Whether your vacation consists of relaxing by a pool or striking out on a safari, planning is essential, and any safe and fun vacation starts with planning your medications. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you get what you need – even if the prescription refill falls on a day you’ll be gone.
If you’re flying, medications should be the first priority in your carry-on bag. And be aware of changes in time zones so you don’t miss taking those pills. Bring an extra pair of eyeglasses and hearing aids, if you use them. What could be worse than going to view exotic birds and not being able to hear or see their beauty? Take an empty water bottle to fill up after you go through security at the airport. You can fill it up in the terminal and use it to take pills or just quench your thirst.
Find luggage with wheels that have a 360 degree turning radius. They’re much easier to handle and can spin around in small areas such as an elevator. Another helpful tool is a folding cane that comes with a small seat. It comes in handy when you’re waiting in line.
If you anticipate needing help getting through airport security, call TSA Cares (offered by the Transportation Security Administration) at 855-787-2227. Airports provide wheelchairs or rides to the gates – if you call ahead. The lady I spoke to was pleasant and the service is free.
When you book your hotel or cruise ship cabin, tell your booking agent about your needs so you get the right the room. Those rooms aren’t always handicap friendly.
Part of the fun of vacationing is sightseeing. Most tours provide information about wheelchair access, but if you use a cane or a walker, find out if the tours require long walks, uphill climbs or cobblestone steps. An interesting and helpful web site is www.sath.org (Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality), which can help you find everything from easy-access tours to scooter etiquette.
Since you can’t always use your credit card on vacation, you’ll need to tuck away some cash in a convenient place. Keep some small bills handy for tips.
On the fashion front: pack only what you need and keep it lean and mean. I go through my closet 10 times before a trip and always end up taking way too much and bringing home a bunch of things I never wore. Pack comfortable shoes and outfits that can be mixed and matched with each other.
Remember, you’re allowed 50 pounds per piece of luggage and your credit card weighs a lot less than those five pairs of shoes you might never wear! Since one of the joys of traveling is shopping, save room in your suitcase for those souvenirs you want to bring home.
Get a good night’s sleep before you leave and remember your pictured identification. If you go someplace fun, let me know!
Marla Luckhardt is a Discovery Bay resident and member of the East Contra Costa Senior Coalition. She works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. To contact her, e-mail email@example.com.