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Old 08-30-2014, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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There was another recent thread about geriatric travel, but it had to do with exploring one's own immediate area via day trips, and I thought my topic would be off-topic in the other thread.

I am wondering about the age at which folks experience limitations in being able to travel, and how the limitations relate to the various modes of travel (flying, car, train, ship).

I know that limitations can arise at a wide variety of ages because health problems arise at a wide variety of ages. That is precisely what I am asking: How old are you and do you still feel able to travel pretty much as you always did, or do you now have various limitations, and if so what are they?

Within the last two months I took a long road trip and also flew from Los Angeles to Houston and back for a funeral. I noticed a number of people in wheelchairs flying, and the airlines seem to do a good job of aiding them, although I would imagine it has to be more trouble in a wheelchair.

I have a female cousin who in her 60's already had serious health problems which prevented her from taking all but very short car trips - issues about circulation in her legs. (I define "very short" as, say, 80 miles one way).

At age 70, I travel pretty much as I always have. I recently took a three and a half week solo road trip during which I drove 5,300 miles. The easternmost point was Blue Ridge, Georgia. I wasn't driving long distances each and every day; some cities I stayed in for two, three, or four days before moving on. My longest day driving was Albuquerque all the way back home to Los Angeles. I was planning to stop for the night if I got tired, but was pleased to note that I still had it in me to drive a 12 to 14-hour day when feeling good.

As for the recent air travel, my eastbound flight was a day from hell - severely delayed departure requiring re-routing and several almost missed connections. It was so bad that when I arrived in Houston four hours late, I was grateful that it was ONLY four hours late. I hadn't eaten all day except those tiny bags of peanuts because there was no time at the plane-change points - I had to run to the new gate where they were already boarding! It was stressful, frustrating, and I was angry, but being 70 was no impediment; I would have been stressed, frustrated, and angry at any age.

So, what are the stories out there? Have some folks given up travel altogether? (I suppose we'll all come to that if we live long enough). Do you still fly but not drive? Still drive but not fly? Anyone a fan of Amtrak? Still travel but struggle more with aging issues? If so, what issues?
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Old 08-31-2014, 12:12 AM
 
Location: Maryland
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An interesting topic, amigo, kudos! So far, no huge changes except for sensitivity concerning hustling luggage through airports and on the planes. We've definitely gotten smarter about traveling light.

I'm - 64.5, DW - 67, and we've had to adapt to dealing with arthritis (especially in the hands and elbows for both of us) as well as a touchy back from old injuries in my case. We just load up the checked bag(s), let the SkyCaps deal with it and otherwise keep our day bag to a minimum weight.

We cheerfully support the airport skycaps to muscle the main luggage and have really refined our carryon weights to be minimal. Our usual carryon (actually an under seat piece) is not much more than a laptop and munchies. The old mantra of packing a heavy carryon with a day's full gear plus accessories in case of delayed/lost baggage is long gone. If we really got jammed with lost luggage we'd just buy local replacement stuff.

Knock on wood - in 30 international trips over the past 7.7 years of retirement travel - 0 instances of lost luggage. A few less than 1 day delays in luggage delivery have occurred - but thats it.

Our travels have ranged from Europe (frequent), Russia, Tibet/Nepal/Bhutan, Australia/NZ , Iceland and numerous trips to Central America. We just don't subject ourselves to dragging luggage around like we used to do. The cost of porter assistance is inconsequential.

Driving - we do a fair amount of multi-overnight forays to the southern beaches or Quebec as a matter of course and do a cross country trip every year from Maryland to Portland,OR - so far no problems.

Trains are a great way to travel but for us its standard to FedEx our main luggage to the primary destination and just carry a minimal carryon for longer sleeper trips. We haven't "trained" more than three overnights so can't comment on longer journeys.

In general, while our physical strength is holding up fairly well, there are limitations imposed on our comfort in handling luggage due to the arthritis issues that require a bit more planning but overall - we're looking forward to many more trips!
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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^^^^ Sorry about the arthritis issues that both you and your wife have, Pilgrim, but glad you have workarounds which allow you to continue airline travel. Some people would just give up; it's to your credit that you have not given up. I wish you much continued enjoyment in your travels.

Ironically, on that "day-from-hell" I described in the OP, the fact that I had no checked luggage was the saving grace which allowed the re-routing and the tight connection times. I am fortunate to be able to lift any bag small enough to fit in the overhead bin up into the bin, no matter how heavy it's packed.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:44 AM
 
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I've traveled a lot all my life and I've discovered the best thing for me is to be certain I am in good shape and prepared for most travel frustrations. I physically increase my strength and 'wind" before a trip, have learned to pack lightly to easily carry all my luggage, jumping onto buses and trains, always carry food and water, and have something to amuse me if delayed. I could tell stories forever about my travel adventures with the worst fiascos occurring while traveling in commie countries where I had no sleep for 2 days. As I age more and become less physically able to run, leap and jump with my luggage I guess I'll opt for the grey hair tours - but alas, I'll have no adventures or stories.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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One thing I learned as a result of a recent trip to India... if you go to a country where the custom is to remove your shoes indoors or in monuments DON'T wear lace-up shoes! Tying & untying and the contortions necessary in that process aren't easy when you are older (we are in our 70s).
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:04 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
^^^^ Sorry about the arthritis issues that both you and your wife have, Pilgrim, but glad you have workarounds which allow you to continue airline travel. Some people would just give up; it's to your credit that you have not given up. I wish you much continued enjoyment in your travels.

Ironically, on that "day-from-hell" I described in the OP, the fact that I had no checked luggage was the saving grace which allowed the re-routing and the tight connection times. I am fortunate to be able to lift any bag small enough to fit in the overhead bin up into the bin, no matter how heavy it's packed.
The problem these days is finding room in that overhead bin for carryons of any size! It 's been my experience that the first folks who board the plane take as much room as they need, stuff overstuffed "carry-on" luggage into any bin they can find and everyone else be damned. Seems to me that this has become worse since the advent of charges for checked baggage.

Or maybe I am just not aggressive enough.....
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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Originally Posted by Travelassie View Post
The problem these days is finding room in that overhead bin for carryons of any size! It 's been my experience that the first folks who board the plane take as much room as they need, stuff overstuffed "carry-on" luggage into any bin they can find and everyone else be damned. Seems to me that this has become worse since the advent of charges for checked baggage.

Or maybe I am just not aggressive enough.....
Yes, that was a problem on the flights which were full on my last trip. Fortunately, I did find one of the last spaces for my carry-on bag. Remember the days when size limits for carry-on luggage were enforced?
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:57 AM
 
14,257 posts, read 23,974,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
^^^^ Sorry about the arthritis issues that both you and your wife have, Pilgrim, but glad you have workarounds which allow you to continue airline travel. Some people would just give up; it's to your credit that you have not given up. I wish you much continued enjoyment in your travels.

Ironically, on that "day-from-hell" I described in the OP, the fact that I had no checked luggage was the saving grace which allowed the re-routing and the tight connection times. I am fortunate to be able to lift any bag small enough to fit in the overhead bin up into the bin, no matter how heavy it's packed.

Periodically, my back flares up to the point that I cannot handle heavy luggage. In general, our bags never exceed 25# anyway.

The way to work around that is to carry a pocket filled with dollar bills. The guys at the LT parking in Chicago Midway (Midway Park and Ride) will pull your bags from the trunk, place it on the van and then take it off the van and hand it to the skycaps at the airport. We will tip them well for that service as do most people.

We have moved exclusively to wheeled bags. Occasionally, we ship our bags home or to our next destination.

============================

Back to the OP.

Generally, older folks will tell you when they no longer wish to travel. Sometimes, younger people need to listen to them and lay off the pressure. My father got dragged on still another trip this year. He made it abundantly clear that this year was his last for the annual two week fishing trip.
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Old 08-31-2014, 02:09 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
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Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Yes, that was a problem on the flights which were full on my last trip. Fortunately, I did find one of the last spaces for my carry-on bag. Remember the days when size limits for carry-on luggage were enforced?
LOL, those were the days... Last I checked they still had carry-on size limits posted at the gates, but when so many passengers are taking the maximum number of the maximum size of carry-on bags that are stuffed to the gills, making those bags even larger, plus one (or two, when they can get away with it) stuffed "personal item", and stuffing them all into the overhead spaces which were not designed to carry all that "stuff", I guess it doesn't matter.

I used to fly a fair amount for work before I retired from that job, and my last three trips were pretty much what I'd call nightmarish. I don't see that flying has gotten any better, when you get nickeled and dimed for everything imaginable after you've paid a fortune for a ticket for a planned itinerary in which you have somewhat less of a fair chance of getting to your destination timely and without incident. Where you give up any semblence of privacy as you even have to inform the TSA agents of your prescription meds if you carry them with you, and go through whatever else they have in mind for the day's entertainment. And so on. Fortunately I now have the luxury to not choose to travel anywhere I have to fly, and that's what both my husband and I have decided. If we can't drive there, we won't go.
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Old 08-31-2014, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Chesapeake Bay
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The issues re luggage is interesting.

Should we take a trip and are driving, we pack and do have luggage but it isn't that much of a problem.

If flying, it is almost always on vacation. In which case we don't carry luggage. None. When we get to our destination (London the last half dozen times), we check in the hotel, then go to the dept store (usually Harrows), buy whatever (casual clothes don't cost much). The last day, we pack it up, mail it home (or throw it away if we don't like some particular item), so no luggage on the return trip either.

After a lot of travel over the years, I've found this to be the best way to solve the luggage problem.
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