Seniors: Trips for Traveling the World Safely by Marie Villeza
Seniors: Tips for Traveling the World Safely
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Whether you finally bought that RV and you’re ready to take that trip to Colorado to see the mountains or you have a ton of frequent flyer miles that are itching to be used, your senior years grant you the perfect opportunity to travel. With the free time you gain in retirement, your financial stability, and your years of knowledge and experience, there’s no one who could appreciate a good galavant more than you. And you are not alone-- in 2017, 99 percent of Baby Boomers took a trip of leisure at some point with an average of five or more trips planned throughout the entire year.
If you want to make the most of your golden years and hit the open road (or sky!), peruse the following safety tips to make sure you are connected and secure.
Buy the Insurance
Travel insurance can easily save the day if something goes wrong while on vacation. Seniors in particular need some sort of backup as they are at higher risk for needing medical attention for serious injuries sustained from things such as falls. It can also help cover the costs of a medication if yours is lost or stolen while away from home. Keep a written log of your prescriptions just in case your bottles go missing and you need to refill them. In the end, you are spending as little as $100 a person for insurance and it can end up saving you hundreds-- even thousands-- if something goes wrong. It’s worth it-- just buy the insurance.
Share Your Itinerary
Share which hotels you plan on staying at, how long you will be there, and all your travel dates ahead of time. When things change (as they are wont to do), call or email your loved ones and let them know your new information. If you are on a road trip without a set itinerary to share with anyone, call your loved ones periodically and text them to let them know where you are throughout the day.
Leave the Shiny Stuff at Home
Pickpockets and thieves often target older people because they tend to carry more cash and have nicer personal items such as watches and jewelry. When you are traveling, a good rule of thumb is don’t bring anything you would be heartbroken over losing. Priceless heirlooms, your fancy Rolex… all those big ticket items you want to protect should be left at home, preferably in a safe. Never leave your bags out of sight or hanging on the back of a chair and keep personal documents and your passport in your hotel room. The most important thing to do is simply be alert and aware no matter where you are. Thieves like to target people who look lost or distracted, so acting with confidence and vigor should help deter them.
● Be careful with what you eat-- while it may seem like the adventurous thing to do to try some exotic or spicy cuisine, you don’t want to spend the remaining days of your trip nursing a stomach ache.
● Prepare your home before you leave. Secure the inside and outside, turn off power for appliances and electronics that don’t need to run while you are away to lower energy bills, and have a house sitter come by and check your place intermittently and make sure there are no unexpected issues with things like pests or plumbing.
● Wear comfortable shoes that are conducive to hours of walking and consider investing in some compression socks that help maintain blood flow while reducing discomfort and swelling when you are on your feet all day.
Your senior years are the perfect time to travel. 99 percent of Baby Boomers plan on taking at least one leisure trip throughout the year with many of them planning on multiple trips. To stay safe and have the best time, invest in travel insurance, share your itinerary with family and friends, and don’t take anything with you that you would cry over if lost or stolen.
Marie Villeza is one of our contributors to Home on the Range (ly) - a journal of historic and contemporary life in the wild and remote west- and writes articles for seniors and their caregivers that are helpful and provide valuable information to our readers. Please check out her site elderimpact.org