Part I: Travel Tips for Older Adults (Next month, Part II: Best Places for Seniors to Travel)

 If you’ve always loved to travel, you can continue to enjoy your hobby as you get older. And, if you’ve dreamed of visiting faraway destinations, there’s no time like the present to get started.

In this two-part series, we offer some tips for making the most of your travels, along with fantastic destinations for older adults to consider. Wherever you go, think about traveling with a buddy; if you plan to travel solo, be sure to keep someone informed about your daily itinerary and always have a cell phone available.

Take Time to Plan

Before you set out for parts unknown, create a plan, which may save you money and maximize your comfort as you travel. Regardless of your destination, consider insuring your trip. If you are injured or targeted by a thief abroad, travel insurance can help keep the remainder of your trip going smoothly.

Make sure you understand how your supplemental medical insurance will work if you’re traveling outside the United States, since Medicare typically is not valid in other countries.

In addition, research the best times of year to travel to your desired destinations; you’ll save significant money by visiting in the off-season. Wherever you plan to go, pack as lightly as possible. Take less clothing than you think you’ll need, and plan to do laundry while abroad.

Focus on Your Safety and Health

To protect your home while you’re gone, limit the number of people you tell about your travel plans. If you live in a senior living community, be sure to alert management, so they can keep an extra eye on your residence.

In hotel rooms, use deadbolts and chain locks, and take your passport and other valuables with you when you go out. Consider leaving expensive jewelry locked in a safe back home.

Wear comfortable, flat shoes, and take along an extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Pack medications in a carry-on bag — never check them — in their original containers. Make sure you have extra doses of all your medicines, and don’t leave them in your hotel room. If you use a hearing aid, bring at least one extra battery.

Drink plenty of water and stick to foods that are least likely to cause stomach distress.

Be as Comfortable as Possible

Your comfort plays a significant role in how much you’ll enjoy your trip. To keep airport time stress-free, consider checking your main bag. With just a small carry-on, you can quickly breeze through the airport to your next gate.

If you have mobility issues, don’t hesitate to request a wheelchair or electric scooter to get you from gate to gate, and book flights early to get the roomier aisle seats. Consider reserving ground-floor hotel rooms if stairs are difficult for you.

By taking a little time to plan and focusing on your safety, health and comfort, you can continue to enjoy traveling at any age. Join us again next month as we explore some of the best places for seniors to travel.