Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Ageing Traveller Series

The Ageing Traveller series is written by Rose Howell, who has been traveling the world for over 40 years, beginning with New Zealand and then the ‘Hippy trail’ in the 70’s. Her travels have taken her to; Asia, Middle East, UK, Europe, Africa, South America, USA, Canada, China and the Pacific Islands. In total she has visited 67 countries plus all the states of Australia except Western Australia, and her goal is to make the century club. Her passion for travel is documented on her website

Click here to find out more about Rose.

10 Essentials For Your Travels

It is important to travel as light as possible but it is essential that you leave room for those gadgets that could prove to be of value on your trip.
Following I have listed 10 essential items I feel you shouldn’t leave without. They are light weight and easy to fit into your luggage.

1. Electronic Language Translator
One of the single most important things you will need when travelling overseas is the ability to speak a few words in the appropriate language. Never assume that everyone speaks English. You are bound to need to ask directions or read a sign or a menu that is in a foreign language. Even though the touristy places usually have two menus, one in the local language and one in English. If you don't have a translator, you could truly regret it! I first came across the translator when I was travelling in Japan and I really like the talking version. Let it ask questions for you so that you don’t mispronounce words.  Some of them also feature a currency and metric converter. What more could you ask for?

Yes there are aps on the latest smart phones that can translate for you. But consider when you are out of range, no reception, or a flat battery and nowhere to charge, plus it may be very expensive to use overseas. This website will give you good reviews of the latest translators available

Photo by Rose - Japan

2. Wheeled Backpack
As anyone who has travelled by train, bus or plane knows, versatile luggage is crucial. I prefer the rolling backpack because it can be carried on your back or rolled through the airports or train/bus stations when your shoulders feel like they are about to burn right off. This type of luggage is great because they are roomy, and don't get too heavy when worn as a backpack.
Experts are now suggesting children have wheeled backpacks as it helps to avoid neck and back strain. I believe if they are suggesting that for kids then it rings true for us older travellers.  You can purchase wheeled backpacks from many luggage stores. Just do a search of the internet.

3.  Multi-Function Digital Camera/video
For any trip, a decent digital camera is a real plus. My preference is Nikon Coolpix, but my husband prefers an SLR Nikon. We don’t take a video anymore because my Coolpix takes reasonable videos and there is always our smart phone. Some travellers only use phones and get really good photos that they upload instantly to Instagram or Facebook.

Photo by Rose - Piltvice Lakes - Croatia

4. Voltage Converter with Adaptor Plug Set
If you plan to plug in anything electrical that you bring with you, it won't fit in the holes unless you bring an adaptor (and these are surprisingly hard to find overseas), and it just might get burned out if you don't convert the electrical current. This is the best investment you can make: a few bucks to save (and be able to use) your electronics which are worth hundreds of dollars. You can find the adaptors in many major stores such as JB HIFI, Harvey Norman, Luggage stores. EBay etc.

5. Comfortable Walking Shoes
On holidays you walk. You walk to the shop. You walk to attractions. And when you get to those attractions, you walk up 10 flights of spiral stairs (maybe in some places anyway). This is the best investment you can make before your trip. Get a good pair of high-quality walking shoes. If you don't have the cash, at least get a couple pairs of walking inserts. Trust me it is worth the effort.

Photo by Rose - Piltvice Lakes - Croatia

6. Earplugs
Avoid ear pain on long flights with wonderful, inexpensive Earplugs. Just stick them in your ears when taking off or landing. Plus sucking on a boiled sweet also helps. Ear planes are recommended but I have never tried them.

7.  Maps
The worst feeling is to be in a strange country and be lost, and only have a limited grasp of the language. Avoid such mishaps with a very good map, which is absolutely crucial if you plan to drive at all. Buying a map in some countries will be tough to find in English, so get it before you go. Better still buy a hand held GPS. I met an American in Japan and that is all he uses. He downloads the software for the places he visits and it tells him how to get to wherever he wants to go. These days it is easy to download an app onto your phone. I myself still like a paper map and I always grab one from the tourist offices or hotels.

Photo by Rose - Near Chiba - Japan

8. Door Stop Alarm
For increased security in a foreign land, I definitely would feel safer having an alarm. Wedge this one into your hotel door or train compartment door and, if it opens, an alarm will sound.

9.  Alarm Clock

This is a must-have, especially as you adjust to the new time zone. It is important to have a good travel alarm. Make sure it is small and light weight. Mobile phones are also good for use as alarms but in places like Japan you can't use your own mobile as they have a different system.
For a good selection to choose from visit

10.  Umbrella
This may not seem crucial, but trust me on this one (especially if you will be visiting during the rainy/windy season). It is also quite important to get a good umbrella. I've had plenty of compact, travel umbrellas bite the dust under strong winds. For example in Japan when we got off the train at Himeji Castle it was bucketing down and reasonably windy. Our cheap $2 small compact umbrella didn't survive very well. Buy one that is sturdy and vented so the wind won't flip it inside out.
I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has other tips or suggestions on what to take away on your travels.
Visit my website for more information on travel.

Rose Howell Biography

Rose has been traveling the world for over 40 years, beginning with New Zealand and then the ‘Hippy trail’ in the 70’s. Her travels have taken her to; Asia, Middle East, UK, Europe, Africa, South America, USA, Canada, China and the Pacific Islands. In total she has visited 67 countries plus all the states of Australia except Western Australia, and her goal is to make the century club.
She has taken all kinds of transport and accommodation from budget to luxury. She has travelled through war zones, survived a bus accident in the Andes and visited areas that are no longer available to tourists, such as the Khyber Pass and Bamiyan Statues in Afghanistan.

Rose wants to inspire others to travel and offers free advice to all travellers in particular those who are embarking on their first travel experience. She has a passion for travel and since retiring from an Adult teaching position with TafeSA, has recently resumed clocking up kilometres interstate and overseas.
Her daughters have inherited the travel bug from their parents. The eldest daughter is a travel journalist/documentary maker based in a beautiful area called ‘Byron Bay’ in New South Wales and with her husband, has two globetrotting toddlers who at the age of 5 and 2 also love to travel. Her youngest daughter and fiancé have recently returned from 2 years working and traveling in the UK and Europe. They have only been home a couple of months and are already getting restless. Oh the travel bug!!!!

Rose has developed a website for the over 50 traveller where you can access for free all her advice and past and present stories. You can add stories of your own too.

She also has a blog on:


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

Back to Laterlife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site


Advertise on