Senior Citizen Travel Stories

Dec 11th, 2009 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

After providing you with lots of links on the Internet and a few tips on what you might do to enhance your travel experiences, I now wish to share a few stories.  Some are good.  Some not so good. 

As a group leader I have met wonderful folks from all walks of life.  Retired army officers, American Express European directors, government officials, even a few ministers.  Most all were well traveled and complimentary to each trip.  There were cases however where my patience was challenged. 

On one trip a lady showed up in a wheelchair.  Another needed a wheelchair before the trip was over.  Three walked with canes.  We were in a very mountainous terrain.  I had to hire a taxi to take these five to the bus as the block from the hotel to the tour bus was uphill.  Each is what I call a “skunk in a submarine.”  It only takes ONE skunk to wreck the entire submarine! 

Perhaps you have been on a trip where a similar experience took place and made an uncomfortable environment for all.  Picky eaters, demanding and spoiled adults and people experiencing health issues who had no business being on a tiring and demanding trip.   

On one trip each participant was told to pack one suitcase and, if desired, a carry on.  One lady showed up with three suitcases and demanded that I carry them for her.  I responded that this was not part of my job and that I had my own suitcase to take care of.  This did not please her.  As the French say…”Tant Pis” (too bad!). 

All in all, however, my trips over the years have been favorable due to the presence of travelers who appreciate aid when they need it and good information.  The Smithsonian tours always told me to “Tell them where they are, where they have been and where they are going.”  Good advice.  I even fired a tour guide once as he was totally lousy.  I read up and conducted the rest of the tour myself and was applauded for it and even given some silver dollars as tip at the end.   

Losing a passport is a real downer.  It takes a couple days at an American Embassy or Counsel to have one replaced.  Once a student could not find her passport.  My wife had to take a train with her to Paris, go to the Embassy, stay overnight, pick up the passport the next day and take a train back to the next stop the following day.  The upshot was the passport showed up in the bus; she had left it on the seat of the bus and it fell down along side of the seat.  It is illegal to have two passports but she now had two.  Even with adults, I always had a passport check before departing any city in the bus.  Fortunately it is rare to lose one but it can happen.  Don’t lose yours!   

The worse case scenario was when we were to leave Paris on a Saturday morning.  Having breakfast in the hotel a lady came up to me and told me that her purse was missing off a chair when she went to speak with friends.  I ran up to my room and fished out a copy of her passport and gave it to her.  Off they went to the Embassy.  The airline had a record of our group and provided another ticket for her and, as I recall, she was able to return to the States with only the copy of her passport.  A great site that will give you all the official information you will ever need for traveling outside the US is managed by the US Department of State.  Spend a little time with the travel site as there is a plethora of information ranging from cruises, expeditions, cheap tickets, hotels, packages, and a host of other links. 

Thanks for the visit and I look forward to your returning for more travel information.  JEB



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