Tips To Plan Vacations For Senior Citizens With Limited Mobility
VACATION IDEAS FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS TROUBLE WALKING
At ForeverBarcelona Tours we are often contacted by people with walking issues that are considering touring with us. We are always happy to take them an design an itinerary that caters their special needs and interests. And that’s how we’ve learned a lot about how travel for seniors with limited mobility works.
How to plan vacations that don't require a lot of walking:
Be mindful of your hotel location
When booking your accommodation, first and foremost, beware of hotels in the oldest areas of a city. In Europe, many old districts are pedestrian and the alleys very narrow. And that may mean that a taxi driver won’t be able to drop you by the door. Which is specially bad when you arrive or depart with your luggage!
Consider also how much or how little walking you can take. If walking a couple of blocks is fine, then choose a hotel in a main avenue that is close to a handful of top sites and restaurants. But if you need pretty much door-to-door service and will be mostly taking taxis when you go out, then you don’t need as much of a central hotel, but one that has a taxi stop nearby and that fulfills your other needs.
Choose an accomodation that covers your needs and likes
If you keep a routine of exercises for your limited mobility issues, then look for a hotel with a gym. If you like swimming, find a hotel with a pool or on the beachfront. If you are into cocktails, book a hotel with a great cocktail bar or a nice rooftop bar (accessible by lift, of course).
If you love high end cuisine, check out hotels with Michelin star restaurants. You’ll be out and about most of the day, so if you can stay at the hotel for some of your favorite activities, that’ll help keeping your energy levels high.
Book appropriate tours for seniors with limited mobility
Just take into account that sometimes the steps to access the bus can be tall and difficult depending on your degree of mobility challenges. And that accessing the top deck might be beyond your possibilities as well.
Should you join a group bus tour? At this point I assume you’ve already ruled out joining a step-in walking city tour. But what about bus tours? I’m afraid that might not be the right solution for you. Often group bus tours don’t just show you the city from the bus.
They are likely to include portions of walking around pedestrian areas or sites. And since these tours run on a tight schedule, they cannot afford to keep waiting for slower passengers. You’ll end up feeling tired, dragged and not cared for when the guide starts talking and you are still making your way to the group.
The ultimate solution is to book a private tour. The companies that specialize in private tours like us love to adapt to each client needs and wants. We can design an itinerary and timing that matches your pace and energy levels, taking into account steps and cobblestone areas to avoid. And even provide a private driver.
Consider special gear for mobility challenged travelers
What if there was a way to make your sightseeing smoother? There are canes and walkers that incorporate a seat. This is a great option if you can walk enough to follow a tour that is partially walking but standing is hard for you.
You might also want to consider renting a wheelchair (but check first how wheelchair-friendly your destination is). Motorized scooters are also a great option because you won’t rely on someone else pushing. However, they are heavier.
Be prepared to use taxis
When walking is not a desirable option, using public transportation can be… well, worst. So unless your budget allows for a private driver, you’ll be depending on taxis a lot.
Make sure to find out where is the closest taxi stop to your hotel, get familiar with the local taxi fares, check if they can take credit card or cahs is required, find out if tipping is customary and how much is expected, and other perks related to using taxis in your destination. There can be important differences between one city and another!
If you’ll have internet connection in your phone, booking your cab using a local taxi app can be a good way to avoid being cheated. Oh, and remember Uber might be forbidden in certain areas!
AND FINALLY! The one tip that will make a difference for your limited mobility vacation
Don't pack your schedule
And you might need to take detours to avoid stairs and other obstacles, what results in needing more time for sightseeing. Don’t be too ambitious. Unless you are on a private tour where a pro has planned your itinerary according to your needs, stick to one top site per day.
Be it one museum, one attraction or one building you want to enter. And when possible, schedule it for the morning when your energy levels are higher. Yo can also research if there’s anything else nearby that you can see from outside.
Something that is reasonably close and within a walking distance you can cover, in case you have some extra time left. And maybe find a lovely place to eat over there. Then reserve the afternoon for tranquil activities.
Seating by the pool or the beach, going to the spa, maybe some light easy shopping… Reserve your energy for dinner in a restaurant in an area you haven’t visited yet. Or maybe attend a local show. Of course, making sure a taxi can drop you off by the door and that the venues are fully accessible.
To a successful vacation despite your limited mobility!
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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Last update on 2022-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API