encounter returning home. It is also useful to have a list of their medication with strengths and dosages in the unfortunate event of taking ill and having to visit a doctor.”

She also recommends packing other tablets or medication for milk ailments as these can often be more expensive when abroad. 

“Aside from prescription medication I normally advise patients to pack antihistamine tablets, anti-diarrhoea tablets and painkillers as if you go to buy over the counter medication while you are away there is often no direct equivalent to the medication you are used to purchasing at home.”


Pack a can-do attitude

Travelling and exploring the world doesn’t have to be for those under the age of 50, heading off on new adventures as we get older is the perfect way to keep our minds and bodies active. No matter where you are planning to visit or what sort of holiday you want to embark on, heading off with a can-do attitude will ensure you make the most of your experience.

Margaret from Sixty and Me explained a little more about travelling with a positive mindset:

“Of course, there are practical things to pack when travelling – a small foldable day pack, sunscreen, phone charger and your favourite lipstick. But the attitude that you take with you is even more important. I always take a sense of adventure with me. Travel offers an opportunity to release your fears! You can experience life at a new level of intensity. Pack a sense of wonder and adventure. Travel is like a time machine; a new place is a perfect place to plan your future and accept your past. Let regrets and worries go!

“Genuine love and kindness, travel is a perfect opportunity to be kind. Life on the road offers opportunities to share your love and compassion. A sense of wonder, travel inspires you to bring along your deepest sense of wonder and marvel at the beauty of nature and magic of new places. Feelings of gratitude, travel provides distance and context for reminding us to be grateful for life, family and friends. Flexibility and a positive attitude, on a trip, things often don’t go to plan. Flexibility and a positive attitude will help you to deal with frustrations.”

What to pack when travelling in later life:

  • Necessary paperwork
  • Mobility aids
  • Necessary medication
  • As little luggage as possible
  • A can-do attitude

Travelling is the perfect way to release stress, encompass a sense of adventure and enjoy the world around us, no matter how old we are.


This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.