With the upcoming Spring Break, some seniors may be nervous to embark to a new destination. However, aging doesn’t mean becoming stationary for the rest of your life. In fact, once you’ve retired, it’s your time to get out and see the world. Whether it’s a domestic trip visiting family or an adventure to check off that international bucket list destination, we wanted to provide some tips to have a safe, healthy, and enjoyable vacation in your senior years.
- Consider Travel Insurance: Travel insurance might not be something you considered in the past. However, it can be a smart investment for mature travelers who are more prone to falling, getting sick, or needing extra medication if their travel is interrupted. Although insurance may add to the bottom line, it may be beneficial in the long run to protect your investment in a vacation.
- Don't Advertise Your Absence: For those of us that didn’t grow up with social media, we may still be learning the ropes of the do’s and don’ts of social media posting. One sure-fire ‘don’t’ is posting about being absent from your home for an extended period of time. Although you may be excited to share beach photos with your friends, you don’t know who else can see that you are away from your home.
Extra tip: Additionally, while you’re away from your hotel room, don't put the "clean my room" sign on your hotel door. Thieves know that travelers usually leave their passports, extra money, and jewelry in their rooms. For that reason, you don't want to advertise that you're not there. Instead, call the front desk on the way out and let them know you'll be leaving and that they can send someone up to clean the room but make sure to keep your passport and special items somewhere secure, such as a safe.
- Watch What You Eat - Like it or not, us older folks tend to have more sensitive stomachs and are often on restricted diets. It's understandable to want to forget those limitations while away from home, but doing so could have undesirable side effects on your vacation. Unless you want to spend more time in your hotel room than out and about, you'll probably want to keep the heavy, spicy, or cheesy items to a minimum.
- Be Mindful of Medications- Senior travelers need to be as mindful of their medications as they are with their money and passports. For instance, don't pack them in checked luggage, and don't leave them lying around in your hotel room. Airlines may lose your checked luggage for a couple days, and prescription medications can be a target for theft. Additionally, always make sure you've got enough medicine to last you an extra day or two, just in case your flight home is delayed.
Extra tip: Keep a list of all essential medications and their dosages in case you need to replace them while away for any reason.
- Keep Others in the Loop - If you're going to be traveling solo, keep others in the know of your daily itinerary; including your hotel, flight information, and possible plans. Most importantly, tell those closest to you where you're going and when you expect to be back. Crave a little more spontaneity on your trip? No problem, just keep a cell phone
(that you regularly check) on you at all times to keep in touch with them.
- Be Practical When Packing: As a senior traveler it’s a good idea to pack everything necessary in a roll-aboard suitcase plus a medium-size over-the-shoulder carry-on. This way your luggage is easily movable no matter how tired or sore you may be from your vacation adventures!
Another tip: Do not check the roll-aboard as luggage, as in-cabin flight staff will gladly stash it in the overhead rack for you.
- Picking the Details: Take advantage of the fact that you’re retired and can travel whenever you want. Aim for shoulder season (April through mid-June, or September and October) to avoid the most exhausting things about travel: crowds and the heat of summer. While you’re there, take vehicle tours (bus, train, boats for example) for a painless overview of highlights in your destination city. That way you can sit back, relax, and still see the best parts of the city. Consider looking into a stop-and-go tour bus so you can get off and explore where you want when you’re feeling up to it!