Senior Travel: Five Important Travel Tips for Seniors

Senior TravelTravel is what often makes the “golden years” of one’s life so enjoyable. At last, you have the time and leisure to explore new places and encounter new sights, sounds, tastes, people, customs, and cultures. There is good and bad news for seniors who wish to travel nowadays. The good news is that many businesses, including airlines, hotels, restaurants, touring organizations, and more are eager to accommodate the ever-growing population of seniors and baby boomers seeking to travel.

The bad news is no surprise: you are not as young as you used to be. Many of your generation are experiencing health problems and other circumstances that make senior travel more complicated and difficult than when you were in your twenties. With forethought and common sense, though, you can go virtually anywhere and be assured of a comfortable, enjoyable visit. Here are five important tips to take into account when planning your next trip.

Tip One: Plan In Advance

Spontaneity is great when you are young, but more of a challenge as you get older. When you were twenty-five, you could hop on a bus with thirty dollars, trusting just in your sense of adventure. If you had nowhere to sleep, you could curl up anywhere and wake up ready to go. If you love spontaneous fun and are not good at advance planning, it’s time to acknowledge that at this stage of life, planning is crucial to ensure your safety and comfort on your trip.

An useful and even fun technique is to picture every step of the way, every activity you will undertake. If you find stairs difficult to climb, make sure you inquire whether the places you most wish to visit have accessibility issues. When considering physical activities, be sure to ask about the physical requirements involved. If you find standing for long periods uncomfortable, anticipate the places where you will encounter lengthy lines and waiting times.

Tip Two: Make Contingency Plans

We have all learned that our computer files need backups. Senior travel definitely does too. In an unfamiliar locale, you never know when some local custom will close hotels for the weekend, or health professionals will keep very different hours than what you are used to, or when your supposedly confirmed plans will fall through. It may be tedious to have two or three other plans in place, just in case, but once you need them, you’ll be grateful for the effort you made in preparing for unexpected events.

Tip Three: Articulate Your Needs Upfront

Today’s seniors hold a lot of economic power and you shouldn’t be afraid to leverage this to your advantage. In these tough economic times, businesses need and want your patronage. Travel and tour organizations are finding innovative ways to serve the growing senior population. Therefore, don’t be shy about asking for items and services that will ease your individual experience. From firm mattresses to shower seats and handlebars, to first-floor accommodations, many businesses are learning how to cheerfully meet the needs of older travelers. Go ahead and ask, and if the answer is no, perhaps the next business down the street will say yes.

Tip Four: Travel Light and Use Appropriate Luggage

As part of picturing every step of your trip, don’t forget that you have to figure out how to get from place to place, and that this isn’t as simple as it once was. When there are people to help you with your luggage—bellhops and drivers—then all is easy. However, you may well run into unexpected moments when you need to transport your luggage for long distances, up a hill, down steps, and so forth. Bring luggage that is senior-friendly. Look for baggage that has multiple handles on the side and top, wheels, shoulder straps, and adjustable sizes. Pack as lightly as possible: learn to be versatile where you can, saving room for the crucial items.

Tip Five: Travel Safely

Most importantly, you must think about safety. Seniors can be easy prey for thieves, pickpockets, and con artists. Traveling in large groups is thus your best option. Be extra thorough in your planning if you will be going somewhere in small groups. Purchase travel safety items—and there are more and more of these. Besides classic items such as money belts that can be worn under your shirt and contain your cash and identification, you can find innovative items such as a false shirt that hangs in your hotel room, that in reality has hidden pockets for jewelry and other valuables.

Bags and purses can be found that are lined with wire mesh to guard against pickpockets. Travel locks can protect your belongings in crowded places. In addition, consider having your wallet RFID-insured, to guard against identity theft.

Important Senior Tip: You may wish to carry a second wallet containing a small amount of cash, that you could lose without too much pain, to deter thieves away from your real valuables!

Thinking things through ahead of time will afford you peace of mind and a comfortable journey, even when small unexpected problems arise, so that you can concentrate on relaxation and new experiences.

It’s not too late: Senior travel can enrich your life with meaningful explorations and new memories! Don’t be afraid to travel, just plan ahead to be a true Modern Senior!