Safe Travel Tips for Seniors
Monday, September 28, 2015
One of the greatest benefits of retirement is the freedom to travel and experience the world in a new way. Here are a few tips to minimize the stress and maximize the enjoyment of your next adventure.
Before you leave
Research your destination. Whether it’s a first time visit or a yearly getaway, knowing what to expect will help ease travel anxiety. Familiarize yourself with local customs and traditions, check travel advice sites to learn about situations that may affect your safety, and keep an eye on the weather forecast.
Visit your doctor. A medical check-up will confirm that you are in good health for travel. It is also an opportunity to discuss any concerns you might have about managing health conditions and medications while on your trip. Ensure that your prescriptions will cover the length of your stay.
Get your shots. Travel exposes you to many potential health risks and diseases. One of the most important things to do is to get vaccinated before your trip. Required vaccinations can vary by destination and by age and medical history. Consult with a travel health clinic to make sure you are properly vaccinated, and keep in mind that you should get your shots six weeks before you travel. Read more information on travel vaccines.
Don’t skip the travel insurance. While it may be more expensive for mature travellers, the importance of having travel insurance cannot be overstated. Make sure your plan covers any pre-existing medical conditions as well as things like medical evacuation. Read more travel insurance tips.
Make sure you have all your documents in order. Make photocopies of your valid passport, visa and birth certificate. Leave a copy at home with family or friends in the event of an emergency. It is also a good idea to take a copy with you and keep it separate from the originals in case your luggage is lost or stolen.
Know whom to call in case of emergency. Have the numbers of the local emergency services, as well as the closest Canadian embassy on hand. If you cannot find a Canadian embassy, Australian and British embassies can assist you in an emergency.
In the air
Pack smart. Bring a small carry-on bag with a toothbrush and toothpaste, a change of clothes and any medication you might need if your checked luggage is delayed or goes missing.
Decrease your risk of DVT while traveling. Deep vein thrombosis can be a major concern on long flights and car trips. Reduce your risk of a clot by staying hydrated and getting up to walk around the aircraft or out of the car hourly. If you can, book an emergency row on the plane for extra legroom.
Make yourself comfortable. Being well rested will make a big difference when you reach your destination. Pack a travel pillow and blanket to hopefully catch some sleep. Bring along light and healthy snacks, and avoid alcohol as it is dehydrating.
At your destination
Don’t overdo it. Travelling is exhausting for everyone. It can be particularly difficult to adjust to a new time zone and routine. Give yourself time to adjust before seeing major attractions. Plan low-energy activities for your first day or two.
Stick to bottled water. Different water sources can upset your system, taking precious time out of your holiday. If you are in doubt about the drinking water at your destination, pick up a few bottles from the grocery or convenience store.
Join a group. Group excursions offer many benefits. Your knowledgeable tour guide will provide inside information on the surroundings. Planned excursions can often accommodate special needs such as a washroom on board a bus, or facilities for those who are physically challenged. Being part of a group is also more secure than navigating new roads on your own.
Come prepared. When out and about, carry a bag with a few snacks and a water bottle or two. This will allow you to stay full and hydrated in case you can’t find a place to eat when hunger strikes. If you are diabetic, bring something that will help to balance out your sugar levels in case you have an unexpected low.
There is no age limit to experiencing new adventures. Just remember to plan ahead, be safe and of course, have fun!