Midlife Travel Planning: A Step By Step Guide

slow travel guide


I’ve just returned from a fabulous six-month trip around Asia and I’ve been asked by many of your to pass on travel tips and advice on how I go about travel planning for a long and slow travel experience.

So, I thought it might be helpful to you to see my slow travel planning step-by-step checklist for an extended trip of six-months or more.

Because SLOW TOURISM ad SLOW TRAVEL is becoming a travel trend!

Well, that’s great! My aim throughout this travel website and through my inspirational romantic adventure novels and media and travel podcasts is always to ENCOURAGE and INSPIRE everyone – but especially those of us in our 50’s and 60’s and beyond – to travel more and to travel more slowly and for longer!



Journal of Travel says: “Slow tourism is characterized by reducing mobility and by taking time to explore local history and culture, while supporting the environment. The traveller’s main goals are relaxation, self-reflection, escape, novelty seeking, engagement and discovery.”


EHL on Travel Industry Trends says: “Travelling slower involves transitioning from materialistic and consumerist luxury to wanting purposeful experiences and creating meaningful moments. People no longer want to have a schedule full of tours of classic sightseeing spots. They want to travel at their own pace while experiencing and tasting the local culture.”


THOSE IN THEIR MIDLIFE YEARS whom have long treasured those precious two-weeks-a-year work breaks and a well-deserved holiday vacations and who are now looking at a more flexible work life and the empty-nest and retirement years.

THE OVER 50’S: Maybe you’re thinking of early retirement or not quite ready to fully retire yet? You might be thinking of taking a work sabbatical to learn something new or to volunteer on a project abroad that feels important to you?

Market Watch says: “Slow travel emphasizes staying in one place long enough to connect with the local people, culture, food and music This style of travel is growing more popular among the 50-plus set and it can offer a richer, more relaxing experience.”

THE OVER 60’S: Gap Year Statistics UK tell us that this year: “In 2023 – the grey gap year – the over 60’s took extended travel periods and there is an estimated 4.82 million more older Brits planning on doing so.” 

OR YOU’VE SIMPLY REACHED A STAGE IN LIFE where you don’t want to keep your dreams of travel on hold any longer, because the sands of time are slipping through the hourglass. And you might be reasonably physically fit right now, but any sensible and realistic person knows that as we age, our continued physical fitness cannot be guaranteed.

But of course, you might not need to go to the same extremes as we did in selling everything you own to travel because you might just be looking to take several months out for that once in a lifetime slow travel trip to see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing and had on your bucket list or travel wish list for what seems like forever.

Click on the image to read my 10 Reasons To Travel In Your 50s and 60s



The Backpacking Housewife. Travel. If Not Know When?
Click on the image to read my If Not Now When?

Is it a real tangible fear or an imagined worry?

To get into a travel mindset you must face your fears and ask yourself what is holding you back?

Let’s look at how these might be overcome.

Do you think you’re too old to go travelling? National Geographic says: Life Begins at 50. “Empty-nesters are inspired by their children’s gap years. Young-at-heart empty nesters are increasingly looking to travel. What’s more, they’re heading further afield and for longer, preferring exotica and adventure over slippers and comfort zones.” And goes on to say. “A lot has changed within a generation, and the empty nesters don’t see why they should miss out on what didn’t exist when they were younger.”

Do you think you need to be in better shape? Try gentle yoga and brisk walks. I make sure I do enough steps every day to maintain a basic level of fitness and to keep my weight within healthy parameters. It helps to wear a ‘fitbit’.

Do you fear flying? Perhaps it’s an issue of age since the fear of flying apparently often starts at 27 years old on average. You can find practical advice and more information on this common anxiety on anxities.com.

Are you afraid of travelling alone? A recent survey also revealed that most over 55’s want to travel as a couple or with a friend or to travel with a group but a solid 10% of them prefer to go it alone to complete their bucket list. And besides, solo travellers are rarely alone as they meet people but, if you are still not sure, have you looked into group tours for solo travellers? There’s lots of great advice and encouragement and tips on travelling solo on solotravelerworld.com.

Do you worry about not having enough money to slow travel? Look at your resources and research your costs then draw up a budget. I work out travel costs (airlines, busses, trains etc) and accommodation costs as my fixed expenses while travelling and these are the costs I put aside. But food and extras – well we have to eat wherever we are – and so I try to keep day to day living costs the same as at home. When I’ve had to keep accommodations costs down I’ve opted for house-sitting and stayed somewhere for free in exchange for looking after someone’s home/pets while they’re away.

Are you scared of being hurt/sick/attacked/unsafe/in danger while travelling? It doesn’t help reading or watching the news these days as its only ever bad news and that, in my opinion, makes the danger seem somewhat disproportional. I believe the answer to travel fear is to be prepared. I recently wrote a post on dangerous travel situations and how to avoid them and I do highly recommend you read it or listen to it as a podcast (Episode 15) as I think you’ll find it reassuring!

Scary Travel Stories The Backpacking Housewife
Click on the image to read My 10 Scary Travel Horror Situations and How To Avoid Them!

I want to encourage you to be Bold Not Old and grab a life of travel while you can!

Let’s plan an extended trip of six months of travel to far-flung places!

Travel Planning: A Step By Step Guide

Planning for a six-month trip does take some planning because it’s not just about what you choose to take in your backpack or suitcase but rather how prepared you are to travel for an extended period of time. It’s going to be far easier to preempt problems before you leave than to have to deal with something that might spoil or suspend your travel enjoyment for the sake of a little foresight.

Please note that our planning list is likely to be far less comprehensive than yours simply because we don’t have a home or a property or a car or any costs associated with a home. This is because, as I mentioned above, we have previously sold everything we owned to travel the world and facilitate our travel adventures.

However, as a homeowner, you will need to automate your bills and re-direct your mail and decide what to do with your property and even perhaps your beloved pets while you are away travelling. You might choose to close up your home for those six months or ask a friend to live in or a neighbour to watch it for you. You could get house sitters in or you might rent it out to help with mortgage or utility payments or add to your travel budget. We once house-sat at a small farm in the South of France for six months while the owners were travelling. It was a great experience and fabulous fun!

If you currently live in a rented home then maybe you might see this as the flexibility to rent somewhere else?

Dream of Travel Header The Backpacking Housewife
Click on the image to read my Have You Ever Dreamed…



  • Decide on the country/countries you want to travel to and check their specific entry requirements.
  • Decide on the dates you’d like to travel and make a travel itinerary.
  • Find out how long you are legally allowed to stay in the country/countries on your itinerary.
  • Check you have a valid passport. Check if you need to pre-apply for a travel visa?
  • Find out what travel vaccines are recommended for travel to the countries in your itinerary.
  • Acquire/apply for credit/debit/travel cards that allow you to access your cash abroad without excessive fees and charges as this will help you to save a considerable amount of your travel budget.
  • Notify your bank of when you’ll be travelling (dates) and which countries you’ll be travelling to so they don’t suspect suspicious use and block your cards while you are away.
  • Check the currency used in the country/countries you want to travel to and if you carry currency with you do make sure the notes are clean and undamaged and not in too high a denomination.
  • Sign up for loyalty/reward membership with the airlines you are using/might use to collect points/air miles.
  • Sign up for loyalty/reward membership with hotel groups you will/might stay with while you are travelling.
  • Get online accounts with and other accommodation websites like Booking.com to get deals and build your status (to get discounted deals) on these sites and to make it easy to book your accommodations while on the move.
  • Apply for a Global Entry Pass – which includes TSA approval – to avoid standing in long lines at airport immigration.
  • Book your flights: Book online. I like to use Skyscanner and my recommendation is to always book directly with the airlines. Deals and discounts are often available for travel outside holiday times.
  • Buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover you for your entire trip.
  • If possible I book accommodations with Booking.com. Do you want a hotel? A motel? A hostel? A homestay? Live Like A Local or live it up in an all-inclusive resort?
  • What time are your flights? If they are early or late then maybe you need to book airport hotels?
  • Make sure, if you have regular prescription medications, that you have enough for your trip.


  • Decide/buy a suitcase or a backpack. I must admit I favour a wheeled backpack these days.
  • Decide/buy your cabin luggage and make sure it is no larger than the smallest size airlines allow.
  • I back up all my documents and contact information that I keep on my laptop computer and phone – copies of all my travel documents – and all my treasured family and travel photos onto a virtual storage cloud (I pay a small fee monthly for extra space) that I can access via the internet from anywhere in the world.
  • I bought a smaller size and lighter laptop especially for travel and I signed up for a VPN to keep my data secure and I’m currently using Tunnel Bear (not an affilated link). Check out my travel shop where I add and list the essential travel items that I use myself.
  • Check your mobile phone is unlocked and takes dual-sim so you can buy local phone/internet access.
  • I travel with a few back up solar power rechargeable items such as a phone charger and a torch.
  • Forget paperbacks and hardback books and take a Kindle e-reader loaded with ebooks to read. You might want to read all my bestselling romantic adventure novels while you travel or while relaxing at your destination. You’ll find all my books widely available worldwide in paperback and as ebooks and from Amazon UK and Amazon Dotcom.
The Backpacking Housewife series of books by Janice Horton
Travel Reading! Check out my books on Amazon – affiliated link.


  • I recommend you travel light whenever possible. As a rule, only take enough clothes for one week – you can wash them – or you might buy more suitable/affordable clothes when you’re at your destination.
  • Keep the things you value the most in your hand luggage rather than your checked luggage.
  • Travel compression bags or packing cubes might help to keep your things tidy in your luggage.
  • Travel with an easy-dry travel/beach towel to save weight and space in your luggage.
  • A worldwide travel power adapter and a small first aid kit is essential kit.
  • I always travel with one warm sweater and a warm shawl/pashmina in my cabin bag plus one change of clothing including underwear and a swimsuit/bikini – just in case of a luggage loss/ delay.
  • I travel with very few toiletries because you can usually buy them at your destination (this is especially true with insect repellents) BUT I would never want to be without a tub of coconut oil.
Midlife Travel Backpack or Suitcase - The Backpacking Housewife
Click the image above to read Backpack or Suitcase for midlife travel


  • ALWAYS travel with travel insurance. Buying a travel insurance policy to cover you for any unforeseen medical expenses or financial losses while travelling is an essential part of the planning and preparation for any trip. Finding the best travel insurance policy when you are travel planning and over 50 years old can be difficult and confusing but travel insurance is something we can’t afford to travel without at any age.
  • It’s handy to have your own small security safe with you if the accommodation doesn’t offer one.
  • I wear a hidden ‘security belt’ or a ‘bra wallet‘ when I travel with secret hidden pockets to keep cards and cash secure.
  • I also travel with TSA Approved luggage locks and a Pacsafe cable lock that I can use to secure my possessions if needed.
  • If you intend to use hostels or homestays or if you travel solo then you might find travelling with extra personal small security items comforting and reassuring: like an Epictraveller door jam or personal alarm.
  • Make sure family or loved ones at home know of your travel plans and itinerary. Stay in regular touch with friends and family while travelling (and show them your amazing travel photos!) via social media and messaging apps. It’s also a good idea to leave loved ones at home a copy of your passport and your travel insurance just in case they or you need to refer to them again.
Travel Insurance for the over 50s by The Backpacking Housewife
Click the image to read Travel Insurance for Over 50’s

Have a fantastic trip!

Did you find my travel planning checklist useful?

Where are you planning to travel?

What’s on your Bucket List?

Are you planning the Trip of a Lifetime?

Are you planning long slow travel?

Let me know! I’d love to hear from you.

Leave a comment below or contact me directly through my contact page

World Nomads Travel Insurance – get a no obligation quote today!


You may also like

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More