We see it plastered across magazines, commercials and billboards everywhere we go: the human desire to travel. However, we frequently see travel as a representation of adventurers portrayed as young, single people who possess the fitness necessary for such physically demanding travel. Obviously, people in their twenties aren’t the only ones who enjoy a good adventure, but the lack of resources available for older travelers can make it difficult and even scary to embark on a new journey. With this list of tips for senior travelers, hopefully this no longer needs to be the case.
An important step in planning a vacation is research. For seniors especially, it’s important to research where they will be traveling, how they will get there, the costs, and any physical obstacles. For example, if a senior traveler has difficulty walking long distances, he or she should research vacation companies that could provide assistance when traveling by foot. Researching can also help travelers find the shortest and most direct means of transportation. Research can be especially helpful for GLBT travelers because they can easily determine if a travel company is GLBT-friendly. If the website you are looking at references same-sex couples and welcome all guests, you’ll enjoy a safe vacation where you are free to be yourself and relax. Looking into small details like this can be the difference between an anxious, stressful trip and a peaceful, relaxing one.
Safety is another concern that senior travelers will want to keep in mind. If traveling through an airport, simply keeping an eye on your luggage and personal belongings might not be enough, as senior travelers are often targeted by thieves. When standing, always place your luggage between your feet, and when sitting, put the shoulder strap around the leg of your chair. By taking simple measures like these, you can easily prevent your items from being stolen. Once you arrive where you will be staying, it’s important to keep valuable items concealed. From jewelry to electronics to medications, any personal items can be seen as valuable to others, so packing light and keeping necessary medications concealed and organized can help take a target off your back. Wearing appropriate, comfortable clothing can also help keep you safe. Wear comfortable shoes that can keep you safe and balanced so you don’t risk injuring yourself in an unknown area. Lastly, keeping people in the loop is a very important safety practice. Whether you have children, friends, or other people who are close to you back home, inform them that you will be traveling and provide an itinerary of your trip. This way they can keep an eye on you from afar.
Although travel insurance costs more for senior citizens, it’s good to be covered when you embark on a trip. Travel insurance can protect you if anything happens to your health, if you injure yourself, if any of your personal items are stolen, or if you need to be evacuated from the area you are staying. In case of an emergency, it will benefit you to be protected by travel insurance as it will cover transportation necessary to get you to a healthcare provider. It is also important to carry all medications that you might need in an organized container. This way, if a healthcare professional does need to intervene, they will be able to easily access any medication you might need.
A perk of being a senior traveler is that many vacation companies offer senior discounts. There are a variety of discounted tickets available, whether it be by train, plane, bus or ship. Additionally, resorts and hotels often offer a senior package which includes discounts, transportation assistance and rooms that are equipped for any physical needs you might have. While traveling is often represented as an activity only suitable for a younger crowd, these travel tips and tricks can make it just as fun for seniors, too. Pack your bags and enjoy the adventure!