For many seniors, retirement is a time to travel and spend more quality time with spouses, grandchildren and other loved ones. After all the COVID-19 restrictions, heading to new places might be hugely therapeutic, especially from a mental health aspect. However, there are important considerations to think about when you’re traveling – namely, how to stay safe and still have fun. Here are some of Senior Influential’s favorite travel tips for seniors to help make the most of your vacation.
Check travel advisories
Before traveling overseas, we highly recommend you check the travel advisories provided by the U.S. State Department. The advisories provide the status of COVID-19, civil unrest, weather events and more for each destination. You can also enroll in the government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP. The program provides advisories and alerts regarding safety conditions while you’re traveling directly to your email.
Work with a travel consultant
When considering where to go, think about working with a travel consultant. It can make a significant difference in your travel plans. This is especially true if you plan to visit areas with safety warnings or if you’re traveling somewhere that requires certain vaccinations. An expert travel consultant can point you toward the right cities, accommodations, restaurants and transportation. Their advice will be money well spent.
Get travel insurance
Travel insurance can protect you in many different situations, including medical emergencies or last-minute cancellations. Generally running a few extra hundred dollars, this policy is worth the peace of mind for you and your loved ones while you’re away.
It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when you’re traveling, especially if you keep a full schedule of sightseeing during the day. Take a large refillable water bottle with you at all times. Make that your primary source of hydration so you can see how much you’ve had to drink over the course of the day. If you’re traveling during warm weather, remember to pack sunblock and wear a hat to protect your face. Stop for breaks often and have a small snack every two to three hours to keep up your energy levels.
Beef up your phone
Before you set out, it’s important to make sure your phone will work as expected. Check the ability to recharge your phone at each destination and bring along a small charging pack to supplement your regular charger. If you’re traveling internationally, look into temporarily converting to an international long-distance plan so you can easily call home without incurring significant charges. Be sure to also invest in a more durable phone case for travel if you plan to rely on your phone for finding restaurants, sightseeing and GPS.
Plan your medical care
If you’re traveling out of the country, you may need certain vaccinations before heading out. Make an appointment with your doctor several weeks prior to your departure date and make the appropriate arrangements for shots, medications and anything else you’ll need during your trip. Most of all, if your trip is going to be a strenuous one, you should get clearance from your doctor before booking anything.
Monitor the weather
It’s also a good idea to stay abreast of weather reports for your destination and along your route, especially when traveling to areas known for hurricanes, floods or strong storms. You should plan for any potential weather event during your stay. Familiarize yourself with local disaster plans for the region you’ll be visiting.
Taking a trip can be one of the highlights of your year if you plan accordingly. While it’s important to find great deals on hotels, flights and tours, don’t forget to make safety a priority. We hope these travel tips for seniors come in handy and keep your vacation from going off the rails.
Our thanks to Jim McKinley at MoneyWithJim.org for contributing this article.