Because senior citizens have free time, it is a great time to take off, leave your cares behind and visit different states or new countries. Many people state that the number one activity they want to do when they retire is travel. No matter how you travel, there are a few things to consider. Let’s face it, the older you get, the more challenges come with activities like traveling. While that shouldn’t deter those long-awaited (and much-deserved) vacations, we’ve compiled some helpful travel tips for senior citizens to help them get the most out of their travel experience.
Whether it is a cruise port, airport, or train station, it’s wise to get there early. There is a peaceful feeling when you arrive at your gate on time and can open a book or just rest. Nothing is as stressful for a senior citizen as having to rush through a busy terminal. If you need to, arrange for a wheelchair or assistance beforehand. It’s often surprising just how far you have to walk in these places.
If you are flying, going through TSA checkpoints can be stressful for anyone. However, if you have surgical implants or other medical conditions, it may raise red flags. To avoid possible delays, make sure to get a doctor’s statement or the medical device’s description card and have it handy when you approach the security checkpoints.
It’s wise to give family or friends your travel itinerary. In case of an emergency, someone will know where you will be. This especially holds true overseas where events could happen quickly and you may not know your surroundings like at home. In these cases, your loved ones may hear the news before you do.
Traveling can be dehydrating for anyone. Sometimes, we get so busy we forget about drinking water. Senior citizens are at an even higher risk of dehydration when flying at high altitudes. Always keep a water bottle handy. Travel days can also throw off your normal meal schedule. Pack some fruits or nuts in a sealed plastic bag. This is also important because some medications need to be taken with food.
The older you get, the more you are at risk for deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), a condition brought on by lack of motion. This happens frequently when senior citizens remain seated for long periods of time, such as on long flights and car rides. If you are flying, don’t be embarrassed to get up and stretch your legs every once in a while. If you are driving, stop every couple of hours and walk around for a couple of minutes.
This tip goes for any age bracket but especially for seniors. If your wallet or passport is lost or stolen, having photocopies of important documents, like passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, tickets, etc., can speed up assistance at the consulate. It is also wise to have digital copies back home with a loved one or have them digitally stored on your smartphone.
By calling each credit card company and letting them know when you are traveling and what countries you will be visiting, the fraud department will not put a hold on the card when you travel overseas.
We suggest you never keep medications in a checked bag. If the bag is lost by the airline, it could be days before you get it back. Always keep more than enough medication to get you through your scheduled trip, just in case you are delayed somewhere for a few days.
Many places do not actively promote senior discounts, but it’s surprising how many are available if you ask. Don’t be shy. Discounts can add up to significant savings over the course of a vacation. Keep your ID handy just in case they need to verify your birth date.
If you can choose when you travel, consider taking your trip during the off-peak season. This way you can avoid the massive crowds and long lines at popular attractions. Most likely, you can also save money on accommodations during the less busy times.
While it may seem pricey, especially for seniors, it is well worth it should an emergency occur. Keep in mind, Medicare is not valid outside the United States, except in limited circumstances. Having travel insurance gives you peace of mind to know you will be taken care of should an emergency arise.
Traveling is a great way to have fun and remain active during your senior years. By following these travel tips for senior citizens, you’ll be off to a great start with your next trip.