Traveling is a great way to unwind and reconnect with loved ones, and you shouldn’t avoid vacations or weekend getaways just because you’re older now. In fact, you should be enjoying your newfound freedoms, like retirement or an empty nest. Being older just means traveling wiser and taking a few extra precautions along the way.
Consider travelers insurance.
It’s a good idea for travelers of any age, but especially for seniors who have a greater risk of illness or injury or even needing extra medication, if you trip is interrupted or delayed. Insurance usually costs an extra $100 – $200, not a lot to guarantee that you’ll be covered if something goes wrong.
Travel with a group.
Organizations like Overseas Adventure Tours specialize in small group tours for seniors to destinations around the world. Walking the World offers adventure travel for people 50+. The plus of these types of group trips is that they are completely planned down your transportation, meals and lodging. Like to stay productive when you travel, consider a senior volunteer trip or teaching language classes. While you probably shouldn’t hit the road solo these days, there are still plenty of options when it comes to group travel.
Don’t advertise your absence.
Unfortunately, seniors are seen as better targets for people trying to take advantage. When you go out for the day, don’t hang the “Clean our room” sign on the door. It let’s people know the room is empty. Instead, call the front desk and let them know you’ll be leaving and to send up housekeeping. AARP recommends a few other things: use the security chain when you’re in the room; request a room near the elevator (a more-trafficked area); and avoid ground floor rooms that are more accessible to thieves.
Take care with medications.
Be as careful with your meds as you are with your money and passports. Pack any medications in your carry-on luggage, and don’t leave them lying in plain sight in your hotel room. Just to be safe, bring enough for an extra few days should your flight home get delayed. Bring with you a list of all medication, their brand and generic names and dosages, and find out the name of the medication in the language of your destination.
Let others know where you’re going.
Before you set out for the day, let the hotel concierge or innkeeper know where you are planning to visit and roughly when you will be back. Double check with them that the mode of transportation you’re planning to take is safe. Consider emailing your kids or friends back at home your daily itinerary as well. And, keep a cell phone on you at all times should you get turned around.
Most importantly, have fun and take a lot of pictures to share with friends and family!