Tips for Traveling Safely as a Senior

After a few years of having to limit our travel, we finally have the freedom to explore new places (or visit old favorites) as we please. For many older adults, this is the chance they have to explore the world, as they didn’t have the time to travel until retirement. With this time, you can finally get on a plane and explore the world.

While this is an exciting opportunity, it is also important to address that traveling as a senior poses new challenges. Whether you are hopping in a car, a plane, or on a cruise ship, follow these tips for traveling safely as a senior to ensure that you have the best time possible.

Tips for Traveling Safely as a Senior

Talk to your healthcare provider

Before you start packing your bags, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your plans. Despite traveling being mostly sitting, it is still an exhausting experience. It’s important your doctor agrees you are in good enough shape to travel, even if you’re just driving a state or two over.

If you are traveling a further distance, such as across the country or to another country, it’s especially important you discuss any health concerns. This way, they can provide more specific advice to fit your conditions and can ensure you are up to date with your vaccinations.

If you are traveling somewhere in another time zone, they may give you directions about when to take your medications. Certain prescriptions need to be taken at specific times of the day. You could do the math yourself, certainly, but it’s helpful to have that advice from another. They may also suggest you bring extra doses, as well as over-the-counter medications that they know fit with the medicine you currently take.

Splurge on travel insurance

Though travel insurance is another expense you may not want to spend, it is worth it. Travel insurance is not just flight insurance. It is coverage that protects against any financial losses that could happen while traveling. Depending on what type of coverage you choose to purchase, travel insurance can cover:

  • Lost luggage—unfortunately, it is difficult to get airlines to pay for your lost bags. Travel insurance can help cover the cost if you have to buy necessities like clothing, toiletries, and medicine.
  • Last-minute cancellations—if you have to cancel your trip, travel insurance will help you get more money back.
  • Injury or sickness—if you get sick or injured during your vacation, travel insurance helps you get the support you need if you travel abroad.

Reserve accommodations for the elderly early

If you are traveling by plane and you have a physical disability, request an aisle seat or a seat in a row designated for disabled travelers. This is an option when you purchase your tickets. If necessary, you can also request cost-free wheelchair service for both your departure and your arrival locations.

Depending on your equipment needs, it may be easier for you to request to rent these items instead of hauling them all with you. Speak with a travel agent for more details. Items like scooters, wheelchairs, power chairs, and walking aids can be rented from a variety of companies.

Stay safe as you travel

Packing tips

No matter where you are going, packing light will save you some grief. If you bring everything you need and little more, you’re less likely to worry about losing anything in the shuffle of re-packing. Not only that, but packing light will make things easier when you are actively traveling. If you’re driving, you’ll save room in the car. If you’re flying, you won’t have to worry about navigating through the busy airport with so much stuff.

Should you need larger luggage, bring along a smaller carry-on too. The carry-on should include a change of clothes, all your medications, and your important documents. If your larger bag is lost somewhere along the way you still have all your necessities.

Invest in a Bluetooth or GPS tracking device

If you’re worried about losing anything on your trip, invest in a Bluetooth or GPS tracking device. These items, such as the “Tile” or the “Apple AirTag,” are small and can easily be attached to just about anything you need. If you think you’ve lost something, you go to the device’s app on your phone and tap the “find” button.

Depending on the device of your choice, some will ring until you locate them. Others even come with a map that shows you exactly where it is. You can attach these devices to something like a wallet, or keep it in your pocket so your loved ones can keep track of you while you travel.

Staying safe while traveling

While you’re having fun on your vacation, keep in mind these travel tips.

  • Avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT): DVT is the development of blood clots in the veins of the legs. It is caused by coronary heart disease, obesity, and sitting for extended periods of time. If you are at risk of this condition, wear loose-fitted clothing, wear compression socks, avoid any dehydrating drinks, perform leg and foot stretches while seated, and take walks as possible.
  • Don’t be a target: traveling at night and wearing expensive jewelry may make you a target of thieves and pickpockets. Keep important items (such as your medicine, credit cards, and IDs) in the inside pockets of jackets or on a belt next to the skin.
  • Take breaks: you may be excited to see all your vacation location has to offer, but remember—travel is exhausting. Take time to rest as you need it. While you are out and about, wear comfortable shoes, bring a comfortable bag, and drink plenty of water.

Return to support at home

It’s difficult to maintain all your daily activities of living on your own. If you think you would benefit from assistance with meal preparation, running errands, personal care, or another non-medical activity of daily living, consider calling Home Care Powered by AUAF at 773-274-9262. We would be happy to teach you more about our services.

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