03 Jun Travelling in your Golden Years
Tips and Advice for Senior Travellers
Welcome to the golden years of travel! Retirement is often called the golden years, which opens up a world of possibilities for seniors to explore new destinations, immerse yourselves in diverse cultures, and create lifelong memories. With a wealth of experience and wisdom, senior travellers have unique opportunities to embark on exciting adventures and finally enjoy everything they’ve worked so hard for.
However, it’s important to plan ahead and take certain precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. In this article, we’ll share some tips and advice for senior travellers on how to make your travels during your golden years.
Plan Ahead: Planning your trip before setting off on your adventures is essential. Start by choosing destinations that cater to your preferences and interests. Do you prefer hiking in the mountains or relaxing on a beach? Do you have any mobility issues that may make specific destinations difficult? Consider factors such as climate, accessibility, and the availability of medical facilities—research local customs and traditions and any visa requirements or travel advisories.
Consult Your Doctor: It might be worth scheduling a visit with your healthcare professional to ensure you’re in good health and fit to travel. Discuss any pre-existing medical conditions, medications you’re taking, and vaccinations you may need. Request a written copy of your prescriptions, including generic names, to carry. Pack a first-aid kit with bandages, pain relievers, and allergy medication.
Be prepared for emergencies: Emergencies can happen while travelling, so be prepared for unexpected situations. Before you begin your travels, make sure to purchase travel insurance that provides coverage for medical emergencies and unexpected cancellations. Bring extra medication and copies of your medical records in case of a health emergency.
Plan your itinerary: Create a flexible itinerary that includes plenty of downtime for rest and relaxation. It’s best to avoid packing too much into a single day, as it can leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Plan for activities you enjoy, such as sightseeing, cultural events, or outdoor activities.
Consider group tours: Joining group tours is a wonderful way to discover new destinations, make new friends, and avoid the hassle of planning and organizing your itinerary. Look for senior-specific group tours that cater to your interests and preferences.
Book your accommodations in advance: Booking your accommodations in advance is always a good idea, especially during peak travel season and choosing accommodation in a central location helps to minimize travel time and maximize convenience. Opt for accommodations that prioritize the needs of senior travellers. Look for senior-friendly hotels or vacation rentals with amenities such as elevators, accessible rooms, ramps, and grab bars in bathrooms and on-site restaurants. Consider booking rooms on lower floors to minimize the use of stairs. Additionally, verify if the hotel provides amenities like shuttle services or assistance with luggage.
Transportation Considerations: Research the transportation options available at your chosen destination. If flying, check if the airline offers special services for senior passengers. Many airports provide wheelchairs or electric carts to assist with mobility. Remember to stretch and move around the cabin regularly for longer flights to prevent stiffness. Use reputable services when using public transportation or taxis, and be cautious of your surroundings.
Take advantage of senior discounts: Many hotels, restaurants, and attractions offer senior discounts, so always ask when making reservations or purchasing tickets. You can also consider purchasing a senior travel card or membership, which offers additional discounts and perks.
Pack Wisely: When it comes to packing, remember less is often more. Consider the climate and activities you’ll participate in to determine the appropriate clothing. Pack comfortable shoes suitable for walking long distances. Remember to bring essential medications, extra eyeglasses, and any medical documents or devices, such as a cane or walker; you may need. Invest in lightweight luggage with wheels for ease of transportation.
Make copies of important documents: Ensure you have copies of your passport, travel insurance, itinerary, important emergency contact information and other vital documents when you travel.
Once you have decided on the destination, we can’t stress enough but to research research research… Nothing is worse than getting to your dream holiday and finding out some places are closed on a particular day or at the airport finding out that your carry-on bag is too big for international travel. (You might end up paying an extra $100 to check it in! for example).
To get an overview of the distance between locations of where you are travelling, start plotting on Google Maps where you wish to go, as this will help you decide what you can fit in based on your time limit.
Travel Insurance - Never leave home without it!
Yes, it can be costly and a cost you would rather not fork out, but accidents can happen unexpectedly anytime and anywhere and having insurance gives you peace of mind. You might get sick before you start your travels, or while in some exotic location by the pool, you slip and break your leg, or what if the airline or tour company suddenly cancels their service? Without travel insurance, many countries’ ambulance and hospital bills are sky-high.
Basically, if anything goes wrong while travelling, you have the backup of your travel insurance to cover those hefty costs that may occur. So please don’t leave home without travel insurance and factor this major cost into your travel budget. Here are our recommendations: Insubuy, SafetyWing
- Check the weather forecast for your destination and pack clothing accordingly. Make sure to bring layers if the weather is unpredictable.
- Comfortable footwear: Choose comfortable shoes that are appropriate for your activities. Suppose you are planning to do a significant amount of walking. In that case, it’s advisable to pack comfortable sneakers or hiking boots to ensure your feet are well-supported and protected during your travels.
- Accessories: Bring accessories like a hat, sunglasses, and scarf to protect yourself from the sun and add some style to your outfits.
- Formal attire: If you have formal events or business meetings on your itinerary, make sure to pack appropriate clothing.
- Carry a lightweight scarf or shawl if it gets chilly; you will have that handy in your small bag.
- Wear compression socks during flights; your mind and body will feel refreshed when you arrive at your destination.
- For colder climates, pack clothes made from merino wool.
Packing the Essentials
Here is a list of items to consider packing:
- Water Bottle
- Snacks, protein bars, mints or gum
- Hand sanitiser, tissues, wet wipes
- Cube bag for your dirty laundry
- Travel pillow & blanket
- A spare pillow case (to use on pillows wherever you stay) doubles up as a dirty laundry bag!
- Compression socks
- Use beauty samples for travel. You don’t need the full-sized bottle.
- A good book or travel guide book
- Slippers! Great for those long flights or at your accommodation.
- Earplugs and eye mask
- Take an empty water bottle to fill up and keep hydrated.
- Travel Journal to document each night what you did, as sometimes it’s hard to remember the fun little details, especially when you’ve been on the road for a while.
- Language translation app or guidebook
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It is always a good idea to keep a few medical emergencies on hand, as in a new country, you may not be able to find a pharmacy close by, or language might be a barrier. Some common pills to consider are;
Panadol, ibuprofen, anti-diarrhoea pills and aspirin to relieve headaches, pain, fever, and simple sprains or strains. Antihistamines to relieve allergies. Antacid medicine. Anti Nausea or motion sickness medicine and band-aids are probably the most essential.
- Keep a photo of your passport handy and email it to yourself and a family member in case you need it if your passport gets stolen or lost.
- Make copies of your IDs, credit cards, and travel documents along with an emergency contact number in case of theft or other emergencies.
- Get an RFID wallet during your travel for ease of mind.
- Have a copy of the contents of the inside of your luggage. If the airlines lose your bag or there is a delay, you can claim at the airport. Here the airline will ask you for a description of your bag.
- Whether you are travelling alone or not, let someone back home know where you will be staying and the estimated trip schedule.
- Dress like a local and try not to look like a tourist.
Stay connected with loved ones
Maintain communication with your loved ones throughout your journey. Share your travel plans, contact details, and copies of essential documents with a trusted family member or friend. Carry a charged mobile phone with local emergency numbers saved. If you’re comfortable using technology, consider using messaging apps or social media platforms to stay connected abroad.
Embrace Technology and Apps: Take advantage of technology to enhance your travel experience. Download helpful travel apps that help with navigation, translation, and finding local attractions. Apps like Google Maps, Duolingo, and TripAdvisor can be invaluable tools for senior travellers. Additionally, consider investing in a lightweight tablet or e-reader to access digital books, maps, and entertainment during your downtime.
Enjoying Your Trip
Stay Active and Pace Yourself: While relaxing and enjoying your vacation is essential, staying active during your travels can significantly contribute to your well-being. Engage in light exercises, take leisurely walks, or participate in activities that suit your fitness levels, like hiking or swimming. Listen to your body and pace yourself. Allow breaks and rest whenever necessary, ensuring you balance exploration and relaxation. Make healthy food choices and stay hydrated, especially in hot climates.
Travelling can be tiring, so don’t overdo it. Whenever you need, take a break and don’t feel guilty about spending a day relaxing at your hotel or vacation rental.
Immerse yourself in the local culture: Travelling is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. Try local cuisine, attend cultural events, and visit museums and historical landmarks. Engage with locals and learn about their customs and traditions.
Travelling in your golden years can be a rewarding and enriching experience. As an empty nester, embrace your newfound freedom as you have the freedom and flexibility to explore new destinations and create unforgettable memories. With careful planning and self-care, you can optimize your travel experience and thoroughly enjoy every moment of your journey. Don’t hesitate to venture outside your comfort zone and discover the beauty of the world surrounding you. Bon voyage!
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