Nomadic Couple in Their 60s Share How They Pack and Travel

To Travel Too

We are Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith, from Sydney Australia, co-founders of our inspirational travel lifestyle website To Travel Too. We have been continuously traveling having downsized from the family home. Currently, we are back home in Sydney Australia after being on the road for the past 18 months. In a few months time, we will hit the road again, for how long we are not quite sure, but we have locked in the Czech Republic in July, New York and Austin in September and Colombia for three months over Christmas 2018.

Travel is our passion and we have now been travelling full time since February 2013 when To Travel Too was created. We are in our early 60s and escaped the crazy treadmill of the corporate world in our late 50s. Was it the best thing we ever did? It sure was. We now encourage other like-minded baby boomers to travel to, and our tag lines are; “chase time not money” & “age is no barrier when it comes to travel”.

People we meet on our travels can’t believe we sold up everything to travel. All that we have is in our Osprey carry on 46 litre bags and our 24 litre daypacks. Back in Sydney we have a small plastic container with tax files, which the Australian Government insist we keep hard copies of for five years. Is it for everyone? No!

To Travel Too

How and why did you get into traveling?

Jane has over 42 years of experience in the travel industry in retail, corporate and group travel. Duncan was an expat kid growing up overseas, both of us travelled for work in our corporate lives, and we lived overseas with our two sons when they were growing up. Our boys now have followed in our footsteps, our eldest is working in the Super Yacht Industry travelling the world and our youngest has his own travel, drone and photography website.

It was actually our eldest son who gave us the idea of giving up corporate life and motivated us to travel; he and his mate took a late gap year back in 2012. We stalked him on Facebook during his travels and met up with them in Oia on the island of Santorini where they told amazing stories of their travels through Central and South America. That was a light bulb moment for us. We arrived back in Sydney, planned our escape and never looked back. It took us four months to plan our 12 months RTW adventure and as they say ‘the rest is history’.

Part of that first year on the road we trekked Machu Picchu for 4 nights/3 days. Jane had never trekked nor camped before. We worked hard on our fitness prior to the trek, and we made it. Was it challenging? Yes. Are we glad we did it? Of course. One tip that we can give others is that anyone can come down with altitude sickness, you can be the fittest in the group or the least fittest, you just have to put your self in the hands of your group leader to get you through the 4 days the best you can if you are one of the unlucky ones.

Jane is an ex Zumba teacher and has a workout program that includes zumba and body combat tracks, which she undertakes if we are not out walking. Walking is the way we keep fit it is a great way to get out and get lost in the places that we travel to. Jane also uses a yoga app called, ‘down dog’ as an alternative to her own programme.

We have walked thousands of miles since we started travelling back in 2013 and we can highly recommend our Merrell Walking Shoes. In fact, we have just replaced them; our new ones (third pair) should be good for the next few years!

Jane is an ex travel agent and travel planning is a passion and in fact we offer travel planning services and itineraries from our web site There are 195 countries in the world and we have only travelled to 57 of those, so our bucket list is still quite long. To prepare initially for our travels, we decided on a one year circuit, South, Central America, Europe and Asia returning to Australia. It involved 16 air sectors, moving every few days and clocking up many different accommodation experiences and high $$. We have chosen to slow our travel down now. Currently, we pivot ourselves where travel blogging conferences such as TBEX are held and plan our adventures accordingly on that continent. If we have to obtain visas we tend to maximise the stay accordingly to get the most out of the visa costs. In Europe, we have to abide with the Schengen Zone – 90 days in and 90 days out.

To Travel Too

How do you finance your travels?

We have investments, which assists in financing our travels. Our website provides us with a small income. We also write for various publications. We have worked with travel product companies such as Osprey as well as tourist boards, tour operators and hotels that sponsor us.

Our travel budget is AUD92 per day, which is equivalent to the Australian Aged Pension, we use Travel Expense Apps and Travel Hacks to maintain our travel budget. Although we are not old enough yet to receive the pension we are showing others, by our example that they too can travel on the equivalent figure. Our biggest expense would be airfares and accommodation.

Why is traveling important for you?

We live by our tag lines “age is no barrier when it comes to travel “ & “chase time not money“

We are so glad that we have done what we have done and not left it to our actual retirement date to travel. You just never know whether you actually make it to your retirement date or whether you will be fit enough then to travel long term. Travel also allows us to understand the different cultures and to be in continual awe of the destinations that we have been able to explore. It’s always amazing to see, taste and hear something that is unique and that has not been experienced before by us.

To Travel Too

How do you bring your things with you?

We each travel with our Osprey Ozone 22”/46L wheeled luggage, which is carry on size. Our daypacks are the Osprey Ozone Adult 24L that we use for our technology. Jane uses Lush Products – shampoo and conditioner bars, which are perfect for carry on regulations. We ‘follow the sun’ which keeps our clothes to a minimum, perfect for our carry on restrictions, we only travel with one jacket each in case of cold weather and can layer our clothes if need be. We definitely recommend less is more and be sure to plan your contents around a carry on size. We have found that it is possible to buy what you need as your travel and you can always gift those possessions that you have bought during your travels that you no longer need i.e. heavy trekking boots, fleece jackets to trek macho Picchu. We also do not buy memories or gifts for family.

Our first year we travelled with a 100L bag each. We took too much ‘stuff’ but then we were also trekking and needed hiking boots, sleeping bags and cold weather gear. It cost us a fortune to send back to Australia. The 2nd time out we reduced our bag size to 60 L and that was also too big. Other travel bloggers who had used Osprey raved about the brand so we followed suit, and we are so glad we did.

To Travel Too

How do you organize things in your bags?

We have tried zip lock bags as packing cubes for our clothes but now have reverted back to rolling our clothes. We layer in the bag based on need, for example knickers, socks and T-shirts on top. Items that are not required for that destination will be in the base of the Osprey Ozone bag. We have found rolling and using the compression straps in the Osprey allow us to compress and be light in our travels. When we arrive at our accommodation we simply unzip the bag and this becomes our chest of drawers or shelves!

After using our latest Osprey Bags for the past 18 months all our clothes are now packed in the same location within the bag. That being said after a few weeks in a destination we do need to have a tidy up and this only takes few moments.

It is so important for us to be ‘light’ when we travel as we are always on and off planes, bus, trains, Tuks Tuks, ferries, etc. we would not consider an extra bag. We are so impressed with the design of the Osprey bag and the material they have used we would struggle to add any suggestions for them. Our technology stays with us in the daypacks and we ensure they are with us at all times i.e. not placed in the hold of an airplane or bus. We split the risk between our bags for example back up drives we have two and one each travels with us.

Our review for our replacement bags include ensuring that the travel bags were waterproof, also our footwear. Have you seen what happens when you arrive at the airport in a torrential downpour and the baggage handlers are unloading your luggage? It’s also important for us to ensure that our toiletries and meds are placed in zip lock plastic bags to protect the clothes we have in our travel bags.

To Travel Too

How do your bags and gear hold up?

In the last 18 months travelling with our Osprey Luggage, they have held up really well. They survived a month on buses in Cuba, rough roads and taxis in India, six months throughout Europe on buses, trains and planes. Since we started four years we are now on our third luggage set. The initial bags were 100L, far too heavy and not of good quality hence only lasted one year; the second set was 65L and once again failed almost from the first air flight. We now are working with Osprey and the bags are of good quality, versatile and built for the traveller. We love our Day Packs and our Carry On Ozone Osprey luggage.

We would certainly not recommend our original provider of travel luggage and we were able to receive full refunds for the second set of 65L travel bags. We are very happy with our decision with Osprey. There have been no repairs that we have had to carry out whilst on the road. They will be with us again on our next adventure.

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

In the beginning, of course we had too much and learnt from our mistakes. These days you can buy anything you need on the road. At times, if we do need any items for particular countries such as the sleeping bags in Machu Picchu we gift them as we leave.

We travel with a four-socket electrical board, which makes it easier to charge our technology on a daily basis. We also travel with a plastic plug that helps when we are washing our clothes as some basins don’t have plugs. The plastic plug is also useful in some areas where there is smells coming up through the showers drain points or scorpions that love entering this way.

To Travel Too

What has been your best travel-related purchase below $100?

  • Cycle locks to secure bags when left in accommodation
  • Document travel and money wallet that can be hidden under the clothes
  • Lush toiletries that are not liquid which enables us to utilise our carry on luggage to the max

What other favorite gear do you have?

Jane is an Apple fan and loves her iPhone 6S and her Apple Mac.
Duncan travels with his Samsung A3 phone, which he prefers as well as a MacBook Air.

What is your best advice for other travelers?

Travel slowly. Have a budget, eat locally and stay centrally. That being said our best advice is to travel light. You can save expensive baggage fees on budget carriers and makes it easier to use public transport instead of paying for expensive taxis. Some budget carriers have weight restrictions on carry on luggage, you need to make sure you understand their regulations when booking your tickets. We use Uber when possible to reduce our travel costs.

Do not procrastinate. Create a travel bucket list. Review it by cost of location, travel to low cost regions first, and travel slowly and more often. Consider house sitting that allows you to experience living like a local and it reduces your overall travel costs.

To Travel Too

What will the future bring?

The future brings more travel particularly to Eastern European countries, the US and Canada and Colombia.

Jane would love a drone, but we are concerned about some of the regulations for certain countries where it is illegal to bring a drone in. Where would we store it if we were put in this predicament.

Visit Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith on their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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