Traveling Injured

I travel light, but still have to carry my 20-lb bag up/down stairs at times. In England, many hotels don't have elevators. The Tube in Paris, the downstairs loo at Paddington, the bridges in Venice, the Metro in Paris. A few days into my trip my right knee and thigh became painful. I took Motrin and started avoiding stairs. Taxis became my friend when moving with luggage. I began to think my trip was unnecessarily complex-too many moves to too many places. As my body ages, along with the rest of me, I'm discovering some limitations. Hauling luggage up and down stairs will be very limited in the future. Taking taxis helps a lot. And, from now on, I will avoid hotels that have stairs but no elevator. I think I can travel independently a few more years (I'm almost 76), and am not ready to hang up my passport and walking shoes.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

After I ran out of my supply of pills I looked for Ibuprofen in pharmacies in Paris. It came in expensive bubble-packs. I bought some. I was able to find a stretchy, supportive knee brace at a reasonable price. This helped while walking.

Posted by JustTravel
San Francisco/Venezia
251 posts

Brava, Swan. I admire people who continue to travel. I am so sorry to hear about your injury. I can sympathize as I suffer from chronic knee problems. So as we get older, we continue to travel but rather slowly. This year we are strictly going to Venice staying in an apartment but may take some overnight side trips, leaving most of our stuff in the apartment.

Posted by Emily
Chicago
256 posts

All great suggestions. And maybe hotels that have people to help with luggage as well. I broke my ankle while in Europe on April 26. I was forced to check out of my hotel in Vienna because they were fully booked for the weekend and had to get on a train to Munich. After I got off the train in Munich, I was blessed to run into a beautiful young Turkish woman who was more than happy to carry my luggage to the taxi area. She refused to accept my offer of payment and told me God was taking care of me. When I arrived at my hotel, they were also extremely accomodating with my luggage, putting me in a room directly across from the elevator, and being a phone call away for any assistance.
Take care, and don't be shy about asking for assistance when you need it. Our ingrained American work ethic needs to be set aside sometimes!

Posted by Joel
Tempe, AZ, USA
835 posts

My daughter broke her foot one week before our trip to Ireland this past May. I was amazed at how helpful people were not only at the places we stayed, but at the sights we visited.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17738 posts

Swan, I'm a bit younger than you (60+) but I'm also finding that I have to slow down a bit when travelling, due to age-related aches & pains. I usually take a Taxi to the Hotel when first arriving in a city (depending on the distance), as it's just so much easier. I can still manage to haul my Backpack up several flights of stairs in Hotels with no Elevator, but of course it takes me longer than it used to. I've been adapting my travel style over the past few years, but hopefully I will also be able to keep travelling for several more years. I always pack along Motrin or similar medication on each trip. Happy travels!

Posted by Paula
Arlington, TX, USA
278 posts

Swan, I know what you are experiencing. As we age (I am 65+)we have to adjust our hotel choices and transportation choices. Always travel with your emergency medication and an ACE bandage to ward off the evil spirits. Continue to travel
until it seems an impossibility and then start cruising!

Posted by JB
Redding, CA, USA
1568 posts

I am 71 now and noticed a change a couple of months ago with a hip being touch in the mornings. Neither am I ready to hang up my passport, Birkenstocks and Tevas. My daughter and I went to Europe for 8 weeks and 8 countries when I was 65. I did not have a problem walking 5-10 miles a day. Needless to say, I am unable to do that now.
Am currently planning a trip for my grandson, his GF and I for April 2013 for a month. They will see all the sites and I will probably do things I have not had a chance to do before....sitting around coffee shops....walking and hit another coffee shop. Swan, good to hear you are not ready for the TV and easy chair. I have enjoyed your interesting and helpful posts over the years.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2457 posts

Swan, if you are in Italy and need pain relievers, you can go to a pharmacy (look for one with a "Dottore" name on it) and the pharmacist can prescribe meds. I needed an anti-inflamatory as well as a painkiller (later in the trip, not at the same time) and was able to get both from pharmacies.

Posted by Laurie Beth
Was MN, now TX
638 posts

I am 66 and have had a knee replacement for 2 years. 6 months after surgery I went on the RS Heart of France tour. Over the past few years I have always packed in addition to the ibuprofin and knee brace mentioned, BioFreeze packets. I get it at the chiropractor's office and it comes in little single use packets which easily fit in the 1 quart liquid bag. It goes on cool and becomes warm. At the end of a day a shower, BioFreeze, ibuprofin and then putting my legs up have helped me be up and ready to walk the cobblestones the next day. Also, if ibuprofen doesn't bother your tummy it comes in higher strengths in Europe without a RX. I got some 600mg in Budapest in June that were a wonder. As Rick says, keep on traveling. Also, thanks for reassuring me I have at least a decade of travel to look forward to. I live for my trips.

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1391 posts

Funny that as we all get older, out First Aid Travel Kit gets larger. Lugging those cases up and down stairs, escalators, etc. can be very hard. One wrong move, and we tweak an ankle or a knee, again. As you all mentioned, adjustments just need to be made. I enjoy driving and staying on the outskirts of the large cities and taking public trans into the city. Or, I'm adjusting to a more relaxed journey and staying in the countryside. Can't take the desire to travel to Europe out of this gal. Just have to find someone with the same passion to go with since I'm a football widow, lol.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1519 posts

Thanks for the BioFreeze tip. This summer I twisted my foot on the first night of a trip. Within an hour I could hardly walk. I filled up the hotel wastebasket w/ ice and stuck my foot in it. Took 800 mg ibuprofen. Every time I woke up I stuck my foot in the wastebasket for several minutes. The next day it was tender and I was slow, but I could walk. My husband actually enjoyed it because he thinks I go too fast and do too much, so it slowed me down for a few days.

Posted by Elaine
Columbia, SC
744 posts

Swan - you can probably travel for at least another decade. Mom is 83 and on the last trip was still good for 3-4 miles a day. Your Mindset is more important than your knees. Take a knee brace and lots of motrin and travel at your own pace.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

Thanks, everybody. I feel supported, and now I have some new ideas for making my traveling life last longer. I'm off to Hawai'i next week and will stay in an airb&b apartment. My plan is to take the shuttle from the Honolulu airport and use the public bus system to get around. I'll walk a lot, too. My luggage will be very light. I'm leaving the electronic stuff at home. I will take a cell phone and plan to use the internet at the library or in the B&B. Now, I must remember to use sunscreen.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
772 posts

Obviously no good for the OP, but there is an accessible toilet at Paddington station that is on the concourse level for those who can't manage the stairs. Just ask at the station reception on platform 1. Hope that helps someone in the future.

Posted by Betty
Missouri City
201 posts

My husband has arthritis in his feet so the last few yrs we have looked for hotels with elevators or rooms on a ground floor. We are in our 60's and hope to travel for many more years. Next year, we are taking our first river cruise on the Danube where we can unpack once and will not have any luggage to haul around. My husband likes this idea alot. Keep enjoying your travels, Swan. It's probably the thing that is keeping you young!