Get Set, Go! Travel Safety Tips for Baby Boomers


safe senior travelling

Boomers love to travel - we love to explore, we love to learn, we love to meet new people and perhaps most of all we have the time, flexibility and resources to do it.

But travelling as an older adult is not the same as travelling as a twenty something year old. Gone are the days of sleeping on the floors of Europe's train stations, sharing rooms with strangers in hostels and eating Nutella on a baguette for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

With each passing decade, our bodies become a little less forgiving, to say the least. But that shouldn't stop us! We just need to plan a little smarter and play a little safer to get our thrills abroad.

Travel Safety Tips for Boomers

1. Make copies of your health records

If you're travelling with a medical condition (i.e. heart condition, diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, etc...), bring your medical records with you. In the event of a medical emergency abroad, this will allow doctors to treat you appropriately, and avoid making a serious error.

2. Bring prescription medication information

Similarly, if you're taking prescription medications, bring your prescription bottles and ask your doctor to write down both the branded version and the generic names for the drug, as some countries and/or doctors may only offer the generic name or vice versa.

3. Bring more prescription medication than you need

Bring doses of your prescription medications with you that last for a period of time BEYOND your travel period. This gives you the flexibility to extend your trip if need be, and be prepared in the event of unplanned delays.

3. Pack your medications in your carry-on luggage

If your check-in baggage gets lost or delayed, the last headache you need is for your medications to be lost as well. Pack all of your prescription medications in your carry on baggage, purse or knapsack.

4. Get vaccinated before you leave

See your doctor at least 1 month before you travel to determine what vaccines are appropriate for your destination and your planned activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great website to guide you on appropriate vaccinations for your destination.

5. Get appropriate travel insurance

Double check to make sure your current health insurance covers you in the event you need medical attention while out of country. Many do not. Without it you could face a cost prohibitive medical people for a simple procedure.

6. Drink lots of bottled water

Whether you're in a sunny destination or not, travelling typically involves more activity than you're used to. Stay hydrated and drink bottled water to stay avoid microbes your stomach may not be used to.

7. Watch what you eat

One of the joys of travelling is experiencing new foods. That said, not all places around the world prepare foods in a way your stomach is used to. Make sure restaurants are clean looking, meats are cooked through, fish is fresh and if you have allergies be extra cautious. Stick to "westernized" restaurants if you're unsure.

8. Know where to get help

This is especially true if you're travelling off the beaten path. Know where you can get help in the event of a medical emergency. Keep a list of recommended hospitals or health centers in your area. Also keep your travel health insurers phone number handy.

9. Get appropriate accommodations

Staying on a cliff in Greece may be nice, but having to walk 100 steps to get to your room may be equally unforgettable. Give the hotel, motel or resort a call before you book and make sure it's appropriate for the physical needs of your travelling party.

10. Stay Connected

It's easier than ever. Bring a cell phone or Ipad with you and check-in with your loved one's. Give them your itinerary in advance of leaving. This is especially true when travelling alone.

11. Travel Light

Don't over exert yourself. Travel light. When travelling you may be forced to carry your bag or unable to roll it for long distances. The last thing you want is to have to carry a heavy bag through crowds and heat.

12. Dress for travel, not for show

Travelling is not the time to wear your heals or tightest fitting jeans. Bring a pair of comfortable sneakers that are broken in and are made for walking. Wear loose fitting clothes that don't cut off your circulation when sitting for long periods of time.

13. Don't wear your wealth

Keep expensive watches, necklaces, bracelets and earrings off your person when travelling to foreign destinations that might be poorer than our own or to obvious travel hot spots where you'll be easily marked as a tourist.

14. Be weary of broadcasting your travel plans

Don't let the world know that your house will be unattended for the next 14 days! If you want to send pics back to family and friends do so through private group messaging, not on your public social media profile.

Bon Voyage!

So there you have it. Travel often. Travel hard. Explore the world. Just sprinkle in a little caution and common sense and you'll be all set to do it over and over again.

Safe travels!