Are you planning a spring getaway?
It may have been decades since you were last in school, but a spring break is still on many to-do lists each year. Maybe it’s because the end of a long winter is always something to celebrate, but whatever the reason, this is the time of year when people often start dreaming of foreign adventures, sandy beaches and a break from their day-to-day routine.
Staying adventurous as you age is a wonderful thing, but it’s also important to remember that as we get older there are key things to consider when traveling that we may not have had to consider in the past. Before you book that flight and pack your bag, check out this summary of tips from Rick Steves, a Guidebook author and travel TV host and Independent Traveler for the senior traveler:
- Get travel insurance. This really is a must-have for any traveler, but it’s particularly critical for senior travelers who are more at risk for falls and other health-related issues. Imagine experiencing an unforeseen travel delay and suddenly running out of prescription medication, or breaking your leg and needing hospital care in another country. A few extra hundred dollars per traveler is well worth the security of knowing you’ll be covered should something go wrong.
- Pack smart and light. It’s better to have to wash out a few things while you’re away than it is to lug around a heavy bag, especially if you’re doing a tour and will be packing and moving regularly. Make sure to throw in an extra pair of glasses and batteries for your hearing aid (if you use either) while you’re at it, and if you think it might be necessary, include a magnifying glass to help you read extremely small print on maps and in other guides.
- Fly safely. Make sure to stay hydrated while you’re on the plane, and get up and walk around at least once every hour to minimize the small risk of getting a blood clot. The odds are slim, but better safe than sorry! If you have any preexisting conditions that may impact your ability to travel safely it’s best to check with your doctor to find out what, if any, restrictions you may have.
- Be smart with your medications. They are as important to you as cash and your passport, so treat them with the same care. Don’t pack your medications in your checked luggage (if your bag goes missing for a few days, so will your meds), and don’t leave them out in the open in your hotel room. It’s also wise to bring a few extra days worth of pills just in case your return home is delayed.
- Be safe. The unfortunate fact is that, you are likely to be more of a target to thieves. Leave your expensive jewelry and electronics at home, but always carry a cell phone with you. Make sure someone knows your daily agenda and check in regularly so that your loved ones know you’re okay. In fact, it’s also a good idea to let your concierge know where you’re going and when you’re expected to return. And speaking of the concierge, instead of putting the “clean room” sign on your door (which is basically an advertisement that no one’s home), simply tell the concierge on your way out that your room is ready to be cleaned.
- Plan wisely. If you have mobility issues, consider a hotel that is close to accessible transit, and ask for a room on the ground floor so you don’t have to navigate any stairs (this is especially important if you’re staying in an older hotel or inn that doesn’t have an elevator).
Traveling can be wonderful, and you’ve certainly earned the right to as many incredible adventures as you can take. A few extra precautions can help ensure that your trip is memorable for all the right reasons.
For tips on safely arranging your travel online, check out our article on the great escape.