Travel keeps you young

I am currently planning my 13th European trip to Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. I am 72 years old. I have always planned my own trips and have "led" the trips with 1-4 other people including my husband, childre, grandchildren or friends. My longest trip was 3 months long and covered most of Europe. Except for one week long house rental in Provence, I've never stayed in one place longer than 3 days. I've rented cars in France and once in Italy otherwise it's been mostly trains. My husband & I have rented a barge on the Canal du Midi in France for a week 4 times. In 2011 I spent 49 days in Europe. My husband and I met my sister and husband in Spain for a week; went to Paris to meet my 16 yr old grandson and then to southwest France/Canal du Midi to reconnect with my sister and to rent a barge for a week. My husband and sister went home and grandson & I trained to Frankfurt to meek my other daughter and grandaughter (16). Off by train down the Rhine,etc, Hallstatt, Austria, Laussanne, Switzerland, Venice by night train, another night train to Sorrento, back to Rome (grandson went home). Daughter & grandaughter & I then went to Florence,back to France where we picked up a car. Drove to Nice, Carcassonne, Beynac, the Loire valley and back to Paris. Yes, I was tired but wouldn't trade it for the world. I've used Rick's books since 1994 and they are great. Only complaint is the back doors aren't "back" any more. Just want to encourage anyone who is in reasonable physical condition to go for it. I enjoy the planning almost as much as the trip. I have enough experience to know how approximately how much time it takes to get from A to B which helps a lot. I've never used this board before this trip but it is a great source of information. I'm happy to answer any questions if I can help. As Rick says "Happy Travels"! Barb

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3694 posts

I loved reading this Barb, thanks for posting it. You're an inspiration and you sound like a lot of fun! I've done a lot of long trips in Europe too, in addition to having lived there, and I just never can get enough. I always look forward to going back. Happy future Travels to you!

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8729 posts

Barb great to read you are still happily travelling about ( but mind you nowadays 72 is not as old as it used to be, lol ) but you must have more stamina then I do since if I did all that travel time in one year and never stayed more then 3 days in one place I would be exhausted, and you have about 20 years on me!

Posted by JB
Redding, CA, USA
1568 posts

Wonderful post Barb! Hopefully, it will encourage older travelers to travel more and see the world. I am 71 and planning another trip to Europe in the spring with my grandson (27) and his GF. Unless, however, their plans change. I also do the daily planning in advance of the trip....even our travel days. My daughter and I went to Europe for 8 weeks ...8 countris and I planned it. Nothing went wrong. The only tour I've taken was for 14 days to Israel. By far Israel has the best food I've had. Thanks again for encouraging post.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2744 posts

Barb: You are an inspiration. It sounds as if you've figured how to travel through the path of least resistance. I'm glad you've had friends and relatives that have the resources to meet you for a few days and then gone their own way. I'd hate to think I'd have to spend 3-4 weeks with our children 24 hours a day. Coming and going is the way to go, and having time to do your own thing is very preferable. Life is so short. We've seen so many people retire only to have serious health issues that limit any kind of travel, much less international. My wife has a bad back, and we're trying to get our international travel out of the way. Unfortunately, the more places you see, the more places you realize you've never seen. Travel is a disease; but a good disease to have. Keep up the good travel!

Posted by Barb
Andover, MN, USA
205 posts

Thanks to all of you for your responses. I often feel like people may think that I'm bragging when I talk about my trips. Actually, I feel very blessed that I have had the health and resources to take these trips. I agree that travel is a disease - but a good one. I'd love to read/hear about your experiences - either on this board or PM. Happy New Year. Barb

Posted by Elaine
Columbia, SC
800 posts

That's one of the best thing about this website. It's a great place to tell about your travel adventures. No one here will think you are bragging (unless you are over-the-top-pretentious)and they will truly be interested. Not like people in the real-world. I hardly ever talk to co-workers or friends about the trips I plan or take; they do react "funny", and I am never sure if they think I am bragging since Europe is SO unattainable, or so they think; or if they are just toally uninterested. It makes me uncomfortable so I just don't say much.

Posted by Wray
Boston, ma, usa
294 posts

My husband is 72. It never dawned on either of us that this was anywhere near too old to travel. We do discuss when 'someday' long in the future, we are older and less mobile, our trips will be to major cities; ie, Paris, where we can sit in a cafes as long as we want, enjoy a foreign language and watch people. So I'm a little shocked to see that some people think that 72 is a mile stone for traveling. My grandparents, long ago, traveled until they died in their late 80's. I suggest setting the bar a little higher.

Posted by Rod
Deary, ID, USA
4 posts

Barb, Thank you for the great report.We have made several trips on our own to many of the places you mentioned, driving, trains;etc. We always tell our friends who wonder why, we say as long as we can walk 5 miles a day on cobblestones we will keep going back, so far in good health @68. We were in croatia/Slovenia in early April, perfect time, beautiful spring weather, friendly people still recovering from the 90's war. Please see Plitovice National park (stay at Teena's House B&B) wonderful family, see Lake Bled,(take the boat ride out to Island & church) stay in Bled and drive at least a portion of Virsic Pass,beautiful secenery.You can go thru the tunnel to Austria and be in or near Saltzburg in 2 hours. We always use Rick for most of our travel ideas. Happy Travels, ROD-Deary,Idaho

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3082 posts

In my experience, getting through airports is the biggest challenge of traveling. Sometimes a one-mile walk is required just getting from the plane to passport control. If you can comfortably walk a mile pulling carry-on luggage, you are probably in good enough condition for Europe. Folks with less mobility than this can also travel, with help. Buses, taxis, and other forms of travel can make transit easy. If you are limited in mobility, stay in one city in a hotel with elevator. Take limited trips around town to visit places you are interested in; take taxis if necessary. As I get older (I'm 76), I feel my limitations. Will that keep me from traveling? Not so far! I'm using taxis when moving with luggage to my hotel. I take buses more often so I can avoid the stairs at Tube/Metro. I choose hotels with elevators. I don't rush around like I did in my earlier travels. I still enjoy myself. When I am home, I stay fairly active. Most days I walk a couple of miles, do yardwork, and keep as healthy as I can. I have health problems, but with care and good medical attention, I feel "normal" enough to live a full life.

Posted by Barb
Andover, MN, USA
205 posts

Thanks to all of you who have posted here. I was surprised that there has been so much response! It is really special and encouraging to trade experiences. Rod, we are going to Plivitce Lake but we are taking a bus. We weren't too comfortable driving. Hopefully it will work smoothly - either way it will work out. That I know from experience! We are also going to Lake Bled & Ljubjana where we will fly back to Paris. Can't go to Europe without spending a couple of days in Paris! Thanks again. Barb

Posted by Jerry&Stelly
Dallas, TX, usa
163 posts

What a wonderful post. We are in our 70's and hope to travel as long as our money holds out. We also use trains and buses and find it lot more interesting and sometimes a little frustrating but a great way to travel. We are going to Lisbon and then into Spain for 7 weeks, then are flying our two 15 year old grand daughters to Madrid to meet us spend some time there then going to Barcelona. These two girls are as different as night and day (one 5'11 and an athlete who never met a ball she didn't try to master, and the other 5'0 and a ballerina). This is the first time we will travel without their parents along and we are hoping all will go well. They also live in different cities. We know we will have a good time and we hope they will enjoy the experience too. We took them and their families to Florence in 2010 and it worked out well. We don't think 70 is old either. Three years ago we spent two months in Italy and walked 350 miles (yes we had a pedometer). You are only as old as you feel. And traveling does keep you young. We plan everything from Rick's books since our first trip to Italy in 2007.
We are also hooked on traveling.

Posted by JB
Redding, CA, USA
1568 posts

The only thing I have had to change due to my age is I now travel with a folding travel chair and a folding travel walking cane with lights. They are very light weight and come with their own bag. My day back pack fully loaded still does not pose a problem....neither does my 21" Roll Aboard.

Posted by Barb
Andover, MN, USA
205 posts

Hi Jerry & Stelly
Thank you for sharing your adventures. I am sure that your grandaughters, cousins I presume, will have a great time. During the time both of my grand kids were with me it was great. They interacted so well even though they don't see each other very often as one lives in Minnesota and one in New Jersey. It was especially beneficial during long and possibly boring train rides. MY daughter (mother of the girl) was along also. Several times all 4 of us shared the same hotel room without a problem. Luckily, my grandson can get ready in less than 10 minutes and the grandaughter showered at night. I have 4 more grand kids coming along, three 16 yrs old and one 12. It hasn't worked out to plan a trip for them yet - summer sports!!! Hope the funds hold out as well as our bodies. Footnote: I am originally from Tyler, TX but haven't lived there since I was in my early 20's. Have lived lots of places - where I got my love of adventure travel? Raised my 5 children in Anchorage, AK where my youngest son & family live. Been in MN for 13 years and here to stay. One of my daughters, husband & 3 kids live 3 blocks away. I am blessed. Would love to hear about everyones trips! Barb

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
4030 posts

Tyler?!? I'm from Jacksonville!!! (and how about that certain Heisman Trophy Winner, huh? Gig 'em!) I've already decided I'd like you to adopt me ;-)

Posted by gone
2081 posts

barb, I started traveling solo last year and i agree that the planning is part of the fun. i wish i had the feeling for getting from A to B but thats part of the fun too and to find ways to do it. I like RS books too, but use other book and the www as needed and sometimes this board. what ive found is that yes, travel can keep you young. but i will add heart. but i also feel that travel everyday im walking around especially in the morning when my muscles and joints are saying....not again.... happy trails.