Venice Hotels Articles

August 17, 2010

Gift ideas for senior travelers

I don’t get a commission for touting this miraculous gift for traveling seniors. I only wish I had it in the 90s when I did all my post-retirement jaunts around Europe, Mexico, South America, Canada and Alaska. It’s the Garmin StreetPilot, a handy little portable GPS (Global Positioning System). The cost ranges from $250 to $1,500, depending on screen size (2″ to 7″) and number of advanced doohickey attachments, like Bluetooth for giving it cell phone capabilities. Of course, there are competitive makes of the same kind of GPS product, but many experts tout the Garmin as best.

If you’re aware of how the larger, much more expensive GPS units work in cars, just imagine walking down a narrow, dark street in the middle of Venice and wondering how to get back to your hotel. Then you take out your trusty little Garmin, and watch and listen while the lighted screen and voice tell you precisely all the twists and turns on how to get back to your Venetian palazzo in time for the antipasto.

Or you’ve decided to stroll through Muir Woods, home of the giant Redwoods in Northern California, and you’re beginning to believe you’re caught up in a redwood hall of mirrors. Your brilliant Garmin will look up in the sky for that ever circulating satellite, in an instant, compute all the info in its electric brain and tell you how to get back to that woodsy lodge in time for the campfire sing of coombaya.

In my foreign travels, when I got lost, which was quite often, I had to bring out all the maps and try to figure which way to turn, or ask natives in high school versions of their language just where the hell was I. The current versions of portable GPS devices would have been great companions then, and I can only guess how much more sophisticated and helpful for senior travelers they will become in the near future.

Of course, not many gift givers will have the inclination or budget to be so generous with their farewell present for your soon-to-happen senior adventure. So, as long as you’re paying $1,500 to fly to the port of embarkation, another $5,000 for the cruise and another $2,000 for the three-day stopovers in Venice, Florence, Rome, Paris and Barcelona, why not give yourself a bon voyage present … a handy, little, portable GPS system. With it by your side, you may lose yourself in the joys of travel, but never again when you’re in the middle of a strange city.

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