Mature travelers packing advice for small group escorted learning tours
Many travellers ask us how best to prepare for their Odyssey programs, seeking out advice on clothing, medication, insurance, among other concerns when travelling overseas. This article shares some of what we have learned from years of accumulated experience in leading small group tours, which dates back to 1983. Odyssey trusts that this article Mature Travelers packing advice for small group escorted learning tours along with this article on footwear that you can read by clicking here will guide you in planning your trip. Whether you’re travelling to Europe, Asia, within Australia, or anywhere else in the world, the basic rules of packing don’t change.
Mature travelers packing advice
This article is divided into 2 sections. The first section provides general advice on documents, luggage, and medical kits. The second part offers some suggestions on how to pack inside the suitcase. The mechanics of packing has many different variables and considerations. This second part of the article on Mature Travelers packing advice for small group escorted learning tours considers how and what to pack given that the majority of Odyssey tours are typically 3 weeks in duration.
All of our small group escorted life long learning tours programs come with detailed:
- Country-specific advice
- Reading suggestions
- Advice on visa applications for the countries being visited
- A list of inclusions and exclusions
- Plus other important relevant information to assist you in planning your trip.
However, there are pieces of general travel wisdom on what to pack that apply across all of our tours. If you would like to see our other tips for international travel, please read our two-part series on travel tips, which you can find here and here. We’ve collated this advice in two blog posts, which is offered as general guidance for those heading overseas.
The most important thing to pack is of course your travel documents, including your passport, credit cards, as well as itinerary, copies of booking forms. Your travel documents and Passport – including a photocopy of your passport in case it is lost or stolen whilst you are travelling. Keep one photocopy at home and take another photocopy on your trip with you. If you want to be extra careful, it can be worthwhile including a copy in both your carry-on baggage, and your checked baggage. However, always make sure to have your important travel documents ready to hand, in case, for example, a customs official asks to see them.
Main Luggage and Day Bag
Suitcases come in almost every configuration known. Consider travelling with a good suitcase and a comfortable small back pack.
It’s important to travel light, so make sure you only take what you need. Evaluate the weight of the case, its durability and ability to withstand the efforts of the local ground handler to test any suitcase. Selecting a suitcase that is ready to withstand being run over by a vehicle will come with a weight penalty perhaps up to 4 kgs. So maybe the lightweight case with sturdy locks form a recognised brand is a better option. Accept that you may need to replace the suitcases every couple of years. The cost of new case though will probably be less than the overweight charges you may incur during the life of the heavier case.
Any lock on a case should comply with United States Customs. That is a single master key can open the case for inspection by the relevant authorities. Putting your padlock on a case today, will possibly result in the lock being cut off or the locks and zips being damaged. If you need to lock your suitcases then during a tour then do so on the ground and accept that your suitcases should be unlocked when flying.
The choice of a two or four wheel suitcase is a personal choice. The main difference is that two wheels cases are essentially a pull suitcase. Suitcases with four wheels are a steering case through the crowds.
Recognising your Luggage on the carousel.
For travellers on Odyssey’s small group escorted learning tours we have designed and then supplied the brightest, toughest and largest fluorescent orange luggage label with the Odyssey logo on to travellers for over 20 years.
So many suitcases do look alike. A visible luggage tag does assist in collecting the correct bags off the carousel
Clothes and Footwear
Smart casual clothes are suitable but not compulsory for the evening. Particularly for any shows or performances, as well as group meals including welcome and farewell dinners.
See our other blog post on Clothes and footwear
A water/windproof jacket and small compact umbrella
Medication and Medical Kit
Personal medical kit – Please remember to pack sufficient supplies of daily medicines. Often a GP letter confirming medications (maybe put a copy as a photo on your phone) that you are taking is a good idea as a just in case for long trips.
Your Odyssey leader will also have emergency medical supplies if required.
Camera and spare film/memory card –
Tea bags/coffee, milk powder or sachets, muesli bars, instant soups or noodles, fruit, or anything you can’t go without!
Remember your air travel luggage allowance
Mature Travellers Footwear and Clothing luggage allowances may be generous on the International flights. You should check with your airline on the allowances for the international legs. However, the challenge is often short haul European flights and also local flights where allowances can fall to 20kgs. For 3 or more weeks of travelling this can become a challenge that you need to consider. Before the start of any small group escorted learning tours if possible store some of your items with friends or family who you are staying with. Or if returning to a hotel in that city and you have booked already then ask about leaving some items there for your return. The hotel may be prepared to store a few kilograms whilst you are away.
Mature Travelers packing advice for inside the suitcase.
This section looks at the mechanics of packing your suitcase. There is all different types of advice for the travellers available on the web, however this is typically Mature Travelers packing advice.
Spend some time thinking about your packing.
A list of items you are thinking of packing to take away is a great start. You should look at the list a couple of times to remove and add items to your list.
A key piece of advice is being practical about what you are packing. Also reflecting back on your last trip is a good start. How much did you pack and what did you actually wear? There will be some items that where the favourites on your last holiday. You need to remember why this was so and pack to reflect your preferred dress style.
Cube your suitcase, utilise the empty space.
Packing cubes, these are zipped up pouches typically of various sizes that enable you to store and organise your clothes in your case. This link here is to a google search for packing cubes for more information and a range of suppliers.
Another suggestion is to roll tops, underwear, socks and other small items. These smaller items can then be packed into the corners of the suitcase, or shoes to ensure every possible space is used.
Keep your wardrobe fresh
On such a long tour it is also good to keep your wardrobe smelling fresh. You may want to pack some potpourri, fabric conditioner sheets or scented drawer liners or a small bottle of citrus, Manuka (good for insect bites as well) or lavender oil. This will assist in keeping your clothes fresh smelling throughout the trip.
Use Ziplock bags to help pass through security
Consolidating all the electronic cables, usb sticks, chargers and other vital electronic components into a couple of ziplock bags. Using ziplock bags will not only help you find things during your flight but also potentially assist you pass through security. Ziplock bags are also useful for keeping medications, house keys and bottles of liquids needed for the flight.
A make up tip
For pressed powders and eye shadow to prevent them cracking during your travels place a cotton wool pad or ball in between to powder and the lid.
This is potential a significant weight saver. Onto your tablet you can download the kindle reader or Apple equivalent, to then download your holiday reading. The kindle reader can also be downloaded onto a phone via the app store. This is not the time to debate e-books against printed works. This is a time be practical about the weight allowances when flying and making savings where possible.
Odyssey has a number of blogs that provide you with general advice on travelling for Mature and Senior travellers. Of course any tips or suggestions on managing your footwear and clothing when travelling would be welcome.
You may find the following blogs for Odyssey Travellers of interest when planning your holidays.
For more tips on what to wear while travelling, you might like to read either of these pieces. For specific advice on particular countries, this website is worth a read. For tips on what not to wear travelling, take a look at this handy guide.
Following these guidelines will ensure that your tour is a comfortable and enjoyable one.