Please sign in to post.

Traveling with Senior Parent Recommendations

I will be visiting the Netherlands in a few months with my girlfriend and elderly mother. Current plan is to base our stay in Amsterdam and day trip (maybe an overnight) from there. I was there many years ago and remember dealing with the stairs. Does anyone have Hotel or Aribnb recommendations that might be more accessible for seniors? I have been using the filters on Airbnb and Booking.com, but figured I would ask as well. We would prefer to stay closer to the museums or in a neat neighborhood, rather than city center.

I was also wondering about traveling by train/public transportation with luggage larger than a carry on. I saw some information on luggage storage options, but if we decide to stay in a different city for more that a few nights, I am sure they will want to bring their luggage. Metro looks to be a bigger problem than the trains. Options?

Thanks

Posted by
655 posts

You might want to try a chain hotel, which is more likely to have elevators. Have a look at the Amsterdam Marriott Hotel. I stayed nearby at Helmers B&B and walked by the Marriott everyday and it looked very nice. It is in a good part of town near Vondelpark and the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum.

Posted by
23384 posts

I agree with Dawn. Hotels will likely have lifts/elevators, and private homes or B&B's probably won't, and they will very likely have steep stairs.

Posted by
1005 posts

If you want to stay in Amsterdam and also do day trips with an elderly person, I'd suggest staying at one of the business-class hotels by the train station. That way you have the tram system for exploring the city, and the train system for day trips, both nearby. Do not stay in a canal house unless they have an elevator (and most don't). The stairs are much too steep for most seniors. I would seriously consider just doing day trips and staying in one location for your entire trip, depending on how mobile your party is. Amsterdam is well connected to the rest of the country, so you can do visit places such as Haarlem, Delft, Rotterdam, Leiden, etc. in a day. This avoids carrying your luggage all over the Netherlands.

Posted by
5284 posts

How frail is this "elderly" person ? A number of people posting here about their travels are 70+ and still active, although making allowances for stairs (look for elevators or ask for a lower floor), toting luggage (pack light and use carry-on size bags -- it can be done), mobility issues (taxis can be your friends.)

Posted by
3 posts

My mom is still mobile on her own, but should limit the stairs as much as possible. One or two flights max without a lift or me around to help.

Posted by
11153 posts

Just to agree with the other replies. The "stairs" in the Netherlands would be called "ladders" anywhere else - they are comically steep (except one stops laughing when one has to actually climb them, and it's really a problem with luggage).

T.s' idea of staying at a chain hotel near the train station is a good one. I understand wanting to be near the museums, but only if you can find a place that definitely has a working elevator. Otherwise, you'll all be sorry.

As for public transportation, most of the transit within Amsterdam for visitors is by trams (or on foot); the buses and metro go to few places of tourist interest. Between cities, you'll take trains, and sometimes buses. Rick's book has all the details, or you can use https://9292.nl/en to find exact transit directions between any two points in the country.

Posted by
1803 posts

Conscious Hotel Museumplein. Has an elevator, rooms are a good size, evening wine hour, you & your girlfriend can rent bikes from them if you want to ride in Vondelpark or through the city. At the end of the street is the concert hall if you want to get tickets for an evening performance. Also at the end of the street are multiple tram lines and the bus that will get you to/from the airport. It's right near many museums (Rijks, VanGogh, Stedelijk, Moco). And depending how mobile your mom is, De Pijp is a "neat neighborhood" that's walkable from the hotel and has good restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and the Albert Cuypstraat (good street market with food vendors). If your mom is not able to walk for 15 minutes, then it's a quick tram or taxi ride to the heart of De Pijp. Similarly, about 20-25 minutes in the other direction is Oud-West (again, good neighborhood for eating/drinking/shopping - Foodhallen is over that way) or catch the trams headed in that direction.

Can't help you with the luggage question as I only use a carry-on. But if you are looking for hotels in some other cities that are accessible for a senior, I'd recommend Hotel Ibis City Center Rotterdam (easy walk to Markthal, the cube houses and transit to get around city) and in Utrecht try Mother Goose Hotel. Both of them have an elevator - but do note that there are a few rooms at Mother Goose on their highest floor which require climbing up 4 to 5 steps so be sure to let them know you do not want one of those rooms for your mom.

Posted by
3246 posts

This is an often-discussed issue here: "I was also wondering about traveling by train/public transportation with luggage larger than a carry on. ...if we decide to stay in a different city for more that a few nights, I am sure they will want to bring their luggage."

Part of the issue with luggage larger than carry-on is that it's hard to get the pieces on and off the train in the time you have to board. Also, there will likely be stairs up to and down from (or vice versa) the platforms, not to mention the steep ones on and off the trains themselves. There may be elevators, but in my experience they are often not close to the platform I need, requiring long walks both directions.

Here's where the packing light advice comes in, along with the concept of each person being able to manage what they bring. I'm now 73. I use Schiphol as my connecting airport no matter where I go in Europe, with jet-lag recovery at the beginning of my trips and at least one night before I fly home in Amsterdam or Haarlem.

In 2017, I stayed in a B&B on an Amsterdam canal about a 10 minute walk from the train station. The stairs to my room were typical for a 17th century Dutch house, narrow triangular treads, steep risers and curved. The staircase itself was so narrow that I couldn't take my carry-on bag up or down with me and hold onto the rail at the same time. The owner took it up and brought it down.

I hate having to depend on someone else to do things like that, but the treads were too narrow to set the bag down, go up or down a few steps and repeat. You don't want to do that yourself, much less for 3 people.

This year I chose an historic hotel in Haarlem that had an elevator for my jet-lag hotel. Similarly, my last night hotel was close to the airport with a shuttle and an elevator, but I was on the ground floor so it wasn't really needed.

If you can find a hotel for the 3 of you, with an elevator, in a location you like and at a price that works for you, snap it up!

Now for some packing references for your mom and SO, accessible from or on this RS website.

Travel Tips: Packing Light.

Sarah Mudoch's Packing Light & Right video.

Travel Forum: Packing. Here's where they'll get lots of opinions on packing, not all of the same packing light type.

Posted by
16748 posts

It's much easier to manage luggage when traveling by bus rather than by train. If distances are short, the bus may not take too much longer, and it will likely be less expensive. Since this trip is to the Netherlands, buses may be more useful than one would imagine.

Posted by
3246 posts

Acraven is right about the buses. I took one from the airport directly to Haarlem and back rather than use the train. There's also one that goes straight to the Rijksmuseum and back.

Here's a little canned Rome2rio search link about that. Useful for the Museumplein area if you stay near there.

Posted by
2408 posts

We, too, took a bus from the airport to our hotel on a side street in Museumplein. We stayed at Hotel Fita and loved it. Their breakfast is the best breakfast we have had at a hotel. This hotel has an elevator to all floors, but to get into the hotel, there are stairs into the hotel. That being said, I heard the proprietor offer a back entrance to one couple who was having a problem with the stairs, which apparently leads right into the ground floor...maybe thru the kitchen or such. As some other person above indicated, there is much to walk easily to in this area, and the trams are just at the end of the street for transport to all other areas in Amsterdam. I think our bus was 197, but don't hold me to that, but it might be a place to start.

Posted by
11153 posts

Wray's story about the Hotel Fita is what I was talking about. Just because a hotel has "an elevator" does NOT mean that all parts of the hotel are accessible without recourse to stairs. In addition to the situation she described (external stairs), I've encountered hotels where I had to climb a flight or two of internal stairs to get to the elevator, or hotels where the elevator does not go up to the top floor.

Posted by
16748 posts

I've seen the same sort of situations as Harold, plus there was the hotel in the repurposed Puigcerda train station (Spain). As I was rolling my suitcase down the hall to my upper-floor room, I suddenly had to ascend several steps and then, just a few feet farther on, descend the same number of steps.

Hotels are sometimes cobbled together from multiple buildings, and in that case some parts of the hotel may be much better served by elevator(s) than other parts. In Krakow I was offered a choice between an elevator-accessible room near a bachelor party and a room in a quieter area with one or two flights of stairs to negotiate. I figured the hotel's subtle warning should be heeded, so I chose the quiet room.