Offers insights on how to find an accessible room and suggest air travel tips for wheelers and slow walkers. Dish info on the best airline bathrooms and the hassle-free ways to deal with airport security.

RTW traveling for older/disabled people

Tracy Ann

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  • Added on: August 26th, 2005
Hey guys, my aunt is going on a RTW trip when she retires 4.5 years from now - she's already started thinking about it and planning. She won't be that old, but she doesn't do very well with excessive walking/stairs, probably can't do a backpack and she has diabetes which requires insulin shots. She's also very overweight which may present problems on crowded buses/trains/planes. She wants to see EVERYWHERE which I'm sure will include everything from major cities to backwoods places in some underdeveloped countries.


I'm absolutely not suggesting physical limitations should keep her from her trip, I'm just wondering, does anyone have experience with traveling under these conditions?

Any tips/insight on
-luggage to use as opposed to a regular backpack
-traveling with diabetes
-traveling with a physical limitation
would be FABULOUS.

Do you think there are some places that should just be avoided because the ONLY things to do there are active/physical things (if so, where?) or do you think almost everywhere can be enjoyed even by the "less active"?

I'm not sure she's even thought of these things yet, so I can't just turn around and report what you've said without insulting her, but I want to have the info handy when it does come up. Thanks in advance!
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"Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on..." -Sugarland

my2thhurts

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  • Added on: August 26th, 2005
Tracy Ann,
I have similar problems with the exception of diabetes.

The only real problem that I run into is carrying things. I destroyed my legs and one arm, so luggage is a problem. A backpack is actually the best thing for me. I distributes the weight and is easier to balance. It is very difficult to walk with extra weight hanging to my sides in my hands - suitcases.

I do travel very light because while I can carry a backpack, I can't carry a heavy one. What to bring is the key and as I'm sure you know, this is different for everyone.

Finding a place to stay is usually not to tough. Naturally, I always try to find a place on the ground floor. If I can't, I look into camping or I stay out of my room until it's time to go to bed, if possible. That makes for fewer trips up and down the stairs.

I cannot think of anywhere that I wouldn't go to because it's to remote or backwoods. I surprised myself by spending 3 weeks hiking in the amazon. I had a guide and I took it as slow and easy as I needed. However, Sometime you do get somewhere and find out that you can't do everything you wanted and/or need to find a different way to do it.

A lot of times I had to wait until I got to where I was going to find a good place to stay and see how I could work things out. That was part of the fun.

Peolpe you meet on the way, whether they work where you are staying or are travelling also, will be very helpful and understanding. When you visit a small village in eastern Ukraine, there is no such thing as handicap access, but people understand and will help you.

Tell I said, "Go, go, go!"

Tracy Ann

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  • Added on: August 26th, 2005
That's encouraging, thanks Smile

Something else just occured to me as well... where should she stay?? Not because of her physical problems, but because of her age? (she will be 60) I'm thinking she's not gonna be a huge fan of dorms with drunk 18yr olds running around all the time...
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"Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on..." -Sugarland

my2thhurts

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  • Added on: August 26th, 2005
Depending on the city, 1 and 2 star hotels are fine and cheap. Especially if it is family owned.

You know how these people are, they practically adopt you. I'm 42 and I've noticed that these people go far out of thier way to help me out.

If it's off season, a hostle with private rooms would be good. While there are always some drunken 18 year olds, there are always plenty of kind, helpful ones also.

I just want to say again, that I strongly recommend a small backpack and taking as little as possible.

It would be great if your aunt joined BnA. I'm sure she would have some great ideas for the rest of us before and during her trip. I know it would be a big help for me and, I'm sure, others also.

I admire her already!

Tracy Ann

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  • Added on: August 26th, 2005
Wicked, thanks again Smile

I'm going to suggest joing boots to her at some point... not just yet - a)I'd have to delete this post b)I'm not sure I want her reading everything I post on here, lol
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"Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on..." -Sugarland

my2thhurts

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  • Added on: August 26th, 2005
Let me know, and I'll delete mine also.

Liz in Japan

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  • Added on: August 26th, 2005
My aunt came to visit me this year and she also has diabetes requiring insulin shots. Make sure she goes to her doctor and gets advice about what things will throw her sugar levels out of whack, and how to deal with time zone changes.

We brought small snacks when we were touring around - she did need them once. Sometimes excitement, extra exercise or tiredness affected her sugar levels - I'm sure her doctor will cover that with her.

I think it is awesome that she wants to go! My aunt turned 60 this year, and this was just her second time on an airplane (nice 14 hour trip LOL) - she was very nervous and worried about coming to Japan. Your aunt sounds like she is an adventurous soul, so she should be fine!

Liz
My blog: http://datigz.blogspot.com

Elis

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  • Added on: August 29th, 2005
I agree fully swith Tooth on the backpacks, they are by far the most unstressful form of luggage to transport (unless she can afford a manservant, maybe you guys could chip in for one?) . Suitcases are hell unless they have wheels and everywhere is paved. But maybe one of those combined backpacks that turns into a suitcase would be good for her? some have wheels too and then she would be totally flexible.

And people really are incredibly helpful if you have some obvious physical limitations. I was on a trip with a crutch once, looking for a bed in Dubrovnik in August. A lady at the desk of a large and fully booked-out hotel actually spent half an hour phoning around and found a private room for us. Meanwhile she politely but firmly turned away about 15 healthy, strapping youngsters. The friend of hers who rented us the private room even came to pick us up.

mdearrechea

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  • Added on: February 28th, 2006
Hi Tracy,

You can look for Accessible Tourism or Accessible Travel sites covering all over the world. I have mine for Argentina as an example.
Accessible Tourism in ArgentinaLet me know if you need more info.
Thanks,
Marcelo

Tracy Ann

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  • Added on: February 28th, 2006
Thanks! That's great! Smile
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Tracy Ann

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  • Added on: February 28th, 2006
Strangely enough, I just came across a mention of the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality. Probably never would have caught my eye, had I not received a reply to this thread this morning as well. In any case, I checked them out a little bit. Not the most comprehensible web design ever, but the info there and the mission is definitely great.

One of the more useful pages I found on the site:

Tips for Traveling with Disabilities

Includes links to info for various airlines and hotel chains, among other things.
____________
"Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on..." -Sugarland

Keppie

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  • Added on: March 17th, 2006
That's awesome that she wants to do a RTW!!!

But 4.5 years is a lot of time to prepare. Perhaps there would be a way to suggest that she start getting in shape? Maybe talking to a doc first and starting some sort of an exercise regimen. If she's in better shape, she would probably enjoy the trip more. And she wouldn't get so tired from walking around town, going up stairs, and she wouldn't have to squeeze so much to fit into seats.
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"He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch."
-Jean Luc Godard

Cheyenne

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  • Added on: May 16th, 2006
My mom travels with diabetes (insulin-dependent).
Things to keep in mind:

Bring water-activated "cool sleeve" to keep insulin cool.

Extra prescriptions for insulin, needles & test strips.

Get eye exam before trip (& full physical with labwork to see if anything's likely to "go bad."

Ask doctor if at increased risk for blood clot during flight--might need to take baby aspirin or other anticoagulants or wear special stockings for flight.

Translated letter from MD stating that it is ok to have needles and insulin and that they cannot be taken away by anyone.

Also..how about a backpack with wheels?

Good luck to her.



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