[ A Swiss joke: Pauldy and Mrs Pauldy were going on a vacation. She packed almost the whole house and arrived at the station. When the train was approaching the station, Pauldy said, “darling, you should have packed the grand piano”. “Are you taking a hit at me?” A furious Madame Pauldy demanded. Gulping, Mr Pauldy stammered, “no no, it is just that our tickets are on the piano.”. We, at SeniorWorld, hope this doesn’t become a reality for you.]
Even before we list, don’t forget the list. Being systematic and orderly is probably the best quality when it comes to packing. So, that proverbial checklist should always be physically present. OK, now that you have the checklist with you, lets fill it up with things which are indispensable, especially if you are a senior.
This article isn’t an exhaustive list of things you need to carry during a vacation.
This is, rather, an effort to remind you of the things which are of pivotal importance and which, due to advancing age, we tend to forget and jeopardise the whole of the tour.
But before we move to “What To Pack”, let’s list “What To Check”. Shake ‘n Check now, don’t rake later.
What To Check
Weather: Don’t guess. Do you know French Riviera can hit a temperature of 44 degrees? Ask your tour operator, tour manager or check yourself the weather of all the places you are about to visit. Otherwise, you might end up suffering and/or be very uncomfortable during the travel.
Note: If you are planning your tour via SeniorWorld Senior Columbus, we provide all the information on the weather to anticipate as well as the clothings, counter-measures and accessories to carry.
Luggage Limit: When the airlines says 27 Kgs, they really, really mean 27 Kgs. Please learn this limit which can be found on the ticket, the airlines website or from your tour operator. Stay within this limit else be prepared to shell out strong hard cash during the check-in process or leave behind (read, let go of) your favorite shoes or “War and Peace” copy, signed by someone important.
Hotel Facilities: This is more important for senior citizens, compared to other demographies. Hotels should be ideally situated so that the trips to the local attractions are not tiring. It should have complete security, medical attendance and YES! A lift service because our knees are not often as strong as it used to be during our younger years. Above all, you have our very approachable and responsible tour manager whom you can talk to, in case you need any special favour.
What To Pack
Medicines: No substitute for this life saving little pills. Whether you are fighting a bad joint, high blood pressure, high blood sugar or something else, those little pills, that tiny insulin syringe, the capsules save your life. Forgetting the medicines is the biggest disaster for any tour as it can lead to fatal consequences. If you need special belts and/or straps, you better carry those as buying those abroad can be very costly and you might need them before you can find a replacement. I would even include reading glass and hearing aids into this.
It is better to keep medicines in the cabin handbag, for multiple reasons.
One should pack the main bags early and still might need the medicines before leaving for the airport. One might need the medicines during the flight as well. And finally, during those lightbulb moments, it is easier to check whether the medicine has been actually packed or not!
It would also be wise to carry the doctor’s prescriptions for all the medicines because medicines are one of the tricky and suspicious objects at the customs. Best you keep them in the original bottles/strips and carry the prescription.
[In a rare case where you have a steel knee/hip implant, please carry all the papers for this. For reasons known to customs alone, they create quite a fuss about it and its best left avoided.]
Passport & Visa & Ticket: A must for foreign trips, you won’t believe how many nasty surprises these tiny papers can present. Check, double check, triple check, quadruple check (and so on..) if you have put everything in your cabin baggage or handbag. And yes, do not put your passport, visa or ticket in your main baggage for the obvious reason that you need to produce them several times during check in, flight boarding and check out.
We would advise you to carry photocopies of passports, visa (if separately issued) and other travel documents and keep one set of copies in every bag. In case of a passport loss/theft these documents become lifesavers.
Hotel Reservation & Foreign Currency : OK, so now you are in the New-Found-Land, but you can’t seem to recall where you have put your hotel reservation, or even worse, whether you have put them in at all.
Even if you have put it in, which you must do well in advance, you should read carefully and the check in dates, check out dates, amenities and facilities. For senior citizens, specially, one should mind the medical attention the hotel promises to make available.
Get an idea about the expenses in the new country. While almost everything will be paid for, if you choose a holiday package like SeniorWorld Senior Columbus, some expenses are completely yours, like the shopping you want to do.
Foreign currency (or similar financial instruments like traveller’s cheque). Carrying Indian currency is alright but you often end up getting a way less conversion rate. You can check with different Forex operators in India and even haggle with them for better prices. Once abroad, you lose this power of price negotiation.
Clothes (acc. to the weather): On a trip, how many pin stripe suits would you need? Nor will you need 3 elaborate evening gowns. Refer to the first point to check (the weather) and pack accordingly. Weather and the duration of the stay should be two determining factors.
Roll (not fold) your informal clothes, under garments , special clothes and put a maximum of 3 pairs of footwear including slippers and shoes. Pack the warm clothes if you are visiting snow-clad valleys.
Handbag for valuables : For mentioned reasons above, you might already are realising how important a handbag is. Buy a strong and multi-pocket handbag where you need to keep your passport, tickets, visa (if issued separately), your medicines, your currencies, your camera, mobile, hearing aid and/or reading glasses and so on.
Pockets and waistbands become efficiently inadequate for this. Nothing like knowing your lifesavers are at one place, safe in different pockets and you can take them out at a moment’s notice. While any handbag can serve the purpose, a cross-body handbag is usually safer and easier to carry.
However, make sure it is a handbag and most airlines limit the weight to somewhere between 3-7 Kgs. They mean those limits strictly so stay within that limit else…
Electronic products and CHARGERS: No vacation is complete without those gay, cheerful and colourful images captured. Mobile, on the other hand, is needed to stay in constant touch (now, with companies offering cheap international roaming, carrying the same SIM card is so much easier) and personal healthcare gadgets like hearing aid are a must. Each of these devices come with own charger and please pack these chargers for your trip. You certainly wont want a dead mobile or camera during the trip. Most of the hotels now provide different pin type adapters so you can use your own chargers and adapters. However, these adapters don’t cost much and it would be better to play it safe and buy one of these adapters before you go.
Name tags: Don’t trust your memory, especially when you can easily write your name on the luggage. Make ample use of the name tags the airlines give you and write your name and contact in details.
Notebook: In the same vain, it is better that you jot down all the important names and numbers, including the emergency contact numbers, the doctor contact details, the tour manager’s number and SeniorWorld’s customer service number in a notebook and keep it close.
Travel Pillow: This thing is getting trendier every passing day. You must have seen these U shaped pillows, people often use during a long car ride. These are very comfortable, serving their nifty feature rather very efficiently. Even the most comfortably designed tours like SeniorWorld Senior Columbus can have a long flight or drive and these pillows will save you from a stiff neck while helping you to catch a nap.
What Not to Pack
Excessive clothing (esp formal) : Like we have pointed out before, you are not going on a business trip. Stop packing the formal shirts, trousers. Roll into pajama, swimwear, slippers and not ties and two piece suits. Weigh once you are done packing, because you are allowed 20 kg of luggage, in general.
Towels : Heavy, thick and not at all necessary, this describes towels. Its heavy so remove it because you have only 20 KG. Its thick so remove it because your bag needs space for other more important things. And it is not at all necessary because even the cheapest hotels pamper the customers with almost unending supplies of towels, clean and fresh.
Sharp objects, especially in cabin luggage: If you must carry that special nail-cutter with magnifier fitted in, better place it in the bigger bag. No sharp edge tools will be allowed in the cabin baggage and will be removed.
Cosmetics and large bottles of toiletries : Trust us, you really won’t need a 450 ml shampoo bottle during a one week vacation. Why carry then! Best is to buy small satches of those indispensable chemicals like shampoo, conditioner and lotions.
There is a difference (or a few differences) between backpacking youths and touring seniors. While thrill seeking and adventures can be USP of a backpacking holiday, a senior holiday is marked for a slower pace, more comforts in accommodation, security and amenities. This is what many tour operators tend to forget (if they manage to design a senior-friendly holiday, which, itself, is a rarity) and try the one-size-fits-all approach.
SeniorWorld Senior Columbus is markedly different for its senior-centric approach, taking care of the special needs of seniors, from allowing them more time to soak in the scenic beauties to making sure that the legspace is adequate in the coaches, this is the tour package you need, for a worry-free holiday, mingling with like-minded seniors.
With this.. we wish you……