19 Tips To Help Seniors Travel Safely - What Are You Waiting For!
It doesn't matter whether you're 65 or 85, there's no better time to travel than now! You have the time, money, curiosity and energy to explore the world and spice-up your life with a little adventure.
Even if you've come up with a thousand reasons to say no, we're going to help you find a thousand more so you can say yes to some of the best opportunities life has to offer.
Here are 19 of our favorite tips to help make your travel experience easier, safer and a hell of a lot more fun.
1. Keep your absence private: Social media is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. However, posting your pics on Facebook is also a great way to let every Tom, Dick and Harry know that your out of town. Why does that matter? Well, if you're out of town, chances are your home or apartment is unattended - an open invitation to any thief worth their salt.
If you want to share pics, set-up a private group on Facebook Messenger or What'sApp.
2. Take extra meds: Make sure to take all of your medications with you. Also double count your meds to ensure you're bringing at least 7 more days worth of meds than your planned vacation time. This will help in the event you drop some pills or stay longer than anticipated.
3. Get your vaccinations: Depending on where you travel, it may be recommended that you get vaccinated in advance. Doing so can prevent an avoidable infection like yellow fever, measles,mumps, rubella, rabies, Hepatitus A, Hepatitus B and more. Review your vaccination schedule with your doctor to make sure you're up to date.
4. Get a check-up: Before you travel, get an all-clear from your doctor. This is important for two reasons. First, sometimes travel can aggravate an unknown situation. Second, if you have a pre-existing condition, your insurance will likely NOT cover it, if it requires attention while out of country. Knowing your risks can help you avoid a significant financial surprise.
5. Leave the bling: No doubt it's nice to wear your diamonds, pearls and saphire bling when dining and dancing. But when you're in a tourist destination, doing so makes you an easy target. There are plenty of ways to look just as beautiful with some great costume jewelry.
6. Safe footwear: Travelling is not the time or place to wear your stiletto heels. Nothing will ruin your vacation faster than a nasty fall. Wear a flat heeled shoe and make sure to pack sneakers for touring, weddings, etc... where you may be required to be on your feet for longer than usual.
7. Get airport assistance: Between line-ups and hallways that can test the endurance of Olympic athletes, arranging assistance can make a huge difference for the elderly. Make arrangements with your airline IN ADVANCE. Each airline may be a little different, but virtually all will make a wheel chair available for free.
8. Expedited screening: If you're 75 years or older, you're now entitled to screening benefits from the TSA . These include leaving your shoes on, a request to be seated during screening, etc... If you have a medical condition or disability, you should definitely prepare a TSA notification card in advance to present at security.
9. Unaccompanied minor for "seniors": If you feel like you or a loved one needs to be accompanied from end to end, you can always get the airline to provide the same service unaccompanied minors get. You'll have an airline representative check you in, walk you through security, take you to the gate, get you seated and upon landing, help you off the plane and accompany you all the way through baggage claim until met by a family member.
10. Copies of all significant documentation: You'll want to have two copies of all your important documentation - one to keep on you at all times and another to keep in your room. Important documents include your passport, drivers license, insurance certificates and a copy of all prescriptions in case you need to refill any. Make sure to have your doctor include both the branded and generic names of all of your medications, as some foreign doctors may not recognize american brand names.
11. Keep a list of emergency contact information: You should also pack two copies of all emergency contact numbers. Emergency contact numbers include multiple family members, doctors, lawyer, insurance, and your bank. Keep one copy for yourself, leave the other copy with someone else.
12. Book a non-stop flight: There's a time and place for saving money. Adding complexity and physical duress to an otherwise simple direct flight is not one of them. When you book a connection, instead of a direct flight, not only do you make the switch-over difficult, you also introduce the risk of a missed connection, which can make for a horrible experience, especially for the elderly.
13. Avoid regional jets where Possible: Sometimes you can take an airline that offers the Embraer or Bombardier jets. While equally comfortable to a larger plane, quite often you have to board by walking down onto the tarmac and walking up the stairs to the jet. For some seniors with mobility issues, this can be very difficult - avoid if there's an alternative.
14. Avoid thrombosis: Staying seated on a flight for several hours can cause deep vain thrombosis for some. To avoid any issues or discomfort, get an aisle seat, so you can stretch your legs out a little, stay hydrated at all times, and take a walk every 45 minutes or so.
15. Avoid hotel stairs: This is especially true when travelling to Europe, where elevators are NOT a given. Call in advance, and if there are stairs, ask to stay on the ground floor. Regardless, if mobility is an issue, the ground floor may be the way to go.
16. Bring spare batteries: If you're bringing a hearing aide or even a phone, bring an extra set of fully charged batteries with you. It's a relatively cheap insurance policy in the event of either dies on you in an inopportune location.
17. Travel with your medical alerts: If you're used to relying on automated medication reminders, bring them with you. Routine is important. Also, if you have a life alert system chances are you can bring it with you. Just notify the company of your new address so they can dispatch responders to the correct location in the event of an emergency.
18. Split your payment cards up: You should bring at least two different payment plastics with you on vacation, ideally from two different banks - in case one freezes your account due to a fraud alert. You should then keep one card on you and the other card in your room. That way if you lose your card or it gets stolen you have a readily available back-up.
19. Only drink bottled water: This may depend on where you're travelling. However, if you're travelling outside of North America, your best to only drink bottled water. This includes brushing teeth and taking your pills. Again, stay hydrated throughout the day.