Travel Tips for Seniors: Planning Your Next Adventure

man walking with child

Travel Tips for Seniors: Planning Your Next Adventure

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Traveling After Retirement

Your senior years are some of the best for traveling! No longer bogged down with the responsibilities of work and raising a family, you can indulge in tourism, seeing places you have never seen before. Vacationing is an invigorating, energizing experience, but planning for a trip can be a chore. Fortunately, we have some tips to make your planning less taxing and your adventures more memorable. 

Plan A Trip Aligned with Your Interests

What type of travel do you prefer? Do you want an active vacation? Are you a nature lover? Would a cruise be the type of vacation you’d enjoy? Do you enjoy fine wines? There are vacations to suit every taste, whether you want a French river cruise, a senior yoga retreat, a safari, or just a simple vacation, relaxing on the beach. If you will have significant downtime, consider making your time more enjoyable by bringing books, puzzles, or crosswords. 

Be Comfortable

Comfort should be a priority for older people who travel. If you have mobility issues or other limitations, look for accommodations that offer senior-friendly accommodations. Choose your clothing to make travel easier, too, including sturdy walking shoes, fanny packs, and compression socks. In every facet of planning your trip, look for ways to make it easier on yourself. 

  • Travel with a companion. If you are lucky enough to have a spouse, relative, or friend who wants to travel with you, you can have your adventure together. If not, though, you might consider hiring a travel companion. Especially if you have mobility issues, bringing a caregiver on your trip can give you not only whatever assistance you may need, but also peace of mind. 
  • Don’t skimp on your trip. It is not necessary to be extravagant, but by this time of life, you know what is important to you. Don’t make travel plans based solely on price, but look to get the best value for your money and time. Read reviews, assess amenities, and make decisions based on what will make your trip most enjoyable. 
  • Have your luggage delivered. There are delivery services that will transport your baggage, as well as golf clubs, skis, snowboards, and bicycles, allowing you to travel without dragging excess luggage around. If you are traveling internationally, this can also save time in customs. 
  • Remember your medications. Wherever you travel, especially if it is to a foreign country, you may find it inconvenient to refill medications. It is wiser to work with your doctor ahead of time to stock up on prescription medications and pack any documentation you might need, especially if you will be carrying medication on a flight. 
  • Plan for your comfort. Dress comfortably, wearing supportive shoes that cover the entire foot, and consider bringing a trekking pole to help you traverse city streets, walking paths, and ruins. Bring enough water to keep yourself hydrated, and schedule time during the day to take a rest. 
  • Choose the right transportation. If your destination is within range of a road trip, that can be a fine way for seniors to travel, as long as there is a safe driver behind the wheel. If you prefer to travel by train, most of them guarantee priority seating for older adults. Air travel is the safest, fastest option for traveling, and some airlines give seniors priority boarding. Some airlines also allow travelers to choose disability options when they book a flight, like requesting assistance to and from the gate. You might also contact the TSA, so that you can learn about airport security policies for travelers with disabilities, mobility issues, or medical conditions. Consider your options carefully, and learn as much as you can about the policies of your preferred mode of transportation. 
  • Stay on the ground floor. Staying in a first-floor room makes traveling easier, whether or not stairs are a problem for you. When your room is on the ground floor, it is easier to shift luggage, too. 
  • Take along provisions. Pack snacks and water, and take care to get the proper nutrition when you are traveling. Stay hydrated, particularly on long flights or active excursions. 
  • Pack wisely. Pack light, keeping your suitcase easily portable. In your carry-on bag, along with carry-on basics, pack important documents, cash, a credit card and a medical credit card, a money belt, a travel blanket and pillow, medication you will need when traveling or shortly thereafter, your smartphone and charger, water, and snacks. 

Be Thrifty

  • Look for senior discounts. You can often find discounts on plane and train tickets, and popular spots for tourists, like museums, churches, and other attractions typically have discounted ticket prices for seniors. Even if the discounted price is not on display, it doesn’t hurt to ask! Just make sure you carry your passport or ID card so that you can prove your age and claim them. 
  • Consider a vacation rental service, like Airbnb or VRBO. Especially if you are traveling with family, perhaps with your grandchildren, having a home-like atmosphere can alleviate stress. Additionally, you can often get more value for your money than you would in a resort or at a hotel. 
  • Travel in the off-season. When you are retired, you are no longer bound by school or work schedules, and you can travel at any time of year that suits you. Traveling during the off-peak or shoulder season can mean lower rates, smaller crowds, shorter lines, and more comfortable temperatures. 
  • Shop around for travel insurance. Travel insurance can save you money and hassle if the trip is cancelled or interrupted, your travel is delayed, your baggage is lost, or you encounter an emergency situation. You do not have to book your travel insurance through any particular site, so take some time to find the best option. While you are at it, consider medical travel insurance, especially if you are traveling outside the United States, where Medicare cannot be used. 
  • Make sure your cell phone is ready to travel. Check with your provider to see if your plan allows international calling, so that you will not be charged roaming fees while you travel. If an international calling plan is not available, consider renting an international phone or buying an unlocked phone with an international SIM card. 

Be Safe

  • Mind the Wi-Fi. If you are using free Wi-Fi, do not pull up your private documents or online banking information. Whenever you want to use the Wi-Fi in a coffee shop, hotel, or airport, speak to a staff member so that you can be sure you are using the legitimate Wi-Fi service. 
  • Copy your documents. Bring along extra copies of all of your travel documents, so that if your passport or wallet is lost or stolen, you can find assistance more easily. It is also wise to keep digital copies of documents at home and use the passport app on your smartphone. 
  • Make sure you have the right documents. The list of documents you may need includes tickets, passports, driver’s licenses, a senior citizen ID card, your hotel reservation confirmation, and medical documentation to explain clearly why you need to bring along certain medical supplies. Consider renewing your passport if it will expire within six months of your arrival date, and look into which documents you can present via smartphone app, to save you from toting such a long list of items. 
  • Reach out to your credit card companies. Call before you travel and let your credit card company or bank know which countries you will be visiting during the trip, so a hold will not be placed on your card. You may even want to do this when you are traveling within the U.S., as many banks will flag a card used in a different state, as well. 
  • Invest in anti-theft bags. Anti-theft handbags, fanny packs, fake wallets, and money belts can help prevent theft, either by concealing your belongings or diverting attention. 

No Matter Where You Travel, Come Home to Parkwood Heights

At Parkwood Heights, our residents live life to the fullest, enjoying all the amenities that make Parkwood a great place to live their best lives. Located just minutes from Victor, Fairport, Farmington, and Canandaigua, our picturesque, 122-acre senior living campus affords many opportunities to enjoy your time with friends and family while enjoying our scenic setting. Call (315) 986-9100 to learn more about all that we have to offer, or check out our website and reach out if you have any questions.

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I moved to Parkwood Heights in 2005 because I wanted to live closer to my daughter. The activities department was the deciding factor. I enjoy having so many activities and events to choose from. Also, when calculating my expenses to live in my home or to live at Parkwood, the decision was made easier because the cost was about the same.

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