I travel at least once a week for one of my businesses – usually within 50 to 250 miles of my home – sometimes staying overnight, sometimes returning home the same day. I travel domestically over 500 miles from home two or three times each year and internationally at least once a year.
Being in my early 60s, I have not felt a need to alter my travel destinations or approach. The only thing that I notice is occasional forgetfulness, so I like to have everything written down ahead of time – both my itinerary and my packing list. Good planning is a good idea for any age of traveler.
Some travel experts lump all seniors into one bucket and suggest that us “older folks” should take special travel precautions due to their age.
As far as special considerations for seniors who travel, the biggest factors to consider are medications and mobility. Of course, these factors could apply to a person of any age depending upon their health and physical condition. Although seniors tend to have increased medication use and decreased mobility as they age, you the senior will know best if you require any special considerations in your travels.
If you use medications, pack an ample supply of your prescriptions or any other medicines or essential medical device. Make sure that your prescriptions are available to you while on your flight. If your luggage is lost, you will still have your medication with you.
In terms of seniors and others who use a mobility device such as a walker, cane, rollator, scooter or wheel chair, see if you can rent one at your destination. As you plan your travel, contact your travel provider to arrange for lodging and transportation accommodations to fit your needs. For example, airlines are happy to assist passengers getting to and from gates within the airport. If needed, seek an accessible room for overnight accommodations. Make these arrangements prior to your trip.
Comfortable, proper-fitting walking shoes are important when traveling. To select the best footwear, see our blog: Proper Footwear for Older Adults.
As we age, it is important for us to recognize and respect our physical limitations. Be active but be smart. If you work out regularly, hike a lot, and are physically fit, then you will know how long you can stay on your feet and whether you can handle that 200-foot high ropes course in the Amazon. Being on vacation does not mean that you suddenly become 30 years younger. This advice applies to me so I feel fine passing it on to my older friends and readers.
To feel your best and optimize your trip, eat healthy foods and drink plenty of clean, safe water.
Here are some other things that I have learned from my travels – sometimes from mistakes, other times from fellow travelers and mostly from memorable experiences – often while traveling alone:
If you are like me, you may be finding that your areas of interests are changing as you age. You may feel less enthusiastic about traveling long distances or even unsafe vacationing by yourself or as a couple. Perhaps your health has changed and you have new limitations on your ability to travel. Keep in mind that travel is intended to be fun and rejuvenating. Identify those places that offer you what you are seeking at your stage of life. Optimize your travel decisions by your areas of interests, level of confidence, and health condition. Consider group tours, escorted tour packages or short trips to nearby locales that offer the safety and enjoyment that you seek.
For more tips on traveling, talk with your local travel agent or check out http://www.independenttraveler.com/ which has a variety of in depth travel tips and tools.
Please let us know your favorite travel experiences and safety tips. We would love to hear from you!