Luggage can be a burdensome but all-important part of our travel plans. Ever-changing Federal Aviation Administration regulations can also make travel with baggage difficult, especially for an elderly passenger who may also be battling with limited strength, eyesight, stamina or dexterity. There are a few characteristics, however, that one can employ in rolling luggage that can make the travel experience more fun for the elderly.
What to Look For in Rolling Luggage:
I. Multiple Handles
While more bells and whistles aren’t always welcome when it comes to elder-friendly gadgets, luggage is one exception. Numerous handles mean that a person can grab, push, pull, place, throw and lug their baggage in many different ways from many different angles. Extra handles also allow a second person to provide assistance when it comes to storing or accessing the bag — something that Boomers may appreciate when they travel with their stubborn parents.
Eagle Creek Ramble 28 Wheeled Luggage
In addition to the extendable, soft-touch handle, this luggage has numerous cloth straps, along with a handle on the top, bottom and across its front. An added plus: the bottom handle acts like a kickstand when the bag is positioned upright.
II. Well-spaced Wheels
Wheels that are placed too closely together can cause rolling luggage to tip, especially when taking corners. An overturned bag is not just an inconvenience — it can be a hazard as well. Aside from tripping the traveler behind you, a tipped bag can also roll an elderly person’s wrist, resulting in a sprang or even a fall. This is why it’s so important to check that your wheels are placed as close to the sides of the suitcase as possible. You’ll want to check your wheels before you purchase luggage, so be sure to take a few models for some spins around sharp corners.
Samsonite Cordoba 22" Expandable Upright
The wheels on this Samsonite are strategically placed near the outer corners, allowing them to equally support and balance the luggage’s weight. This will come in handy when you’re briskly walking through a terminal and navigating around people, as it can take sharp corners easily without tipping. Obviously, another way to eliminate tipping is to pack lightly.
III. Accessible Compartments
Your luggage should have a good mix of large, medium and small compartments to accommodate items of all sizes. Some elderly individuals have problems accessing small compartments, however, making lighting and the location of these compartments key. While most luggage companies don’t place lights inside the bags, many will keep smaller compartments near the top of the suitcase, where light is more apt to penetrate. Individuals who have a particularly difficult time with smaller compartments should rely on suitcases with numerous medium-sized compartments that can hold smaller travel bags and makeup kits.
Traverse 80 Wheeled Luggage
This luggage’s interior is ideal of seniors for two reasons. One, it has great color contrast, with black mesh compartments layered against an orange lining, making all the little nooks and crannies easy to locate. Two, these compartments are nicely sized. Some can accommodate, separate and lock into place larger items like shoes, while others can store toiletries, jewelry or medications
IV. Color Contrasts
Everyone wants their luggage to look sleek, but the elderly may also benefit from color contrasts, especially when it comes to zippers and handles. Pick luggage that has stand-out colors will allow the user to quickly and easily locate any zipper or handle.
Kiva SILK Collection 24" Upright
has mentioned numerous times that black text on a yellow background seems to be the ideal color contrast for senior eyes, especially when it comes to computers. Though this logic could seemingly apply to luggage material and zippers as well, we don’t know too many brands that make stylish yellow luggage, nor many seniors who would want to buy them. Nevertheless, seniors can still buy luggage with easy-to-see zippers, handles and compartments by choosing colors like reds, light blues and greens that will contrast with the traditionally black or silver compartmental linings and zippers. This Kiva SILK upright, in maroon, may help aging eyes.
V. Easy-to-Operate Features
Speaking of zippers and handles — they should also be easy to operate! The zipper should move back and forth with ease, and the handle should willingly raise and lower. Many newer luggage models require users to push a button on the handle before it releases. This extra step may not be easy for elderly travelers, but it’s difficult to find luggage without it. Therefore, it’s best to find a handle that has a differently colored, clearly labeled and easily pushed button. If you have to push this button two or three times to get it to release the handle it’s time to move on to a better model.
Travelpro Crew 7 24" Expandable Upright Suiter Rolling Luggage
Travelpro’s Crew line has ergonomically designed zipper pulls that allow users to open and close their luggage with minimal strength or effort. The push-button handle isn’t color contrasted, but the button is noticeably raised, making it easy for travelers to locate, push and engage.
As with all gadgets elderly, size is a factor to consider when choosing luggage. Though you should always pick the smallest suitcase that meets your travel needs, you also want to keep in mind the weight and size of the physical carrier. TSA regulations
state that carry-on bags can be no more than 45 linear inches, which is the total of the bag’s height, width and depth. Some suitcases are also made of lightweight material, such as nylon, which can cut down on your bag’s girth, making it easier to stow and access whether you’re on a plane, bus, train or in a car.
Caselogic 24" Lightweight Expandable Upright Roller
Coming in at 51 linear inches, this luggage is probably too large to be a carry-on, though its low weight may make you think otherwise. This nylon suitcase weighs a little more than eight pounds, which is substantially less than most bags its size, especially when you account for wheels, handles and all the storage compartments.