While some older Americans assume that at their age travel can be tiresome, stressful and draining, let us assure you that it may be a good idea to put your fears aside, retrieve your suitcase and start contemplating a new journey.
Exploring the fascinating and diverse world we are living in should not be reserved just for the younger crowd. With proper planning, older adults can derive all kinds of benefits from a trip, expand their horizons, meet interesting people and boost their energy, health and spirit. Remember: you are never too old for some new experiences, and you are allowed to have fun and live your life to the fullest (provided your physician gives you the green light to embark on your next adventure). Furthermore, travelling and occasional change of scenery could be vital for your mental health as suggested by National Council on Aging (NCA).
Below are a few valuable tips on how to travel safely and get the most of your journey while avoiding potential hazards and setbacks.
- Pay attention to public health guidelines
As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone should wear face coverings when using public transportation, especially those who are over 50. It is crucial that older Americans wear face coverings in the airport or on the plane and keep in mind that Covid-19 may still pose potential health risks, as so many people are growing complacent and throwing caution to the wind.
- Avoid publicizing your trip on social media
While most people have the urge to share their excitement about the upcoming trip, it would be better to avoid announcing the great news on social media. You probably know why. There is no need for everyone to know about your travel plans and your house being unsupervised while you are enjoying your journey. In fact, you may want to ask your closest friend or a family member to house sit and keep “uninvited guests” at bay, for as long as you are having time of your life in a different state or a foreign country.
- Keep your medication handy
While packing your beautiful vacation outfit, sunhat and sunglasses, don’t forget about your prescriptions. As stated on NCA’s website, if you take at least one medication, be sure to pack it in your carry-on where you can quickly and easily access it at any time or avoid losing it. In other words, carry your medications with you and not in your luggage and if you have syringes, pumps, freezer packs or IV bags, the TSA should allow you to carry it all on the plane. Get additional medication management tips.
In addition, if you are 75 or older, TSA may allow you to go through the security pre-check line so you avoid removing your shoes or separating your laptop or liquids from your carry-on.
- Stretch your legs more often
Whether you choose to board an airplane, take the train or get a car ride, more likely than not you will be seated for an extended period of time. Evidence shows that older travelers may be facing a serious risk of developing deep vein thrombosis caused by lack of movement. With that in mind, try to get an aisle seat in an airplane which makes it easier to stand, stretch or use the restroom. If you are in a car, make sure you take frequent breaks, engage in some physical activity and stretch your muscles. A short walk can help!
- Planning is key
There are so many adventurous, highly upbeat and energetic older adults eager to engage in a wide variety of activities, have as much fun as they can handle and push themselves to the limit. While their enthusiasm is commendable and creating a bucket list trip may be a great idea, it is also critical to consider a few nuances before hitting the road.
There are quite a few crucial questions to address before fully unleashing your enthusiasm. Will you be able to get to your destination safely? Are you sure your hotel is well equipped to handle health emergencies in case they arise? And is there an appropriate level of healthcare available? Please be aware that some foreign countries do not provide the same level and quality of care you are enjoying in your country. Before taking a plunge, take some time to find out about all potential challenges your destination may present.
There is one more thing worth mentioning here. Some places may offer discounts for older individuals allowing them to enjoy some items or activities for a reasonable price and save some money. Therefore, we suggest you carry your passport and ID to benefit from lower prices and get more bang for your buck. Don’t be shy about asking hotel staff about potential discounts and experiencing more for less while having a trip of a lifetime.