No matter your destination, a few precautions can help ensure a safe and successful trip.
Now that you have time to go to all the places you've always dreamed about, make the most of it by being a savvy traveler. Traveling at any age is best accompanied by a few extra precautions to ensure your trip is safe and enjoyable. With these travel tips for seniors, your journeys will be nothing but smooth sailing and clear skies.
Planning Your Trip
Any successful trip begins long before the plane leaves the ground. As soon as possible, check to make sure forms of identification like a driver's license or passport won't expire before you return, and replace them if necessary. Discuss your travel plans with a healthcare provider in case there are any additional precautions you should take. Before you depart, share your itinerary, including flight information, hotel details, and contact numbers, with family and friends so people know where to reach you.
When traveling, don't be afraid to ask for the help you need to make yourself more comfortable. Requesting an electric cart or wheelchair for transportation through security to the gate can alleviate the physical stress of lugging your stuff throughout the airport, for example. To reserve one, call your airline at least forty-eight hours prior to your flight. If you're taking a long flight, check in advance to make sure you can get an onboard meal that meets your dietary needs. Airport food options can be limited, so it might also be helpful to bring a few healthy snacks from home.
In addition to making yourself comfortable, taking care of a few logistical items ahead of time can ensure a smooth trip. Here are some things to consider:
- Setting yourself up with TSA PreCheck means you won't have to remove your shoes in the security line and it can be helpful for anyone with metal implants, such as pacemakers.
- Learn about currency rates at your travel destination. Does it make more sense to exchange money in advance or after you arrive?
- Inform your credit card company that you're traveling so they don't freeze your account due to suspicious activity.
- If you're traveling internationally, check with your cell phone carrier to see if your plan includes international calling, if you can purchase an international package, or if you can upgrade for a month to get you through your trip.
Your vacation is a well-deserved break, but it doesn't mean you have to take a break from caring for yourself. Talk to your Rite Aid Pharmacist to ensure you have an ample supply of all necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter before you depart and pack them in your carry-on luggage. It's also a good idea to make a list of all your medications in case you need to replace them due to loss or damage. Include the generic names as well as your prescribed dosages. Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- If you'll be crossing time zones speak with your healthcare provider about whether you should take your medication at the usual time or switch to your local time zone.
- Keep medications in their original, labeled containers to avoid questions or delays at customs and immigration.
Sometimes getting to the best destinations requires an arduous journey. Combat this with a little self-care. Plane air is dry and can exacerbate dehydration, so remember to pack an empty, reusable water bottle and fill it up before boarding. Keep a nourishing lotion, like Gold Bond Intensive Healing Cream, in your carry-on to ward off dry skin. Enclosed spaces also increase the presence of germs that can cause colds and infections; avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as much as possible and use hand sanitizer to clean your hands frequently.
Stress, sleep, and activity level are often impacted by travel, and an unfamiliar routine might make you tired or cause changes in mood. Pay attention to your sleep patterns and exercise quantity, and be sure to give yourself a break if you need it.
Older adults are more likely to develop deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that blocks blood flow and can be dangerous if not properly addressed. The risk can be increased by sitting still for long periods of time—like on an airplane—but there are ways to keep yourself safe. The key is circulation. On longer flights, standing, stretching, and walking in the aisle when possible can all help to promote blood flow in your legs. Compression stockings on the lower legs can also be effective, and your healthcare provider can help you decide whether they would benefit you.
Travel is one of the great joys of life, and it shouldn't be affected by age. By sticking with these safe travel tips for seniors, you can ensure that there are many more amazing vacations in your future.
By Joelle Klein
USA Today, Travel Tips for the Elderly
AgingCare.com, Ten Traveling Tips for the Elderly
US Department of State, Considerations for Older Travelers
SmarterTravel.com, 7 Safety Tips for Senior Travelers
HealthinAging.org, Safe Travel Tips for Older Adults
New York Times, Flying Tips for Older Passengers