12 Awesome Travel Accessories for the Aging Traveler

July 01, 2015

Travel accessories for the aging traveler

Travel for so-called “baby boomers” (anyone born between 1946 and 1964) is an ever-growing part of the travel industry.  Many ‘seniors’ have retired from a long, successful career and now have the time, the resources, AND the energy to take vacations – on their own, with a partner or, with family.  And, many are in excellent physical condition to take on whatever may come their way throughout their travels!  These people are known as the trend-setting group called “zoomers”…. boomers with ZIP!!

Certainly, as we age, our ‘must haves’ when traveling change considerably from what we would/could endure when we were much younger.  Gone are the days when we could ‘sleep anywhere’ no matter the conditions or noise.  Sleeping on an airport bench or lugging a cumbersome, heavy backpack loses ALL of its appeal….and may be physically impossible in later years.

So, while you still may be in great physical shape, there now are things you need to concern yourself with and travel gear that becomes necessary to ensure your vacation is as stress-free, comfortable and fun as it can be!

For easy-breezy travel as a senior, consider these dozen very useful travel gear options:

1. Lightweight, Rolling Luggage – You really don’t want to be carrying large, heavy pieces of luggage every place you go!  Invest in lightweight luggage that is on rollers for easier transport.  Your back will thank you!  If you learn how to pack lightly and smartly, you might be able to avoid checked luggage (and the fees that come with that!) all together!  If there are two of you, each of you is allowed 2 pieces of carry-on (including carry-on luggage, handbag, computer, etc.).

Large duffel

eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel | Source: Amazon.com

2. Small Travel Bag – Pack all your necessary medications in one small travel kit. Keep all of your medications in your handbag or other carry-on luggage to ensure it arrives at your vacation spot with you.  Take along enough medication to last the entire trip, plus a little extra in case your trip is delayed by a day or two.

prescription container with days of the week

Travelon 7 Day Pill Planner | Source: Amazon.com

3. Compression Socks – Proper fitting compression socks will help to keep the circulation going in your legs and feet – thrombosis can be very serious.  When you’re on the plane, get up and move around or do some exercises in your seat.  About once an hour – walk up and down the aisle – just ensure you’re not in the aisle when the flight staff have service carts in the aisle – and not when the seatbelt sign is lit.

Compression socks

Vitalsox Graduated Compression Performance Socks | Source: Amazon.com

4. Neck Pillow – If you’ve ever fallen asleep on a plane WITHOUT the benefit of a neck pillow, you know how stiff and sore your neck can get!  A neck pillow makes it much more comfortable to get some rest, maybe even some much-needed sleep, while you’re flying.

travel pillow

AirComfy Travel Pillow | Source: Amazon.com

5. Folding Cane – These canes fold up to a very compact size and often come with their own storage bag.  No need to worry about tripping other passengers or flight attendants with your cane when they are walking down the airplane aisle.  Simply fold it up and store it in your hand luggage until you need to use it again. Check out the cool colors and designs available.  Canes are not, as my father-in-law insists, for ‘old’ people….(HE’S nearly 98!!) – they are for anyone of ANY age who may need a bit of assistance with their balance.  Don’t be vain….use a cane!

foldable cane

Ez2care Adjustable Folding Cane with Carrying Case | Source: Amazon.com

6. Folding Cane with Attached Seat – This may not be quite as compact as a folding cane, but it’s wonderful travel gear to have with you on vacation.  Use it when you’re waiting in a line-up or if you just need a break from walking.  These seats are very durable and designed to hold the weight of an adult.

foldable and portable chair cane

Brylane Home
Folding Adjustable Height Cane Seat: Source FullBeauty.com

7. Small Knapsack – Use a small, lightweight knapsack to carry what you need for a day of sightseeing, shopping or other vacation activities.  No need to leave behind items that you’ll be using throughout the day – water, camera, rain jacket/sweater, snacks, etc.  And you’ll have something in which to carry back all those adorable souvenirs you’re sure to find!  Just make sure the bag isn’t so heavy that it will hurt your back or shoulders.  If there are two of you, why not take 2 small knapsacks and distribute the weight.

small knapsack

Lightweight Travel Backpack Daypack by Free Knight | Source: Amazon.com

8. Cross Body Bag – If you have a bad back or simply don’t want to use a knapsack, opt for a cross body bag that will hold all your day’s needs without weighing a ton!  A cross body bag also allows for easier access to your items than does a knapsack and is always within eyesight.

cross body bag

Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag | Source: Amazon.com

9. Attachable Eyeglass Case – One of these can be snapped on to your belt, handbag or carry-on luggage.  Your glasses will be at your fingertips when you need them….and they will be much less likely to be lost or left behind.

attachable eyeglass case

Civilian POD Sunglasses Hard Case | Source: Amazon.com

10. Refillable Water Bottle – Fill up your water bottle once you have cleared security at the airport to keep yourself hydrated on the plane.  Purchasing water at the airport every time you travel can get pricey….and water service once on the plane, doesn’t come nearly often enough to keep you as hydrated as you should be.  Use your refillable bottle throughout your vacation as you sightsee, hike, and take part in other activities.

water bottle

Lifefactory 22-Ounce Beverage Bottle | Source: Amazon.com

11. Magnifying Glass with Attached Light – Restaurants can be dimly lit making it difficult to read the menu.  And, it seems the print on menus gets smaller and smaller as the years go by  You could also use this handy travel gear item to find the keyhole to access your hotel room or your ship’s cabin – if an entry key is used rather than a key card.

Magnifying Glass with Attached Light

Lighted Hand Held Magnifier by Rosallini | Source: Amazon.com

12. RFID Money Belt or Neck Stash – Even though you’re on vacation, try not to let your appearance scream “Tourist!”  as this may make you more susceptible to muggers and pickpockets and other nasty people that we all want to steer clear of!  Carry your important documents such as ID, passport, credit card, tickets, extra cash in one of these belts/neck stashes which can be carried discreetly under a jacket or shirt.  Keep handy (in your pocket/handbag) only the cash you may need for the day and store the rest of it in your money belt or neck stash, or, leave it in the hotel or ship’s safe.

Tarriss RFID Neck Stash

Tarriss RFID Hidden Neck Stash

In addition to the items mentioned above, here are a few more suggestions to make your vacation go smoothly:
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes – A pair of comfy shoes really is one of THE most important items you need for ANY vacation.  If you end up with blisters after a day of sightseeing – it certainly can put a damper on your vacation’s activities for at least the next day.  When packing your travel gear, toss in some moleskin or bandages – just in case.
  • Prescription for Medications – It’s a good idea to carry your prescription for all medications with you when you travel.  Have your prescription available to show to security personnel to diminish the chances of your medicines being confiscated at an airport or border crossing.  And, if you should lose or inadvertently spill your medications, you may be able to get your prescription refilled if absolutely necessary.  Of course, this will depend upon where your vacation takes you in the world.
  • Prescription for Eyeglasses – If you break or lose your glasses – you’ll want to have your prescription with you to expedite a replacement.  Even if you don’t understand the language for the items listed on the menu in Thailand….. you at least should be able to SEE the items listed on the menu
  • Inclusive Travel Insurance – Do your homework when it comes to choosing your travel insurance.  You may need to shop for coverage that includes pre-existing medical conditions and/or trip interruption in the event you need to cut your trip short for any reason.  Ask questions and read the fine print carefully to ensure you are getting the coverage you want.
  • Reserve a Wheelchair – If using a wheelchair at the airport will make it easier for you to get where you need to go – be certain that you book one in advance with the airline so that one will be available when you get there.  Some cruise ships have wheelchairs available only for embarking and debarking and are on a first-come-first-served basis.  If you require a wheelchair throughout the cruise, however, you will need to bring your own with you.  Let the cruise line know at the time of booking that you will be using a wheelchair as most cruise ships have cabins which are designed to accommodate guests with limited mobility.

You’re only as old as you feel!  Don’t allow an arbitrary number to keep you from exploring our beautiful planet!

Written by Emma Ghattas