How daunting it is to pack for your holiday! It is confusing, tricky and frustrating, but I think I got it right – now, after 5 years.

Since 2013, I have been travelling the world. I first out with a 100-litre bag, then a 65-litre bag and now just with a carry on and a daypack.

The daypack is full of my technology, which I need as co-founder and writer of our travel lifestyle blog, To Travel Too. I have even been known to say, “they can take my carry-on, but my life is in my daypack.”

It helps a bit as I don’t do cold weather anymore if I can help it. But, saying that, I went on and spent three weeks in Ireland last October. It was cold and damp as you would expect Ireland to be at that time of the year.

The year before, I travelled on a 15-night relocation cruise from Spain to Panama. I packed one black outfit that I wore every night, just changing scarves and adding a piece of jewellery. Even when it was a ‘white’ event I still wore black.

Now that I am 60, worrying about the latest fashion is a thing of the past, travel experiences are what I crave.

Here are my top 7 things I take on my travels.

A Good Set of Luggage – Go for a Carry On

Airlines are charging exorbitant fees for luggage these days. Carry-on luggage not only reduces your luggage fees giving you more $$$ to spend on food or experiences, but it speeds up your exit from the airport.

I have also found that because I have only a carry-on, I can save more money on transport to hotels, by using airport buses or trains.

From a security perspective, having less luggage makes you less noticeable to would-be thieves. They tend to look for people who can’t manage the number of their bags, which also makes them think you carry lots of items of value.

The Best Walking Shoes You Can Afford

I walk miles when I reach a new city because walking tours are one of my favourite activities.

Not only do I learn the history of the city I am visiting, but I find the guides are passionate and love to let you know about their favourite restaurants that are off the tourist route and other tips and tricks to make your stay memorable.

A good pair of walking shoes is a must. I travel with three pairs of shoes, my good walking shoes, a pair of flip flops and a pair of flat ballet shoes that goes with my one black outfit.

A Hooded Down Jacket

Even though I follow the sun, I still need to have a good jacket just in case, especially when travelling on air-conditioned buses, trains and planes.

I use a hooded down jacket that provides me with warmth. It has front pockets for storage and is easily compressible into its own pocket to save space in my luggage.

Outfits in Layers

Layering clothes is essential as my carry-on weighs around 10kg, which is the required weight for budget carriers. I travel with:

  • 3 t-shirts
  • 1 long sleeve t-shirt
  • 1 sleeveless dress than can be turned into a long sleeve dress by adding the long sleeve t-shirt
  • 2 travel trousers
  • 1 pair of black leggings that can also be added to the long dress and which I also use for workouts
  • 1 swimming costume
  • 4 changes of underwear
  • 2 scarves
  • 3 pairs of socks

Shampoo, Conditioner and Moisturiser Bars

With the latest airline regulations about the size of liquids that you can carry on board these days, my lifesavers have become shampoo, conditioner and moisturiser bars.

These three items save me money as they last longer, have reduced the weight in my toiletries bag and are airport regulation friendly.

Sarong

If you choose the right sarong it can double up as a dress, a skirt, a top and a shawl as well as a cover up at the beach, or beach towel.

A Travel Budget App

There are several good travel budget apps for your mobile phone. Each year I load up my daily travel budget, the currencies that I will be using and categories like accommodation, transport, food, incidentals etc.

I track every cent on a daily basis. If one day I have a blow out on a great meal with a good bottle of wine, the next day I cut back. It is so easy to keep on budget these days!

Do you have any further tips on what women should take with them when they travel? What are the items that you always take with you on a trip? Please share your travel wisdom!

Jane and Duncan Dempster-SmithJane and Duncan Dempster-Smith are nomadic semi-retirees, baby boomers, travellers, House Sitters and co-founders of To Travel Too. Their motto is “Age is no barrier when it comes to travel.” Although not yet pensioners, their goal is to travel the world on what is currently the Australian Age Pension of approx. AUD 33,716 (USD 25,110) per year, or AUD 92 (USD 69) per day for two people.

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