Super-senior’s travel adaptations

By Bobbi Benson
This item appears on page 28 of the March 2020 issue.

The article “Travel Tips for the Less Able,” by Paula Prindle (Jan. ’20, pg. 40), was good. I will be 80 this year. I’m blind in one eye, my hearing isn’t perfect, and my knees now balk at stairs. But I still love to travel, even though I’ve lost my travel buddies! Every country has its beautiful parts that are awesome to see and good people who are worth meeting and understanding.

So that travel is more comfortable and doable, there are a number of adaptations I’ve made or considered, and I thought others might find them helpful:

• Flying business class instead of economy for the later travel years

• Packing only what I, myself, can still carry (14 lbs. is my limit)

• No longer sharing a room with a stranger (although they were lovely people)

• More cruising

• Shorter tours. Taking custom tours (at a slower pace) and doing half-day touring, which includes being back by naptime! 

• Early dinners (6 p.m., even if it’s a picnic in my room)

• Walking limited to 3 miles a day. No hiking up mountains or sleeping on floor mats

• Accommodations with elevators and shower stalls instead of tubs

Lest you get the idea I’m completely decrepit, I pedal around town daily on a trike, have led a hiking group for 16 years (we’re now in our 70s to 90s) and do the landscape work around my condo building, not to mention other community and family activities. I still enjoy international travel but now with a more honest assessment of what I can no longer do or, frankly, what I even wish to do.

I no longer have the stamina nor the time for month-long bus or land tours. Besides, I’ve already seen paper and silk being made and rugs being woven. I’ve done school and orphanage visits that made me cry and I made the donations and bought the souvenirs, which I’m now giving away!

Because I move slower now, watching every step, I move over to let people pass. And I don’t want to ruin anyone’s trip by slowing down the tour group or having to ask for special favors or for the front seat in the van every day.

I take day trips from just one or two cities to catch the “don’t miss” attractions and get the flavor of the country. I tack on how-did-I-miss-that places to the beginning or end of the basic trip.

I use Visit A City ( or Viator ( to find guides, each of whom picks me up in their own vehicle at my hotel.

Some travelers who need more help even hire a companion for their trip, someone to make arrangements, carry luggage or drive.

Sure, all of these measures make travel more expensive, but what the heck. It won’t be forever!

I would like to hear from super-seniors on how they adapt their travel, making it more physically comfortable and doable. I’d also like to know of any companies that offer tours geared toward super-seniors.*


Burlingame, CA

*Write to or to Super-senior Travel Tips, c/o ITN, 2126 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818. Responses will be shared with ITN readers.