Got the Travel Bug?
They say an investment in travel is an investment in yourself, and the good news is you don’t have to stop travelling just because you’re getting older. Your senior years are still a wonderful time to explore the world, discover new cities and experience different cultures – you deserve it now you’re retired!
It’s important to take extra precautions when travelling as a senior. You may not be as mobile as you used to be, you may need to consider other risks or vulnerabilities which you haven’t needed to consider before.
Here are our 10 favourite travel tips for seniors:
#1 – Seek Medical Advice
It’s a good idea to visit your regular GP for a full health check-up before you travel, particularly if you’re concerned about your health, wellbeing or you’re travelling abroad. Not only will they advise if you’re healthy enough to be travelling, but they will also suggest any vaccinations you may need.
#2 – Get Insurance
Don’t skimp out on your travel insurance. It’s important for anyone to have adequate travel insurance when visiting another country or destination, but for seniors it’s particularly important. You may also want to consider an insurance policy that covers cancellation of trip costs, lost or stolen personal belongings, flight change fees and medical evacuation. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
#3 – Find your Nearest Health Care
Maintaining your regular medication and health routine away from home can seem daunting, especially if you’re visiting a foreign country. But with a little pre-holiday research you can save yourself from a lot of stress. Investigate your nearest pharmacy, doctor or hospital to your holiday accommodation and plan your medications ahead of time – don’t leave it until you need it! Your health should continue to be your number one priority when travelling. Chances are you won’t need to seek medical assistance during your travels, but being prepared will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your holiday.
#4 – Pack Accordingly
Whether you’re heading overseas for a few months or travelling interstate for a wedding, it’s important to pack the appropriate items for your trip. Use your travel itinerary to guide you when packing your suitcase. Do you have enough medication for the duration of your trip? Will you need small travel bottles to take ointments on the plane? Are supportive walking boots required? Do you have a light backpack for long day trips? Packing parallel to your itinerary will ensure you have anything you need and avoids over packing. It’s also important to consider the weather when travelling – is it forecasted to rain, or are the temperatures soring? You can visit the Home Instead Summer Survival Guide for tips on how to say cool, hydrated and healthy during warmer periods.
#5 – Be Picky, You’re Allowed To Be!
As you age, you may find yourself requiring extra assistance. Many seniors are afraid to ask for ‘special treatment’ – but that’s OK! Request a hotel room located next to an elevator. Reserve the front seats of the bus tour you’re taking. Ask for that aisle seat on the plane (and don’t forget to walk regularly). It’s not being fussy, it’s a necessary requirement for you to enjoy your trip in the most comfortable and safe way.
#6 – Avoid Carrying Heavy Luggage
Travelling can involve a lot of lugging of suitcases, particularly if you’re moving between numerous destinations (lucky you!). It’s important to listen to your body and stop what you’re doing if something feels too strenuous. There will always be a staff member around to assist you with your baggage, especially during airport visits, airport transfers and hotel stays. Never feel afraid to ask for help when you need it.
#7 – Check Disability Access
If you’re someone who needs disability assistance, it’s a good idea to pre-assess whether or not your destination accommodates your needs beforehand. Many people remember to ask their accommodation, but forget to check the sightseeing locations they are planning on visiting. Simply picking up the phone and enquiring about wheelchair access or elevators will ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible. Your travel agent can assist you with your planning.
#8 – Stay Contactable
One of the most important aspects of an emergency action plan is raising the alarm. When travelling out of your home town, it’s best practice to keep a charged phone on you at all times with emergency contacts saved. It’s also best to stay with other people and keep a travel emergency kit handy, especially if you’re touring outside of a signal serviced area. Remember to keep others regularly updated of your whereabouts if you do decide to explore solo.
#9 – Keep Valuables Secure
Have you heard the saying, ‘travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer’? Metaphorically this theory is true, but certainly not if you lose your most cherished possessions along the way. There are a few safety practices you can undertake in order to keep your valuables safe. Travel belts or neck pouches are a great way to keep your phone, wallet and camera close to your body without having to carry anything on your shoulder. You should also avoid taking too many valuables out with you, including sentimental or expensive jewellery. Take advantage of hotel room safes and secure padlocks to your luggage when unattended. Travel experts also advise keeping spare copies of important travel documents such as flight details and passports.
#10 – Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself
We want you to jet off on that African safari without a care in the world, but we also want you to stay healthy and safe. Don’t get exhausted – plan regular refreshment breaks and rest when you need to. You should drink bottled water if you’re unsure if the local water is clean, and try to stick with your normal diet as best you can.
Accept assistance where you can and seek help when you need it. Home Instead have 25 offices Australia-wide and over 1,000 offices around the world, so if you’re wanting a getaway but need some help and support along the way, enquire about a Home Instead CAREGiver for your holiday – and enjoy your travels!