One of the many benefits of growing older is capitalizing on a lifetime of hard work to experience new places and cultures, especially as summer draws near. However, although the elderly don’t need to stop travelling, they do need to vacation smarter.
Don’t Neglect Insurance
Travel insurance becomes increasingly important as we age, as elderly individuals are more prone to injury, getting sick, or having a medical emergency cut their trip short or even prevent it from starting. For seniors, the additional peace-of-mind accompanying travel insurance is worth the extra $100-$200 it generally costs. You can learn more about plans specifically suited for seniors with this informational guide from Travel Insurance Review.
Keep your Guard Up
While most vacationers understand the inherent risks of travelling in unfamiliar territory, many believe that their hotels are a safe and secure place. Contrary to popular belief, thieves can easily slip in and out of a hotel without detection, and seniors are often viewed as easy targets.
When possible, request a room that is above the ground floor and close to the elevator, as foot traffic can deter would-be criminals.
Liz Dahl, co-founder of Boomer Travel Patrol, advises seniors to avoid putting the “clean my room” sign on their door. This advertises to thieves that the room is unoccupied and they know you’ve most likely left behind extra money, jewelry and other valuables. When you are in the room, be sure to always use the security chain.
Sampling unique delicacies and venturing outside of your food comfort zone is one of the best parts of travelling. However, there is nothing worse than missing significant parts of your vacation due to undesirable side effects from excessively consuming foods that upset your sensitive stomach or don’t adhere to your restricted diet. While it’s ok to indulge in moderation, it is important for seniors to be conscious of their body’s limits and keep heavy, spicy and cheesy items, to a minimum.
Don’t Forget your Meds
All essential medications should be treated with the same importance as money or your passport. Avoid packing them in checked luggage and keep them safely stowed away in your hotel room safe or a locking medication bag.
Plans change and flights get delayed. Be sure to bring enough medicine to last you an extra day or two in the case of an emergency. It is also a good idea for seniors to keep a physical record of the brand-names (and generic alternatives) of their medicines so they can be easily replaced if necessary.
Keep it Simple and Travel Light
Many elderly individuals have disposable income and some enjoy purchasing luxury items such as diamond jewelry, designer watches, and expensive electronics like DSLR cameras. However, seniors in unfamiliar territory are less aware of their surroundings and often seen as vulnerable to thieves.
Seniors should travel lightly and carry only the essentials. Lavish items should be left at home and carrying large amounts of cash should be avoided when possible. It is also important to note that a small compact camera, or even smartphones, take comparable photos to the larger models and are easier to transport.
Furthermore, pack appropriate footwear and avoid heels or worn out shoes as they may cause you to fall or sprain an ankle which can put a significant damper on your trip. You can check out our helpful guide to determine which shoes are correct for you.
Don’t Go Rogue
We encourage you to embrace your golden years as they can be some of the most exciting times of your life. Taking a spontaneous vacation is a truly thrilling experience.
However, it is imperative that you keep your friends and relatives updated on your whereabouts regardless of if the vacation is booked 1 day in advance, or 100. Tell them exactly where you’re going, the name and address of your accommodations, and when you’ll be back. It may even be a good idea to provide a detailed itinerary if possible.
Independent Traveler advises seniors to also check in with their innkeeper or hotel concierge and advise them of their planned activities.
Seniors should keep their cell phone on them at all times and consider investing in a pre-paid international roaming plan if travelling abroad.
Getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop travelling and Stannah is committed to helping seniors navigate their homes safely and independently, and continue enjoying the things they love to do most.