I have been travelling overseas on my own for many years, but lately, I’ve found the need to modify a few things. My old sporting injuries are acting up more than ever. I heard that once you hit your seventies these things can happen, plus that ghastly word arthritis has finally found my wrists and thumbs.

So, when it comes to the demands of travelling alone like lifting a suitcase, lengthy walks, and hand luggage, I’ve made a few adjustments. It’s not daunting if you plan properly, backed up by the mandatory list of Things To Do.

Important Things to Consider Before You Leave

  • Check your travel destinations’ safety aspects and Covid requirements on the government website smartraveller.gov.au.
  • Send itinerary to family & friends including contact details, address & phone numbers of where you are staying, name of solicitor and leave spare house keys with someone.
  • Check your travel insurance, once you reach 75 your cover may change and it can be expensive.
  • Google the main airports if you have an extended layover and see what facilities and what’s available like private lounge areas. You can book these in advance before departing Australia.
  • Consider transport from the airport to your accommodation or next destination. I book an airport pickup in advance with a reliable company. I am intolerable of scammers and con artists that confront you on arrival.
  • Check the weather and walking conditions for potential fluctuations in temperature to determine your clothing and footwear choices.
  • Weight and size of a suitcase. Can you lift it onto a carousel or train, or drag it up steps? I go for smaller cases nowadays 66cm (with an expandable option). Not all accommodation has a lift, particularly in Europe.
  • Carry-on baggage: consider its weight, will it be comfortable to carry around by hand for hours? You may prefer one with wheels but it is added weight.
  • Money: small towns in many countries may only use local currency. Not all have ATMs handy. Credit cards are usually accepted but not always in little villages in Eastern Europe where they don’t even like the Euro.
  • Retain a photocopy of your passport and credit cards for emergencies and carry them separately.
  • Consider the bills that need to be paid while you are away or set up a direct debit.
  • The final duties for pets, cancelling deliveries, someone to clear your junk mail and water your plants.


  • Less is best and layers work. Depending on the weather conditions, I will either have T-Shirts or Skivvies/shirts over a singlet top and add more layers accordingly.
  • Only take lightweight fabrics, even in the winter and stay with basic colours that mix and match.
  • Light comfortable pants, one or two skirts/shorts and comfortable dresses for hot climates.
  • Footwear is governed by weather and conditions. Choose your trusty favourite walking shoes that will see you through a full day, maybe a dressier shoe for functions.
  • On cruise ships formal nights are common, keep to a minimum and choose one pair of smart shoes to go with all outfits.
  • Hairdryers are normally supplied or available on request.
  • Be minimalistic with cosmetics, one eyeshadow pallet, two lipsticks, two mascaras, the waterproof one for the plane, and use smaller plastic bottles for hair products.

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