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Packing checklist for older people

Packing for a holiday can be stressful, even if the trip is exciting, so we’ve put together a helpful list of essentials to help get you started.

Last updated: December 13th 2022
You should pack essentials first and figure out what space you have left for other items that aren’t as high priority. [Source: iStock]

You should pack essentials first and figure out what space you have left for other items that aren’t as high priority. [Source: iStock]

Key points:

  • It can be a good idea to have multiple copies of really important documents, like your passport
  • A thorough understanding of what you are going to be doing and what the weather will be like in another country or area can help inform your clothing choices
  • When packing your medication, it’s better to have bigger amounts of your prescriptions than less

Documents & essentials

  • Travel/health insurance documents
  • Tickets – either printed or electronic
  • Itinerary
  • A list of important contacts and numbers – hotels, tours, and emergency contacts
  • A list of medications and a prescription/letter from your doctor
  • Personal ID/Student ID card
  • Cash converted into the local currency
  • Credit/bank cards – let your bank know that you’ll be travelling and for how long so they don’t stop you from being able to make a payment
  • Drivers license – if travelling overseas you may need an international drivers license.

If you’re travelling overseas then you will also need to make sure you the following:

  • Passport – usually you’ll need six months of validity for airlines to let you travel
  • Visas – some countries require you to apply for a Visa before being able to enter their country. This could take a few weeks/months.

For some of your documents, you may also want to make sure you have photocopies available and leave a copy with someone who stays behind, just in case anything gets lost along the way or in case of an emergency.

Carry-on baggage

If you’re bringing carry-on, then it’s always a good idea to make sure you have some spare items with you just in case your checked luggage is lost. You should also include anything else that you will want before getting to your destination.

  • Spare set of clothes
  • Mobile phone and chargers – you’ll need to arrange international roaming or an international sim card before leaving to make sure you can use your device
  • Light jacket – in case it gets cold while travelling or transiting
  • Laptop, iPad, or E-reader and charger(s)
  • Headphones – you can grab noise-cancelling headphones if you’re sensitive to sound
  • Camera, memory card, and chargers
  • Electrical converters and adapters
  • Travel pillow, blanket, eye mask, and earplugs
  • Books or magazines
  • Chapstick and hand lotion
  • Water bottle – this can be filled up once you have gone through security
  • Travel guides, maps, language guides, etc. – if you think you’ll need this as soon as you land it’s best to put these in your carry on to make sure you have them read


It can be tricky to know what to bring with you when it comes to clothing, but you’ll need the essentials to start. You’ll also need to dress for the season and any activities that you’ll be doing.

  • Underwear –  socks, stockings, bras and undershirts
  • Bottoms – pants, jeans, shorts or skirts
  • Sleepwear
  • Shirts – casual or dress
  • Jumpers or sweatshirts
  • Formalwear – if appropriate
  • Coats, jackets, rainwear 
  • Hats, gloves, scarves
  • Umbrella
  • Swimwear – including any coverups
  • Shoesdepending on your plans, you may also need to include hiking shoes, walking shoes or dress shoes
  • Sandals or thongs/flip-flops
  • Belts


  • Dental supplies – toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Soap/body wash
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Hairstyling tools – hairbrush, comb, other tools
  • Makeup/makeup remover
  • Skincare products – moisturiser, cleanser or other supplies


  • Medications – it may be better to keep these in your carry-on to make sure you have them on hand
  • Tweezers
  • Vitamins
  • First aid kit – including disinfectant, bandaids, bandages, pain relievers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Tissues
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses


  • Spare batteries for any mobility aids – to check the exact requirements for air travel and batteries visit the Civil Aviation Safety website
  • Travel journal and pen – so that you can record your trip
  • Music player
  • Food or snacks – this may be good if you only eat certain types of food or if you need to eat regularly

What do you always make sure you have with you when travelling? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Virtual trips from your couch
Travelling overseas later in life
Living life on the road


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