For a lot of people, the senior years are when they plan to get out and see the world and do some traveling. Many people have families and careers that prevent them from visiting the places they would like to see because there is just not enough time.
So, when retirement age rolls around, and the kids have all moved out of the house, aspirations for travel can finally be explored.
The downside to this plan is growing health concerns for people as they age. This can cause problems for seniors, especially if problems arise while out of country.
However, there are many precautions older adults can take before traveling to decreased worry and stress.
Helpful Traveling Suggestions for Seniors
Good preparation is key for any trip abroad, and many seniors could benefit from a little extra careful planning.
Here are a few recommendations for seniors wishing to travel:
- Book your trip far in advance
- Do your research
- Discuss plans with your doctor or health care professional
- Make arrangements with the airline
- Make a packing list
- Don’t forget insurance
- Stay connected
Booking your trip well in advance makes sense for several reasons. It helps ensure you get the itinerary and accommodations you are looking for. It removes the stress of scrambling last minute. It will also likely result in much less expensive trip.
Many hotels, B&Bs, and resorts offer exclusive bargains for seniors. This might include things like discounted rooms, complimentary meals, additional perks, and special activities.
Senior travelers can benefit from going through a travel agent, rather than booking online, as agents may have more knowledge and access to senior discounts.
Do Your Research
Even if you are employing the services of a travel agent, it is important to do your own research so there are no shocking surprises upon arrival.
Always look for reviews or try to speak to other people that have experience with your location to get as much information as possible.
A well researched trip tends to provide more enjoyment and less stress, so you don’t miss out on the things you want to do.
Talk to your Doctor
It is always a good idea for seniors to discuss travel plans with a doctor, ahead of departure.
Talk about any existing health problems and medications to make sure travel will not negatively affect these issues.
Make sure you have all the medications you need in advance, as trying to find them in another country could prove challenging if not impossible.
For extra precaution, you can even split your medications to put them in two different bags, in case of lost luggage.
If you have any special dietary or seating needs, call the airline before flying to make the necessary arrangements.
Most airlines will have no problem making the requested accommodations.
Make a Packing List
This is just good planning for any trip, regardless of age. Without a list, you will likely put yourself through undue stress, constantly worrying about what you have forgotten.
If you begin making your list a few weeks in advance, it allows plenty of time to think of everything you would like to bring.
By that time, if it’s not on the list, it must not be that important.
Seniors can make list of hospitals, doctors, and clinics at their destination in case of emergency, for added peace of mind.
Don’t Forget Insurance
Again, getting travel insurance is recommended for travelers of all ages, but it is particularly important for older adults.
Having to visit a hospital in another country with no insurance can have drastic repercussions on both your health and bank account.
Travel health insurance can be purchased from a variety of sources, including your financial institution or a selection of private insurance companies.
There are many different types of travel insurance, so it is a good idea to talk to an expert to ensure you have the right coverage.
Don’t leave your friends and family back home in a position to worry about you. Make sure to set up some methods of contact before you leave, so you are easy to reach.
It is recommended to provide at least one friend or family member with your full itinerary and contacts for all your accommodations.
Email is always a good way to keep in touch internationally. With free WiFi everywhere these days, downloading a communication application like WhatsApp can be extremely useful.
WhatsApp offers free international text and phone calls for anyone that has downloaded the app to their smartphone.