Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Necessities of an Older Traveler

As I approach the age of 50 kicking and screaming, I reluctantly admit to having to change a few of my travel habits.  Actually it's been more like gradually adding new travel necessities to my suitcase and day pack:

Reading glasses - It all started with reading glasses.  How annoying to have to fish these out of the bottom of my purse while walking on the Champs Élysées just to glance briefly at my Paris city street map!  A grave inconvenience and new to me, since I never had to bother with vision correction any time before in my life.

Magnifying mirror - Related to the nuisance of vision correction is the need to tote along on one's travels a magnifying mirror of large enough size to apply makeup.  The one I use at home has a suction cup and adheres to the wall mirror in the bathroom.  It is approximately the size of a dessert plate and is just about as inconvenient and breakable to pack as one.

Earplugs - Aha!  At least this one's not attributable to my growing old, but to my husband's growing old, as his snoring is getting worse and worse.  Eventually I might have to add "enough money for separate hotel rooms" to my list of travel necessities.

Moleskin - Why yes, I did carry a small bit of self-stick moleskin to cover the occasional heel blister caused by arduous hiking through the Alps as a spry, young backpacker in Europe; but now I plaster the soles, toes, corns, and bunions of both my tired, blistered feet with rolls and rolls of Dr. Scholl's moleskin-plus every morning on vacation before heading out just to stroll the streets for coffee.

Friction block stick - Band-Aid's Friction Block Stick was the travel product du jour for me last summer.  Reduces rubbing on skin not only from shoes, but think also friction from clothing in other nasty areas of the middle-aged body such as chicken wing arms and less-than-firm thighs.

Spanx - I'd rather not talk about it.

Extra pillow - Whether needed for lumbar support while driving, or neck contour while sitting, or between-the-knee cushion while sleeping, I sure as hell didn't need to pack this suitcase space filler when I was young.

Small portable flashlight - That's right, don't want to fall and break a hip while fumbling through an unfamiliar hotel room to the bathroom at night.  Okay, maybe I'm not that old yet, but I have rammed my bare toe into a suitcase in the dark enough times to warrant my always sleeping with a travel flashlight next to my bed now.

So, these are a few of my favorite things.  Join me in a few years when I've added orthopedic walking shoes and a day of the week pill dispenser to my must-have travel accessories!


  1. Oh the earplugs one hits home for me, but (and I'd better make this perfectly clear) it has nothing to do with Lori snoring. I can't do concerts without them anymore, and I'm starting to regret all the time I spent making fun of the old folks with earplugs in when I was younger. I'm with you on the extra pillow too. Housekeeping gets a little antsy when I call and ask for 7 extra pillows.

  2. I know what you mean about reading glasses. Hubby and I were driving somewhere and had to whip out the street map since our GPS wasn't working. Sadly, neither of us could make out the print and figure out where exactly to go. We had left the kids with their grandparents, so they were of no help.

  3. I have just had to give in and buy some reading glasses as well because I was relying on my kids to read the fine print for me!

  4. These things are so necessary and important when travelling! Very informative post!


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