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10 Travel Tips for Seniors

10 Travel Tips for Seniors

Whether it’s a day trip to a local museum or a 10-day Alaskan cruise, traveling is a top hobby for seniors. Seasoned travelers of all ages know all the tricks to help ensure a safe, stress-free vacation. If you don’t travel often, however, taking note of the most useful travel tips for seniors can help you thoroughly enjoy the trip.

Following are some of the things you should do before and during the trip to ensure safe travels.

1. Make sure you have all the documents you will need.

Long before your trip, make sure you have a valid driver’s license or other form of identification. If you are leaving the country, make sure you have a current passport.  

If you have to apply for a new passport, you will need to have several documents beforehand. Review full passport regulations and processes online or at your local post office or municipal offices. After you apply, you should receive your passport in four to six weeks. You do have the option of rushing a passport, but it will cost more.

2. Make arrangements for special services ahead of time.

Whether you’re flying or driving, if you require special services, plan for them ahead of time. Make sure you have a wheelchair accessible seat during the flight, for example, or notify the airline that you will have a service animal with you.

Opt for an aisle seat in an airplane if you need to move often to prevent leg circulation issues or your back muscles from tightening up. Likewise, plan to stop at rest areas or convenience stores often to make sure you can stretch during a long road trip.

3. Share your itinerary with someone back home.

Just so someone knows where you are for safety reasons, share your itinerary with someone you trust, such as a family member or a fellow resident of your senior living community. Make sure that person has a way to reach you at all times.

4. Pack light and review the rules.

If you’re flying, review airline travel guidelines before you pack to avoid being stopped by airport security.

Some travel tips for seniors apply to just about everyone, and this is one of them: pack light. Think “easy breezy” as you’re preparing for your trip. It will make it easier for you to travel through the airport, transfer luggage between your vehicle and the hotel, and sit in your vehicle comfortably. 

Along those lines, if you do have heavy luggage, ask for help lifting it.

5. Go shopping.

Buy comfortable, sturdy, flat walking shoes and any clothing you will need that you do not already have in your closet. As you are shopping and packing, anticipate all types of weather and prepare for any indoor or outdoor activities you plan to participate in.

6. Remember your medications and medical devices.

A few days before you’re set to leave, make sure you have enough of your medications to last you through the trip. As you’re packing, place all prescription and over-the-counter medications in a one-quart freezer bag, and keep them in your carry-on. Include a list of your medications and dosage schedule in your carry-on bag or in your purse or wallet in case of emergencies.

Set reminders in your phone to make sure you don’t forget to take your medications amid all the more exciting things you’ll be doing during the trip. If you plan to be away from the place where you are staying for a while, such as during a hike or bike ride, make sure you take your medications with you as necessary.

In addition, pack medical devices, prepare a general first-aid kit, and make sure you have a health insurance card and emergency contact information with you.

7. Stay hydrated.

Water. Water is the secret before, during, and after your trip. Dehydration can lead to a variety of health issues, so sip water throughout the flight and the entire trip, especially if you expect to be in the sun or are headed for a warm destination.

8. Apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses and hats, and take advantage of the shade when you can.

Apply sunscreen every day, even if it’s just for a short trip to the local park. Wear sunglasses with UV protection, and put on those hats to shield the top of your head from direct sunlight. 

You can enjoy the great outdoors by sitting by the ocean waves or soaking in a pool, but do all good things in moderation. Sit under the shade when you can. If you feel too hot, cool off indoors for a while. If you’re tired, sit.

Generally, listen to what your body is telling you to ensure you’re staying safe.

9. Make healthy, appropriate food choices.

Trying new and unusual foods is a fun part of any trip, and you probably can do it to a point. Just make sure you continue to follow doctors’ orders regarding your diet, such as by avoiding high-sugar foods if you’re diabetic or watching your salt intake if you have high blood pressure.

10. Carry money safely.

Plan to take at least two credit cards in case one is lost or stolen.  Carry minimal cash, but store any cash you may be taking in different locations within your carry-on or on you in order to protect yourself in case of theft.

Don’t let age or any other concerns keep you from exploring the world as you’ve always wanted to. Once you see how smooth your trip will be by following a few travel tips, you’ll find yourself planning your next trip at the first chance you get. You’ll be able to experience more than you’ve ever imagined in no time.

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