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!
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.).
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.
XINHOME Pill Organizer Box Weekly Case | 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.
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.
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!
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.
BSROZKI Walking Cane with Folding Seat: Source Amazon.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.
Voyageur Just In Case Backpack by TUMI | 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.
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.
Civilian POD Sunglasses Hard Case | Source: Amazon.com
10. TSA Approved Luggage Locks – Secure your luggage with some TSA Approved locks. These locks have big dials for fingers that aren't so nimble and the numbers are easy to read. They also let you know when the TSA have searched your bag. The indicator turns red when the lock has been unlocked using the TSA master key.
Tarriss TSA Luggage Locks with SearchAlert®
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.
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.
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