One of my biggest passions is travel and if I could, I’d do it throughout the year. But traveling is taxing for those of us over 50. We have to maneuver through crowded airports, squeeze ourselves into seats like sardines, and haul our luggage from planes into trains, buses, and automobiles. The actual “travel” part of traveling is what takes a toll on our heads, shoulders, knees, and toes. Still, nothing is more thrilling than getting on a plane and taking off to a wonderful destination. That’s why I prefer to travel light.
It’s not always easy to travel light if you’re a female
We like to dress to impress, especially if we’re traveling on a group tour or cruise. But, the more we stuff in our bags, the more it’s a pain in the neck. . . literally. That’s why I’ve put together my recommended list of essentials to travel light, so you can enjoy your trip and still be in style.
My favorite Travel Purse
I’m in love with my baggallini Everywhere Shoulder Bag with RFID. It’s light as a feather and ultra practical. I carry it with me all the time, even when I’m at home. I love that it has a side pocket to store my water bottle. I never go anywhere without water. baggallini bags have multiple compartments and come with a detachable RFID-blocking wristlet, so your credit cards won’t get scanned. It’s a drag when you’re relaxing in a gondola while a nasty thief is draining your bank accounts.
You can wear the bag over your shoulder or across your body. There’s no need to worry about the straps breaking because they’re strong and adjustable. It’s made out of a lightweight crinkle nylon and is water resistant. If you smudge it, like I always do, it’s easy to wipe off. A zipper pocket in the back easily converts to a sleeve that slips over the handle of your rolling bag.
The lining is also nylon in a contrasting color. Mine is charcoal with a yellow lining. Color options are Pacific (blue), Apple (green), Beach (tan), Black Cheetah Emboss, Black/Sand, Charcoal, Java. (dark tan) Dimensions – 13.5″ x 9″ x 5″. It sells for $85 on eBags.
baggallini bags come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. See what’s available by clicking here.
Make sure your suitcases are spinners
Spinners have 4 wheels, rather than 2, making them easier to haul around in different directions. The Delsey Helium Cruise 3 Piece Expandable 4 Wheel Spinner Luggage Set comes in an adorable purple color that’s easy to find on a busy baggage conveyor belt.
It’s made out of durable nylon with Teflon™ protection and will last for years. Delsey of Paris luggage also includes an overweight indicator so you’ll travel light and not get charged extra.
When I fly, I try to only take a carry-on, unless I’m on an extensive trip or I’m traveling in winter. If you buy the entire set, you’ll have matching luggage for all your traveling needs.
The entire 3-piece set is on sale for $469,99 (as of this writing) and regularly sells for $1,060.
What about those bulky winter clothes?
My last two European trips took place in Nov/Dec and it was chilly. It’s not as easy to travel light when it’s freezing outside. I couldn’t get away without a warm, toasty coat. I live in Los Angeles, so I start to freeze when it’s under 50.
One thing I learned is to NEVER pack bulky sweaters or wool coats. One big sweater fills up an entire suitcase? Instead, I bring a nylon down jacket that will squish up into a small little bag if needed. For extra warmth, silk undershirts are wonderful because they don’t take up space in your luggage or add bulk to your figure.
Patagonia makes outstanding parkas and outerwear. Their Women’s Fiona Parka, pictured above, is made from 100% recycled polyester. The shell is wind resistant and has a water-repellent finish. I like that the hem hits below the knee (for extra warmth) and that the cut is flattering for most figures. Color options are Black, Dark Ruby, Industrial Green and Navy Blue. Sizes run from XS – XL and it sells for $299 on eBags.
If you’re on the curvy side, you may want to check out City Chic, which specializes in Plus Sizes. I like their attractive and practical Black London Look Fur Trim Parka, which sells for $149. (the fur is faux) Sizes run from 14 – 24.
I’m also a huge fan of Columbia outerwear. For rainwear, you’ll love their Women’s Arcadia™ II Jacket – It comes in Plus sizes and is made with Columbia’s trademark Omni-Tech™ making it waterproof and breathable. It also comes with a detachable storm hood. Color options are Purple Lotus, Columbia Blue, Stormy Blue, White, and Black. Price is $69.99
Travel tip – Carry your down coat on the plane so you can use it as a pillow or to snuggle up in. Airplanes are notoriously chilly.
The easy way to pack and organize your suitcase
Use packing cubes to separate items in your suitcase. Ultralight Packing cubes from eBags, come in a 7pc set. The meshed top allows your clothing and other items to breathe. You can also see what’s packed inside.
Color options include blue, green, gray, and orange/yellow. Price is $69.99.
If you want to be hands-free, carry a backpack
Backpacks care handy, especially on tours because they don’t get in the way when you’re shooting photos or shopping. However, if you’re over 50, don’t try to carry a large one or you’ll end up with a backache.
The Travelon Anti-Theft Small Backpack is a perfect size. (14″ x 12″ x 3″) It has a padded iPad/tablet sleeve, RFID blocking card slots, umbrella, and water bottle pockets as well as a zippered wall pocket for paper money or other small items. There are compartments for your cell phone, sunglasses, and important papers.
It’s currently on sale for $49.99, which is a bargain. (regularly $89)
Don’t forget your camera
When I travel, I love to take lots of photos. Even though my Galaxy 7 smartphone has an excellent camera, it doesn’t have a zoom lens. The problem is, fancy cameras can be heavy and strain your neck. For several years, I’ve been taking along a Canon PowerShot. It’s super light, affordable, and takes amazing shots. I’m not particularly technical when it comes to camera settings and always use the auto feature, but I’m always astounded at the quality of photos it takes.
The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS with 50x Optical Zoom and Built-In Wi-Fi sells for $359 on Amazon. It has a 20.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor with DIGIC 6 Image Processor, which is great for catching shots at low light levels. I also almost never use a flash. The price is reasonable for a person who isn’t a professional photographer.
Keep your clothing options simple
My travel uniform is usually black leggings or stretchy flared slacks with black no-iron soft tops. I wear black because it hides most of my major flaws in photos. I also like to choose a fabric that’s easy to rinse out and dry. If I’m not wearing a coat, I’ll wear a colorful soft jacket over my black ensemble and sometimes a scarf. I particularly like infinity scarves because you never have to worry about tying them. (I’m kind of a klutz at tying scarves)
This Magrid knit infinity scarf from eBags comes in silver, gray, teal, and camel. The price is $24.99.
Comfortable shoes are a priority number one
Traveling usually means lots of walking. (which is healthy) However, there’s nothing worse than getting blisters from ill-fitting shoes. Go for comfort and support beyond anything else and your feet will thank you. You’ll also have much more fun.
I bought a pair of UGG loafers from Nordstrom and they are amazingly comfy! The UGG® Milana Moc Toe Flat (Women) will look classy with upscale as well as casual clothes. I like that they have some tread to keep you from doing a header over ancient cobblestones. Price is $99.90.
For dressy occasions, flat slippers are nice because they’re stable and make it easier to travel light. Have you ever been on a cruise ship in rough weather? It’s hard to walk around in heels! Leave your stilettos at home.
Easy Spirit’s Avery Low Wedges look dressy but are comfortable enough to dance in all night. Price is $49.99.
For excursions or walking treks, walking shoes are a must. The Arrowood WP trail sneaker by Teva® is waterproof, light and super comfortable. Teva® shoes are made with their FloatLite™ technology, which adds to their durability and lightness. Color options are black, slate and mahogany and are easy to slip into, which is good at airports. Price is $120.
How to travel light with shoes – tip – Bring as few pairs as possible. (3 max) When you pack, fill the inside of your shoes with socks or undies to save space. If you find you need another pair, buy a stylish pair in Italy or wherever you happen to be.
I hope my suggestions help you to travel light. Check out my travel resources page for more of my recommendations for booking, hotels, car rentals and more.
Prices may be subject to change.