A rising number of senior citizens are capturing some of their youth by going on adventurous vacations. They are trading their free time for traveling. They are packing suitcases and even strapping on backpacks for the first time.
For some, senior travel is less about where they are going, but it is more about the act of motion and seeing what they can in their golden years. For other seniors, they are fulfilling dreams of hiking in the Himalayas or cutting their way through the dense tropical jungle with a machete.
Whether you are adventurous, or if you would like to go to white sandy Jamaican beaches and sip on fresh cocktails and listen to Reggae music, there are always activities to keep you happy.
Senior travel: tips & tricks
Here are some helpful senior travel tips to help you have an enjoyable trip.
Always make a checklist when packing
This is especially important because it’s easy to forget the smaller items when packing up suitcases (we have all forgotten toothpaste or a toothbrush at some point). Make sure to begin this checklist at least a few days before your departure.
This way, after making a list the first time, there’s more time to think of more items to write down later. Throughout the day, notice the items used every day with extra care to avoid forgetting anything.
Try to bring fewer items to lessen the burden of carrying your items. Be sure to check the weather before packing and pick out clothing accordingly. Bring clothes that can be mixed to maximize efficiency. Be sure to wear your heaviest shoes on the plane to lessen the burden in your bag.
When packing for a trip that is several days or weeks long then take one FOUR-WHEELER rolling suitcase and also a daypack our bag-pack. Always remove the tags from your last trip.
Tag or mark your bags to make your luggage easily visibly different from other bags. Add colorful stripes, ties, and tags showing your name and tour company (or email and phone number where you can be reached).
On the inside of your tag write your name, address, phone number, and email. Inside your luggage, put your name and a copy of your itinerary. Leave an emergency name and number. Where possible, use TSA-approved locks that allow your suitcase to be opened without breaking the lock.
Start packing ASAP
Once you got your list started you can then start doing the actual packing. You must practice packing way before you travel. There’s nothing worse than last-minute decisions. On the other hand, there are several advantages to start packing early. By doing so, you reduce the chance of forgetting something.
If you find that you need to buy something for this particular trip it will allow you plenty of time to shop for it without being in a rush. For example, you may need a light raincoat for the coming trip and you don’t have one, then you can go buy one without the urgency. If your airline has luggage weight restrictions, weigh your bag to make sure you comply. By packing early you can plan for such situations.
Make sure to use trusted websites for travel research
Take precaution when researching for travel locations. Many websites might be providing false deals with hotels and restaurants to grab your attention. Use trusted websites that you are already familiar with. Some popular examples: TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Booking.
Get travel insurance
At an older age, travelers are much more prone to injury or sickness. It is especially important for those who carry medication with them. It’s not uncommon for travelers’ suitcases to be lost in transit, and essential medications could be lost in the process. To avoid running out of medication or face an unexpected injury, paying the extra insurance fee is a small price for the reassurance in return.
Consult a physician before leaving for travel
Traveling to new areas expose our bodies to unfamiliar bacteria and illnesses. Make sure to be aware of all destination-specific risks from your physician and take proper preventative measures. Additionally, be aware of traveler illnesses including altitude sickness and traveler’s diarrhea.
Always check out senior discounts
Upon inquiry, many tourist attractions offer senior discounts. For example, many cruises offer additional cruise discounts for members over 55. Before booking, if you know any senior travel website, be sure to do some research on the website for a full listing of the offered discounts.
Bring comfortable shoes especially if you expect to do a considerable amount of walking. Two pairs of walking shoes are essential in most trips, shopping, touring, or otherwise. One pair can be worn in the morning or first day, and then switch to the other pair in the evening when going out for dinner. This will also give your feet a chance to recover from the fit of one pair. If necessary, consider taking a collapsible “monopod” which can be used as a walking stick as well as a tripod for your camera.
Arranging your clothing
Set out all your clothes and make sure every top and bottom coordinate with each other. It helps to choose one or two “theme” colors, such as black, brown, or khaki for a neutral and red or blue for an accent color. If you like you can make all clothes coordinate with your neutral color; select shoes, belts, and purses to match. If you bring your black shoe you don’t need to bring your brown shoes.
Try to plan around your neutral color. The common advice is to roll your clothes. To do this, lay every item out, pull it at the top, bottom and sides to eliminate wrinkles, fold it in half and roll it up. Don’t worry because your clothes won’t get any more wrinkled than they would if you had packed them flat, and they will take up less space. Tuck the socks, underwear, accessories, and belts into shoes.
Place shoes into a plastic bag (grocery bags are fine) before you pack to keep your other items from rubbing against the soles. Use travel-sized toiletries and toothpaste, if possible. Store them in a resealable plastic bag in case they leak on the route. Don’t forget to include a multi-plug adaptor for your electrical devices like handphones, cameras, and laptops if you’re headed overseas.
If possible, bring along a tiny travel umbrella. Also remember to put into your check-in luggage such items as liquids, medications, unless you place them into separate plastic bags and keep them at the top of your carry-on bag.
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What to bring onboard?
Plan to wear your bulkiest shoes on the airplane if you are flying. pack your jacket on board even if you don’t plan to wear it; jackets take up a lot of room in your suitcase. Always try to leave room for souvenirs in your checked baggage. When shopping, you’ll know exactly how much you can buy, because you’ll know how much room is available in your suitcase. Don’t forget to carry onboard with you, your passport, money, tickets/boarding passes, and prescription medication. Make a simple checklist for all these items. Call it your “On-Board Checklist”.
Go through your itinerary
It is very important to have a Travel Itinerary, even if it is for a few days. This is especially so for senior travelers. Most senior travelers are traveling for pleasure. they want to enjoy the trip. So, the last thing they want to do is to be bogged down with the stresses of thinking about what to do next during the trip itself.
First of all, check out the destination that you are traveling to. Is there a lot of walking, physical exercise, and downtime? This is important in choosing what to take on your trip. For those who need it, always bring extra medication.
If you are going to be gone for a week, bring an extra week of medication. You never know when a plane is delayed, a bus breaks down, or a train is unable to meet the schedule. This ensures that you will have ample medication. Also, if you have a list of medications, always carry that with you, in case of sickness or emergency. Make sure that you carry an extra pair of glasses. If you cannot carry an extra pair, be sure and carry your prescription with you.
Plan to wear your clothes in layers and always bring an extra light sweater. This is good for a cool bus or an air-conditioned restaurant. Carry a small bottle of water while touring. This will keep you hydrated. You cannot carry this bottle on the plane so empty it before you check-in.
In case of emergency
Make sure when you are packing, to pack several blouses extra. It is easy to spill something on a blouse, and with extra blouses/shirts, you can always replace the soiled one with a fresh one. If you want to, you can also take some stain remover for your clothing. A specialty treated cloth can be purchased in a sealed package, to be used once and discarded.
A list of important names and addresses, for emergency purposes, should be placed in the suitcase and your handbag or wallet. Cell phones should have the designation, ICE (in case of emergency), and the number of your closest kin. It is better to have this essential information conveniently kept with you at all times rather than try to find it while you are on the road.
Use Courtesy Services
If you’ve ever been to an airport, you know that many electric cars are available to carry seniors and others who need help. Don’t feel ashamed to use these, because they are available for your convenience.
Seniors are given priority when boarding planes, and on some buses and trains, too. You don’t need to wait in long lines before departure. Instead, you can move to the front of the line.
Take Senior Tours
Senior tours allow the elderly to enjoy historical and famous locations by moving at a slower pace. Normal tour groups are whisked through their itineraries without much time to reflect on what they have seen.
Don’t Get Stressed Out by the Unexpected
If you have decided to be a little adventurous and travel to an underdeveloped or Third World destination, you will need to learn how to relax and prepare for the unexpected. Buses will occasionally break down; some transportation might be very late, and you cannot expect the same comforts of home.
To enjoy the best experience, you will need more than packed bags, a ticket, and a pocket full of money. Make sure your doctor says that you are healthy enough to travel, and try not to make your vacation too strenuous.
Some of the best senior travel ideas come through careful planning and patience. If you want your trip to run smoothly, you should check on your destination in advance.