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Travelling can be tricky for seniors, especially those suffering from health problems. But with good planning, trips and vacations can be safe and fun for elderly travelers. Here are some tips to make the next trip a success.
Consult Your Doctor
Before you leave, see your doctor for a checkup and to discuss your upcoming trip. This is especially important if you currently have a health condition like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain or hypertension. It’s also important to see your doctor if you’ve recently undergone surgery or are recovering from a procedure.
Your doctor will tell you whether it’s safe to go on the trip and what precautions you should take. Remember to ask your doctor whether there are any vaccinations you need to take (e.g. if you are visiting a place with a high number of infectious diseases).
Choose The Right Location
Choose your vacation destination carefully. You want a place that’s safe, easy to get around and where you can easily get help in case of an emergency.
Other factors to consider when choosing where to go include:
- Walkability and public transport
- Access to quality healthcare
- Safe and secure - the last thing you want is to find yourself in the middle of a riot.
- Weather - avoid places with extreme heat or cold as that can be a health risk.
Work With a Travel Agent
It can be fun to plan your trip. You can pick the places to explore, the hotel to stay at, where to eat out and so on. But because there are so many things to consider when traveling as a senior, planning for a trip is harder.
You may also not have all the information you need to make the right decisions. For example, which hotels have disabled access? Does a particular city have good public transport?
This is why we recommend that most seniors work with a travel agent. Sure, you’ll pay a fee for their services but you’ll likely save plenty of money since they’ll get you good deals. Most importantly, a travel agent knows the best destinations, hotels and attractions that are safe and friendly to seniors. So they can make your trip easier, safer and more fun.
Look for agents or tour companies that work specifically with seniors.
Get Travel Health Insurance
Travel health insurance is a must-have when traveling. It ensures you are covered even when you are outside the country.
The kind of cover you get depends on your destination and your health status. But most travel health insurance policies cover medical emergencies, medication and ambulance transport. Some policies can also cover for airlifts (useful if you are traveling to a remote area or going on an outdoor adventure).
Note that you can also get general travel insurance that includes medical cover.
Pack Everything You Need, Including Medication
Once you’ve sorted the basics of your trip — where to go, planning/itinerary and health insurance — it’s time to get packing. Don’t wait until the last couple of days before your trip to begin packing. That’s the best way to forget important stuff.
Write down a list of everything you need to pack, divided into categories like clothes, toiletries, and accessories. Pack any medication that you are taking as well as any medical equipment (such as a CPAP or glucose monitor) you are using. Don't forget the stuff you’ll need on the way to your destination like a neck pillow, snacks, a shawl for warmth, a flight face mask, a book and so on.
Have someone help you with the packing to ensure you don't miss anything.
Go Easy On Sightseeing and Adventure
Take it easy once you get to your destination especially on the first day or two as jet lag wears off. Don't pack too much sightseeing into your itinerary. You are better off seeing a few places and taking your time at each.
Take lots of breaks and don't forget to bring water and snacks with you wherever you go.
Finally, stay safe. Avoid crowded places, don’t go to any suspicious parts of the city alone, be cautious when interacting with strangers and have an emergency contact you can call at any time.
Remember to share your itinerary with family members or a close friend, so they know where you are all the time.