Archive For: Travel Stories

Meet Norma from Liverpool, England

We have talked to some of our most experienced rollator travelers and asked them to share their experience and travel tips. 

This is Norma’s story:

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been looking at past photographs and uttered; “If only I had the rollator then!”
This was never more so than when being on vacation and standing literally on unfamiliar ground!

In one picture, I am at Central Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts, leaning against a sculpture trying to make it look like a natural pose – cane hidden behind me, when in fact my back was aching from trailing through the New England Aquarium, leaning on a walking stick for support.

Then in Providence, on a quest at whale watching, I sported a pair of bruised knees fresher than the whales I hoped to see, when I tripped. There were other vacations with similar limited mobility; on cruise ships, Cape Cod, New York, South Island NZ, Western AU, Bali, Sicily, Scotland etc. The walking stick was not adequate, and some opportunities were lost and maybe never to be regained – but now I am wiser with experience.

I still have to experience a long-haul flight with my rollator. However, we travel extensively throughout the U.K and I also have family in Malta whom I visit throughout the year. Therefore, I hope I can help dispense with some of your travelling concerns with the following tips.

Norma’s travel tips

Before traveling:

  1. When booking your flight: Include the “assistance to aircraft seat” if you are unable to mount the steps and require the ambulift. You can also request a wheelchair; then you can check-in the folded & tagged rollator earlier, along with your luggage. I prefer to keep my rollator till the last minute.
  2. Check that your travel insurance includes the full replacement of the rollator, obtained in writing.
  3. When booking accommodation, restaurants, coach tours: mention that you have a folding rollator/walker, if there are steps/stairs to negotiate & if lift service is available etc.
  4. Practice the process in beforehand at home: collapsing the rollator i.e. lowering the handle bars, swerving the front wheels inwards, placing it correctly in the travel bag and zipping it up.

During traveling:

  1. At the check-in counter, request a separate baggage tag for your rollator, since it must be stored in the aircraft hold along with other luggage. I affix this tag on the shorter hand grip, not the strap, on the byACRE travel bag (along the personal name tag). Ensure you get the receipt and place it somewhere safe & accessible, eg back cover of passport. You should also be informed where to meet your assistant to help you with boarding.
  2. If you’re going to travel alone, I strongly advise to be “hands free”. I bring my byACRE travel bag folded in the weekend bag (that can detach effortlessly from the rollator).
  3. You can keep the rollator right up to boarding the aircraft via airbridge or ambulift. The folded rollator is then handed to an assistant, either at the entrance to airbridge (along with baby strollers etc.) or to the ambulift assistant. My tip is to have a walking cane at hand, while waiting to board.
 

Meet Yvonne from North Ireland

We have talked to some of our most experienced rollator travelers and asked them to share their experience and travel tips. 

This is Yvonne’s story:

I am from Northern Ireland and I travel with my rollator every few months, but I use it daily when I walk my morning mile for exercise.

I love road trips. We travel by ferry and car often to see my son in Liverpool. I love that I can use my rollator when I’m stiff to get out for breaks, walk and stretch my legs on long journeys. I always use it when we’re out for dinner at restaurants and are out socialising. I’ve even used it at a family wedding, so that I could mingle without clinging on to my husband. It gives super independence, since I can keep up with my family without limits with it.

I have travelled to USA, Canada, UK, Ireland and Spain – honestly everywhere is so accessible nowadays so you can live without limits.

I’m never embarrassed to use my rollator, because my enthusiasm to live my life is greater than me feeling self conscious. Honestly people do not even notice, if they do, it’s always very positive comments. I’ve been told more than once on my daily walk that I’m an inspiration. I was so happy that I can encourage others.

Yvonne’s travel tips: 

  1. Invest in the travel bag. Put luggage labels on it.  It has been a godsend for flights and road trips to protect my byACRE, Carbon Ultralight. I am able to walk to the steps of the aircraft and put my rollator in the travel bag where it is then put into the hold. It is then waiting on me after the flight either at the bottom of the steps or on the luggage conveyor belt.
  2. Book special assistance at the airport, because it is superb. Do not be embarrassed or imagine you don’t need it because it makes such a difference. No standing in queues, because you’ll be escorted straight through passport control etc.
  3. Request a ground floor hotel room or apartment if available at your resort. We recently were in the Canary Islands and I could walk (with rollator) straight from my ground floor terrace around the resort, without waiting around for lifts during busy season with young families who also needed lifts with prams etc.
 

Meet Elizabeth from New York, USA

We have talked to some of our most experienced rollator travelers and asked them to share their experience and travel tips. 

This is Elizabeth’s story:

According to my DNA story I am 22%, almost one-quarter Swedish. This heredity comes from my great-grandmother, Agnes Hildegard Helena Landerholm who was born on February 4, 1880, in Kimstad, Östergötland, Sweden. Agnes was three months old when she set sail with her father Anders (my great-great grandfather), her mother Thilda, and her older sister Emma, on the Marsdin headed to Hull, England, then on to Elllis Island, New York, landing 24 May 1880. Growing up in Connecticut, at 26 years old Agnes Hildegard Helena Landerholm married my great-grandfather, William Henry Jones, June 12, 1906.

One-hundred and forty-one years after Agnes’s arrival to New York, her great-grand daughter, Elizabeth Ann Jones is flying to Sweden for the fifth time.

The beginning of May, 2021, during a FaceTime chat with Anna-Lena and Liselotte, two of my long-time, Swedish friends, they tell me they are moving to a new home in Mölle. They invite me to stay and suggest that I fly to Copenhagen in Denmark, which is closer to Mölle. I enthusiastically purchase my Scandinavian Airlines tickets to and from Kastrup.

Now, my tickets are purchased. Next, how am I going to get to and from the airport? When I find the drive from Mölle to Kastrup is 90 minutes, I send an email to Maria, my contact at byACRE, to see if she would meet me for coffee (kaffe) near the dock, where the ferry comes in from Sweden. Maria emails back; when she told her colleagues I was flying in with the Carbon Ultralight and wanted to meet for kaffe, it was quickly decided she and Anders would pick me up at Kastrup with my new Carbon Overland. In the mean time I text Anna-Lena to let her know I will be having kaffe near the ferry so they don’t have to drive all the way to the airport. Anna-Lena replies they are coming in to Copenhagen the night before and staying at the Hotel Ottilia, in Carlsberg City. This is to make it easier to pick me up at Kastrup in the morning.

Everyone should have my worries; too many people picking me up at the airport in Copenhagen.

I arrive. I am first told to head to the back of the plane to exit. Then I’m told the front is where a wheel chair will be, then the back, again. Finally headed in the right direction,  with the pilot now following behind, I see a large man with a yellow vest, a man called Oskar. Oskar takes my backpack and I take his arm as we descend the stairs. We walk across the tarmac and “taking my time”. We go up another flight of stairs to the airport, and into a wheelchair. Oskar pushes me to a golf cart, where I transfer, and then we are off to baggage claim. After a while I spot my checked bag. Oskar loads everything including my byACRE Carbon Ultralight onto the luggage cart. With one hand Oskar is  pushing the wheelchair and with his other hand he pushes the cart.

Outside I hear a voice calling my name. I turn to meet Maria and my new ByACRE Carbon Overland. I stand and grab hold of my new Overland, then Maria. Together we cross the street to find and meet Anders Berggreen, the designer/founder of ByACRE. They explain to me they each brought their cars because Anders cars won’t fit my luggage and/or the two byACRE’s. So, I will ride with Anders and Maria will take all the luggage. It turns out  Anders’ car is a Jag 1974 convertible and I’m imagining I’m Audrey Hepburn, wishing I had a Givanchy head scarf as we steer to the Hotel Ottilia, in Carlsberg City.

At Hotel Ottilia we make our way up to Tramonto Rooftop. We find a table on the terrace with a splendid, 360-degree view of the District below. We are surrounded by a small hop gardens, of course, and Anna-Lena and Lisa joins us. I’m absolutely over the moon to see two of my dearest friends of, is it, twenty-five years, who I have not seen in over two years.

Waking up in Mölle. The distant sound of boat engines, busy seagull trills, water lapping over stones, chimes of sail boat cleats tapping masts. Listening, reclined on the gray wood deck and sipping espresso, I’m surprised to see 5 or 6 surfers. Yes, there are waves, not Maui sized but good sized swells. The question is, do those surfers have those boards leaning in between their cross country skis and their dog sleds?

Surfs up, in Sweden!

Turns out Mölle is fifth in line for Sweden’s surfing hot-spots. Too bad, I left my surfboard in NYC. Instead, the girls have rented a golf cart. I’m happy to tour Mölle a la cart, with my Overland strapped on the back.

We end up at Ransvik Havsveranda for lunch. I board the outdoor escalator that descends the hill to the café with a beautiful view of the Sound. Lisa and Anna-Lena greet me at the bottom with the Overland and we find a table. We order Hernö Gin & Tonics and Kallrökt Lax på Rågbröd.

The next evening a stunning yacht sails across the horizon. It’s Anna-Lena’s brother, Mikael’s, Swan 77 Tugela. The next thing I know I make my way with my Carbon Overland down along the side of the house to the golf cart brought by Ivan, Anna-Lena and Lisa’s eldest. We head to the dock, where I am lifted on to an RIB that takes me to Tugela and I am carefully lifted and maneuvered on board. Once we are settled in the cabin, we sip champagne.

Elizabeth’s travel tips: 

  1. Call airline ahead of time
  2. Ask for assistance to get to the gate
  3. Bring your ByAcre and check at the gate
  4. Using a backpack instead of a tote or purse,
    as your personal bag
  5. Be patient with yourself and others
  6. Have a wonderful time
 

Meet Verna from Austin, Texas

We have talked to some of our most experienced rollator travelers and asked them to share their experience and travel tips. 

This is Verna’s story:

Verna is an artist from Austin, Texas in USA. Her artistry started when she was 34, after she got diagnosed with MS:

“I have been painting since 1998. When I was 32 I had a life altering experience. Through painting I have found a way to give completely of myself. It shows those I love, who I am, how I feel, and fully exposes my heart. This gives me peace.

I began painting at 34, I was drawn to colors, flowers, life…..I’ve been looking for answers as to why I have suddenly been given this gift. What can I do with it to make a difference?”

Today, her beautiful flower oil- paintings takes her traveling all over the country.

“Travel has been very easy and enjoyable with my byACRE rollator. Pat (my rollator) has been my amazing assistant! So lightweight, agile, and can travel anywhere. I get to be independent – I love it.

The last trip I did was to Orlando, when I was transporting oil paintings to a customer. Our future trips to Albuquerque, NM and Sedona, AZ are similar. In Jan 2023 we are taking a trip to Maui, Hawaii. I have checked with my airline and I will be able to use my rollator the entire walk to the entrance of the plane. At that point I will quickly pack it in the travel bag and they will put it in the cargo storage for the flight. Upon landing I will get it from the cargo hull and when we land in Maui, I will unpack the rollator – and off I go to a tropical paradise.

I’m so excited! Thanks to my byACRE rollator and Travel bag, I still have the freedom to travel the world.”

Verna’s travel tips: 

  1. Get a note from your Dr. about why you need a rollator. Laminate the note and attach it to the travel bag. Have an extra for your reference, just in case. 
  2. Label your rollator “Fragile Handle with Care” with your contact information. 
  3. Practice getting the rollator packed quickly. Practice practice. 
  4. Travel with a friend if possible, two is better than one. 
  5. Enjoy and relax. It’s easy to do. Safe travels.