Mom + bus trip + 74th birthday = what gift?
September 10, 2016 8:35 AM   Subscribe

My mom leaves on Saturday for a week long bus trip from the DC area to Canada. She's not used to co-habitating, she's a bit of an introvert, and she's celebrating her birthday on day one of the trip. I'd like to send her off with something thoughtful and useful for the trip.

I believe she's hitting the highlights of Ontario, and maybe they're also doing Montreal, but not all of Quebec?

She has an iPhone, with limited to beginner working knowledge of it. Tends to car sickness when passenging, though a bus-ride is different from a car ride, but I'm a little leery of a book. She's really mobile, but is starting to slow down a bit and struggles with that. Her hearing aids are bluetooth compatible, which probably has no bearing on gifts ideas (she's already on Audible), but is just so cool that I want to tell everyone.

Do you have great travel items that you MUST take with you on a trip that would be handy for someone her age? Is there something Ontario-centric that I should send with her? Do you have tips for sharing a hotel room with someone when you've been divorced for twenty five years and snap if you are spoken to before your morning metamucil/citrucel/miralax cocktail? Do I just find a bank/money exchange that can get me Canadian money and send that?

Gift cards are last resort, but will be grateful for any suggestions!
posted by ovenmitt to Travel & Transportation around Canada (6 answers total)
Do her credit and debit card have chip-and-pin? If not, cash might be a good gift. It's not that the old swipe cards absolutely don't work here, but some places prefer not to accept them and it'll definitely slow things down.

The 14 day forecast for Ontario has a bit of rain in it, so a nice folding umbrella might be good if the one she already has is larger.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:51 AM on September 10, 2016

Does her iPhone plan have Canadian roaming?

How about a travel pillow for naps on the bus? Earplugs and an eye mask for sleeping?
posted by TORunner at 9:27 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't know how this would work with the hearing aids, but a decent pair of noise canceling headphones would be really great to have on a bus ride or other situation where you're in a confined space with a lot of other people.

And I don't know if this is a gift suggestion or just a suggestion, but a nice, compact blanket and an extra pair of socks are really good things to have in just about any away from home scenario. I was on a long bus trip once where a guy RENTED a woman's blanket for $20. (It was the middle of summer, super hot out, but the AC was up really high and nobody was prepared for that.)
posted by ernielundquist at 11:11 AM on September 10, 2016

A shawl, cardigan, or small blanket, definitely.

You don't mention a budget. If you want to splurge, this throw is amazing--light and warm and soft.
posted by praemunire at 1:53 PM on September 10, 2016

Please do not buy headphones for someone who wears hearing aids, unless they like screechy feedback noise right in their ears.

For the bus part of the trip - a travel blanket or comfortable shawl, maybe even a shawl that could be worn to a restaurant in the evenings. For the room - as an introvert who doesn't share rooms well with anyone, I'd suggest a book, or better yet, a Kindle with a backlight, and a travel flask (filled). For both, some good travel snacks. And a hat, the kind that works for both sun and rain.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 1:54 PM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thank you, everyone!
posted by ovenmitt at 7:59 PM on September 10, 2016

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