I am on my third cruise. I boarded the Viking Sun in Buenos Aires, Argentina after flying overnight from Albuquerque. I was allowed 2 checked bags, one carry-on and one personal item by the airline. Most old people pack too much; and, I am no exception; however, I kept to one checked bag and one personal item and even that was too much.
No matter how you work it, you are going to have to lift bags, roll bags, and deal with bags beginning with getting them out your front door and into the car. Then, there is check in, retrieving bags at the destination, and customs. Finally you have to negotiate the bags, and watch them, in getting to the ship.
Once aboard the ship, you discover that the staterooms are smaller than the rooms at assisted living, especially if you are sharing one with a spouse. The closets are small, the drawers are small and there is little, if any, extra storage space. Fortunately, at least on Viking, there is room under the bed for 4 suitcases, one carry-on and a few personal items.
Then, unless you are in a high-end stateroom, there is barely enough room to turn around, much less to sort your clothing on a daily basis and keep the clean stuff separate from the dirty.
The question is why! Where are you going? What is the purpose of the trip? What do you really need?
The Viking Sun is great! Jeans and shorts are only prohibited in Speciality dining rooms and The Restaurant at dinner. There are free washers and dryers on each deck. The bottom line is that you can deal, even if you are old.
My trip was from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Santiago, Chile around cape horn. It lasted 18 days.
I am old. I take a shower every day. I might even wear the same clothes two days in a row.
Like most old men, I have a “uniform.” I wear comfortable jeans, and have never been denied access, even to 4 star restaurants – with a turtle neck and a jacket, you can go anywhere. Old men have become more stylish, wearing jeans, since it is impossible to find checkered pants with zippers that don’t work. The last ones I saw were on my father, years ago.
So for a 3-week trip on a cruise ship, what do you really need:
Jeans, heavy travel shirt, light weight rain jacket, walking shoes, underwear all worn.
Enough clothing for 7 days – I don’t really want to do laundry every day.
7 socks, underpants, black t-shirts.
Tai Chi slippers – good for fitness center and walking around on ship.
7 assorted shirts that don’t need ironing
Swim suit – for sauna, etc.
Work out shorts
Light weight pants that you can sleep in or wear in an emergency.
REI light weight travel pants that will get you past the “no jeans” restriction in the fancy dining rooms.
1 turtle neck
A vest that with pockets to wear on trip and finesse on formal occassions – easy to run through security and safer than having everything in pants pocket. See blog where I left my driver’s license in security check in and couldn’t rent a car.
Everything the same color, so you only have to use one washer and dryer.
One big problem old people have is keeping track of things. With 3 bags of clothing on a trip, you have no idea where everyhting is which leads to frustration and confusion.
You didn’t get old and able to take this trip by being stupid.
American Air Lines has introduced its Basic Economy Fare. Other airlines, except Southwest, are charging for checking, carry-on, and for anything that you can’t stick under the seat.
This is great. I am cheap. Now I am forced to travel as a minimalist, which is better for me. I can enjoy the journey; and, not worry about dealing with luggage.
Have you ever seen an old person trying to hoist their bag into an overhead bin? Not a pretty sight. Have you seen an old person dragging a large suitcase through the airport? Do old people really need to dress up when traveling?
I have written on this before. But now, I am forced to take a new look.
I like Rick Steves and have taken 4 trips with his organization. He sells the Euro Flight Bag (14 x 13 x 8) and it fits under the American Airlines seat with room to spare. I don’t need as much seat room since I have lost an inch or two in the last few years, and expect to lose a bit more as my pending osteoporosis develops. This bag should fit under any airline seat.
For any length of trip:
The jeans that I wear. Acceptable anywhere I might go, if clean and neat. Better than the checkered pants with the zipper that didn’t work of previous generations.
7 black t-shirts
7 pair of socks
Shoes that I wear
Light weight travel pants.
Light weight pants that I can sleep in, or use informally.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, aspirin, ibuprofen
Tai Chi slippers
I-pad with over 500 books, NY Times, Albuquerque Journal and magazine subscriptions’
Pack-It Jacket with internal pockets.
Emergency rain jacket -ScotteVest
Notebook and pens
Glasses and hearing aid
3 shirts – long-sleeved or short-sleeved depending on weather.
Cell phone with camera and Google Maps
Questions to ask:
- Can I wash my clothes for the cost of checking or the carry-on fee?
- Can I lift a bag into overhead by myself?
- Do I have to pack anything different from what I wear at home?
- Will anyone laugh at me? Do I care?
- Can i wear this on a cruise ship?
- Will this work in winter? What do I need to add, besides a heavier jacket and gloves?
- Am I going to a place with stores?
- Do I need anything else?
Airline baggage limits are a positive. Like a lot of parameters they benefit you in unintended ways. There is a lot to be said for not traveling with a lot of stuff that you don’t need when you are over 75. Keep moving, but reduce your load.
Old and going on a beach vacation doesn’t require much. I am a minimalist senior. I can’t tote heavy bags, much less lift them into the overhead airplane compartment. I don’t want to sort things. I am in an “elder rut” and only wear certain easy things I like. I usually leave my checkered pants with the zipper that doesn’t work at home.
In fact, as you can see from the picture, this does not just apply to beach vacations, but to any trip you take after 75, or some other arbitrary date.
I am not going to impress anyone if I don’t wear the latest styles. I won’t be denied admission to any beach restaurant as long as I have the required “shirt and shoes.” I have thought about not wearing pants, but…..
You also have what you wear from home to the beach; and, which can serve in an emergency as extra clothing. It might include an umbrella, raincoat, watch, cell-phone, wallet, travel bag and a light jacket. When you arrive, you take it off: when you leave, you put it back on. No washing necessary.
The following is all that you need for a week, a month or a year. You can wash it all in the sink. During rainy season, you might add an umbrella, or just stay inside.
The following is all you need for a week, a month or a year.
- Shorts with pockets that don’t lose change and wallet.
- 5 t-shirts
- 5 underpants
- Toilet kit with meds
- Laptop, i-pad, case and chargers. You download all your books on the Kindle App., and net flex and perhaps some streaming.
It all fits in a small carry-on bag, including the lap-top or i-pad and cords.