Travel Made Easy: Safety, support and balance

I had no choice. Learning to walk again after a stroke, I depended on a cane for safety, balance and support. Twenty years later, I still use a cane whenever I leave the house but especially when I am traveling to a place where I am not familiar with the terrain.

Even if you don’t regularly use a cane but are concerned you may have some mobility challenges with travel, consider adding a folding cane to your baggage. If you don’t need it, fine. But if you are walking more than you are used to, walking over those picturesque cobblestones, moving over a potentially slippery area or climbing flights of stairs, you will be glad to bring out the cane to help you feel safer, more balanced and steadier on your feet. In fact, I take two canes when I travel; one folding cane in the suitcase; one cane to use.

Why bring a second cane? Visiting Japan with a small group, I decided to use some free time to see the Asakusa area of Tokyo where one of the main attractions is the Sensoji, a very popular Buddhist Temple built in the 7thcentury. You approach the temple via the Nakamise, a shopping street that provides temple visitors a variety of tourist souvenirs. The area around the temple and shopping street has picturesque cobblestones and small alleyways. And that was where I dropped my cane; the handle of the cane broke off leaving me with a short ragged stick with which to navigate the cobblestones. Since I was in a shopping area, I thought I’d look for another cane. What I didn’t realize is that as 5’5” woman, I was considered “tall” in Japan and most of the canes I found were too short. I finally discovered, with some help from gracious shopkeepers, a telescoping, folding black cane that when extended on the last notch was just the right height. That Japanese black cane has been my back-up cane since then when traveling.

Don’t regularly use a cane or know how to use a cane? Go to YouTube and search “using a cane correctly” and you will have many examples of how to use a cane. Personally, I use the traditional cane instead of the quad cane. This will depend on your particular needs, but in my opinion, a quad cane doesn’t travel as well — think about storing the quad cane in airplane overhead bins.

The goal is to help you continue to travel safely when life has become a little more challenging. Many of us wait to fulfill our travel dreams and bucket lists until later in life. If a cane can help you accomplish those dreams, why not?

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About Kate DeLosso

Kate DeLosso is a travel professional with over 20 years of experience traveling the world on land and by ship, visiting over 30 countries with an emphasis on travel in Asia. Kate DeLosso Travel is a home based travel agency that helps individual travelers and groups explore the US, Europe and Asia. A number of years ago, Kate had stroke and had to re-learn how to walk, type and drive a car. With a mobility handicap, she became aware that travel was “different” for people with physical challenges. One of her missions has become to share the knowledge accumulated after 20 years of traveling the world as a mobility challenged person. Kate DeLosso is a Certified Travel Counselor, Special Interest Travel Specialist and an Accredited Cruise Counselor and founder of Kate DeLosso Travel. She has lived and worked in Chadds Ford since 1999.

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