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Many of you followed my recent trip to Paris on Instagram, catching a glimpse of my darling travel companions….my mother and father and my mother-in-law. I’m not going to reveal specific ages…because it’s right before Christmas, and pending potential gifts and stuff….so we will just say that the age span was between 70 and 85.
All three of them were total troopers to participate in the trip in the first place, and for all three, it had been many years since they last travelled to Europe. I noticed some common challenges they experienced, and in retrospect believe that all of the products I am recommending would have made the trip a bit easier for older travelers.
Luggage. Every single traveler needs a spinner suitcase. Period. They are so EASY to maneuver, no matter how full they are. For older travelers, not having to bear the weight of a full suitcase titled precariously on one hand while the other hand holds some kind of carry-on. Yeah. Nightmare. I personally recommend TUMI. It’s expensive, but it’s excellent. I’ve provided other brand options below. And brightly colored, easily identifiable luggage tags are a MUST!
I don’t know about you, but my parents hardly throw a single thing away. Ever. So when my travel companions broke out their converter sets circa 1978, I had to suppress an immediate urge to alert the Smithsonian that new artifacts had just been unearthed. Lordy. And….since the days of the Carter Administration, we all have a LOT more thingys that need to be plugged in. And some of those thingys have USB adaptors. I recommend getting a handful of converters so there’s enough for everyone!
Travel makes everyone feel disorganized. For older travelers, keeping track of passports and boarding passes seemed to be a consistent point of stress. I’d absolutely get a passport organizer for all travelers. Everything is in one place, and easy to find at a moment’s notice.
If older travelers are flying Coach, they will for sure want to pass the time by watching an in-flight movie or two. And yes, the airline passes out free ear buds. But they are horrible, hard to keep in, can’t be used with hearing aides, and hurt after a while. Get older travelers a good pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Of course, they will talk loud enough to hear each other when they are wearing the headphones, and everyone seated within a five row radius will be participants in all conversations throughout the flight. You might want to explain that tiny detail before their trip. Everyone else on the plane thanks you ahead of time.
Not very sexy, but certainly very important are compression socks. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Compression stockings steadily squeeze your legs, helping your veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. They offer a safe, simple and inexpensive way to keep blood from stagnating.” If you’re new to putting on compression socks, it takes a little practice. The best way to put them on is to grab the toe and fold the rest of the stock inside out. Place your foot into the toe area and roll the rest of the stocking over your ankle and leg. If they feel too tight or painful, you have the wrong size, causing more harm than good. Compression socks should feel like your calves are getting a gentle hug, not being squeezed to death.
Help older travelers keep their home country currency and foreign currency separate! Bills are easy because they are different colors and sizes. Coins seem to be problematic! Simple solution: a coin purse specifically for loose change. Also, remember that in America, coins can’t be exchanged for dollars. Only bills. So try to pay with coins as much as possible!
Finally, I’d suggest bringing along a couple of extra phone charging cords. We ALL have been guilty of forgetting these essential items, and the prospect of being out of town with a dead cell phone will clearly cause huge stress for everyone. And no one wants to waste time looking for a store to buy a new cord while on vacation!
Safe and Happy Travels no matter what your age!!!
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