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Stability on uneven payment

We had used walking sticks on our last trip. For this trip we had them shipped via amazon to the first hotel and left them in the last hotel. We used them all over but unfortunately neglected to use them in Naples and broke my ankle. Luckily it was at the end of our trip. I have seen “walking cane” while I really don’t need one for mobility, it sounds like you can take them on the plane and it would solve my stability problem. We plan to go to Paris and Portugal next year. I’m 61 and in good health, just a bit clumsy, and want to do what I can to protect myself. Does anyone have any experience with the Walking canes? I think for Portugal I can use Amazon Spain and have them shipped again, but this time make sure to use them. And take the advice of the older Italian I met “Piano, Piano”. Just thinking what would be best.

Posted by
2 posts

I carried my hiking poles in my carry-on last year when we went to Italy, even though TSA website says they needed to be checked in. I believe as long as they don't have sharp ends, it would be fine. I have carried my poles in my carry-on on a couple of trips on the mainland as well as to Hawaii and didn't know that they weren't allowed. I had one pole in my bag and the other in my husband's in case they confiscated one, but both were allowed through. Sorry to hear about your ankle. I'm an expert "ankle twister", so always use the poles when going on uneven surfaces to slow myself down. I bought cheaper collapsible poles as I didn't want my good one taken away. They worked great. Good luck.

Posted by
6106 posts

I'm not sure what a "walking" cane is. I've used a cane that folds, about $25 at Walgreens. I have bad knees, which have improved a fair amount. I used a cane in Sicily, especially at the Valley of the Temples and Noto where there were lots of steps and in Portugal. I really like to use it when going down hill, on stairs without handrails and when I'm fatigued at the end of the day. I do carry it on the plane.

I'm close in age to you and fairly fit. I don't typically use a cane at home and just sometimes will use hiking poles for hiking especially on uneven terrain. It is just easier to use a cane for travels and I'm always glad that I have it.

My hiking poles are expensive, I sure wouldn't chance them in carry on luggage

Posted by
3252 posts

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, just get two canes from a thrift store and then you can take them on board.
Just donate them at the end of your trip.
I took my cane on board a few years ago when I was waiting for knee surgery.
They took it away to X-ray it at security , and gave me a plain wooden one while I waited!
And they, unexpectedly, insisted I boarded in the Priority line.

Posted by
8665 posts

I bought my current cheap folding walking stick (cane or whatever you want to call it) while on RS tour in Italy. Ten euro as I recall. Probably less than the shipping you're considering.

I've taken them on the plane (folded in my carryon) after asking the TSA screener if they were OK. Identified as a medical device, not sports equipment. If they ever take it, I'll just shrug and get a new one somewhere.

Posted by
2651 posts

I have traveled with a Leki walking cane like this since 2018:

It has been to Europe at least 15 times, in and out of airports. It has been in and out of at least 12 US airports.

I collapse it down and slide it into a handle on the outside of my carryon. You can see from the picture that it has a rubber tip.

I need it for a medical reason but I have never - not once - ever been asked about it in an airport. Your experience may well turn out to be different, but I have traveled with it so many times and it’s not a problem.

If anyone ever asked, I would obviously tell them that it’s for a health issue.

That’s a key thing here in regards to the questions that come up about walking sticks. My stick is a “walking cane” - medically necessary - and it comes with me everywhere. This particular poster is asking about a walking cane for a “stability” problem - that seems like a medical issue.

Someone once - the only time, ever - questioned it in a museum in France - as a weapon, I guess - and when I pointed out that I “need” it, they stopped. While I was prepared to say “why” I used a cane, I was happy that the staff member used good discretion and stopped there.

Posted by
867 posts

According to TSA, ski and hiking poles are not allowed as carry-ons, but walking canes are allowed, provided “they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed.”
Just because someone might have had a TSA agent that let them get by with trekking poles in their carryon doesn’t mean the next person will.

Posted by
5146 posts

There is a big difference between hiking sticks and walking canes. Both in appearance and use. Usually one uses a single cane, and for proper use, needs to be sized to the individual. Some canes are telescoping and can be roughly adjusted to the proper length. Others (wooden ones) need to be cut to size at the bottom. Any store that sells them should be able to do this, or you can do it yourself if you know what you are doing. The rubber tip covering the base helps prevent slipping on slick surfaces. They are not intended for use as a hiking pole, but for stability and support on more "urban" flat surfaces and stairs.

I've been using a cane for almost 30 years now. It goes everywhere I go, including on planes. It has to go thru the scanner at security- you will be given a wooden or bamboo one if you need it to walk thru the metal detector or scanner. Over the years I've amassed a collection of canes- they have all gone thru airport security without a problem.

Posted by
6106 posts

@Valerie, your link goes to a super cute dog.

So, I looked up walking sticks, "A walking stick is used for SHORT-TERM walking assistance. Walking sticks are considered accessories rather than medical assistance devices or mobility aids like a cane".

and, "Trekking poles (also known as hiking poles, hiking sticks or walking poles) are a common hiking accessory that function to assist walkers with their rhythm, to provide stability, and reduce strain on joints on rough terrain".

When I read posts like this and others typically related to what TSA allows and doesn't allow, I've always thought about how it relates to "survivor's bias". "Survivorship bias is a type of sample selection bias that occurs when an individual mistakes a visible successful subgroup as the entire group. In other words, survivorship bias occurs when an individual only considers the surviving observation without considering those data points that didn't “survive” in the event"

TSA expressly states canes are an assistive medical device. They are allowed in carry on luggage upon inspection for those that need to use them.

If you try to carry on walking sticks/hiking poles, and similar, you may get through. Or you may be able to convince the official that you use them as a medical device and you may get through. I'm certain many do. However, technically, they are not allowed. The question comes down to, "how lucky are you" and "can you afford to lose your hiking poles". This is where survivor's bias comes in, just because a neighbor or someone on the forum or your stepsister was able to bring hiking poles in carry on luggage, will not hold a lot of weight with the TSA official.

I'm unlucky. I had a stupid metal table knife part of a table setting kit that had gone through TSA a few times. I thought it was good. It was not. The official did not care in the least that it had gone thru TSA in the past.

Posted by
14 posts

I would consult a podiatrist to see what suggestions they might have for developing greater stability. They can give you recommendations on proper foot ware as well. Begin physical therapy promptly! It definitely helped my ankle issues. Best of luck! Which tour are you doing next?