World traveller shares item to ‘always’ carry and packing routine for holidays

Queen's travel costs are 'frightening' says royal expert

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According to new research from, people aged over 55 are more likely to go exploring than younger Britons. Irene Jones, 76, is a prime example and has visited countries all over the world.

Irene told that her passion for travel began when she was a student nurse in the 1960s.

She said: “Suddenly there were cheap flights and you could get to Europe where it was lovely and sunny.

“Benidorm was just a little fishing village and Heathrow was just a tiny airport.

“We actually used to cover ourselves in olive oil before we knew about melanomas and skin cancers!”

An adventurous traveller, Irene hitch hiked all over Europe and has gone off the beaten track all over the world.

She was one of the first British tourists to visit Russia, catching an Aeroflot flight to Leningrad (now St Petersburg) and seeing Lenin’s tomb.

Irene even drove a “little Volkswagen Beetle” to Iraq with a former boyfriend, although they did forget their passports in Istanbul.

She told “That taught me to never hand a passport over to anyone. But sometimes you do encounter really nice strangers.”

A man in the queue at the Turkish border made phone calls to the hotel and helped the pair recover their documents.

According to Irene, there’s one item travellers should always have in their bag when visiting a new country.

She said: “If you’re going to see someone’s culture and somebody else’s life experience you have to get in their shoes.

“You have to be respectful of their life. Carry a very fine scarf with you in your bag always because sometimes you have to cover your head.

“Whether it’s the Vatican or in India or a visit to a mosque, you may have to. If you’re a traveller, go with the flow.”

Irene counts Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Costa Rica as some of her favourite and most memorable trips.

Wherever she goes, she always follows the same packing routine, advising: “Always start packing from the feet upwards. Good shoes, not silly shoes, and a hat.”

Although older travellers may be more nervous about booking a holiday, Irene said it all comes down to the booking details.

She told “Choose your destination and do the research on it. Think about whether you have dodgy knees or if you get tired easily, then you can have a holiday that’s not so activity based. Be realistic about what you can do.

“Try a specialist interest trip. I like bird watching and I’d like to go on a specialist trip because I know everyone will be a birdie. So we’ll have a lot to discuss.”

She added: “Always photograph your passport and carry a copy of it in another part of your luggage.”

When it comes to health, Irene advised travellers to always carry medication in hand luggage in case they need it on the plane.

She said it’s important that British tourists check out the vaccinations they need if they’re going off the beaten track. is a one stop shop for information and health advice on destinations around the world.

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