Traveling isn’t as easy as it used to be. I don’t know about you but I am usually worn out before the journey begins. Lugging heavy suitcases and waiting long hours in various terminals around the world is not fun. It isn’t surprising to find that many seniors will opt to stay at home rather than visiting the places that they have dreamed about. Still, isolation isn’t the answer either. Travel can still be enjoyable even though it may take a little more thought and effort to make it that way.
I found several articles with ideas for making travel less exhausting. They both had to do with packing lightly and finding ergonomic bags to meet your needs. Anne Dunkin writing for Arthritis Today (July/August 2012) recommended luggage designed to make travel easier for people with arthritis (www.ARTHRITISTODAY.ORG). Margaret Loftus (National Geographic Traveler: Nov/Dec 2007) also reminded us that bigger isn’t necessarily better. Airline recommendations about size and weight are based on sound considerations. Following the guidelines outlined will make travel not only more economical, but easier on your body.
We have luggage that has been around for a decade or two, and I know it is time for an upgrade. Older pieces of luggage are heavy and are not joint friendly. Most of our bags are nearly impossible to carry when filled to capacity, and are difficult to squeeze into overhead storage compartments. Today you can find sturdy retractable handles that adjust easily, lightweight material, a distinctive look, and compact sizes that combine to give the body a break.
Think about it: identifying and removing heavy luggage from a moving carousel can be a nightmare. Have you noticed that most of the bags moving quickly past you are identical in size and color? I applaud the free spirits who opt for something in distinctive colors or floral patterns. Lugging around heavy luggage can also be hazardous to your well-being. I panic every time I have to use an escalator. If you have ever struggled to hold on to a hand rail while clutching a purse, wearing an oversized computer backpack, and maneuvering a rolling suitcase, you know that you are an accident waiting to happen. Where is that elevator anyway?
Standard two wheel roller bags are good but often not good enough if you suffer from fatigue or joint injuries. A four wheel, multi-directional suitcases with four 360 degree turning wheels can make a world of difference. Shop around and try out various models before making your selection. A 22 inch bag on rollers is the maximum size of anything you should be trying to pass off as a carry on. A light weight shoulder bag that you can squeeze under your seat would be much easier to handle. If you opt for overhead storage you want to make sure you can stow or pull your bag down without distressing your joints or bonking yourself in the head. Joint stress and/or the sensation of being off balance are bad news, and can quickly take the fun out of traveling. Think situations and solutions before packing for your next trip. Travel can and should be an enjoyable experience.