If you’re a proud grandma or grandad traveling to see you kids or grand kids, a solo traveler who’s 60 or above, or just a retiree who wants to see the world, then you know that travel can pose a few challenges that didn’t exist, let’s say, 10 years ago. Maybe carrying heavy luggage is a bit difficult. Maybe it’s sitting through really long flights. Maybe it’s browsing through the millions of confusing new sites and apps to secure your perfect travel plan.
Here are a few tips you can follow so that your next trip is relaxing and enjoyable, leaving you with only fond memories (and a nice tan) from your holiday!
Don’t Stress Out Over Booking Your Ticket
Before you even set foot on your flight, there’s always the initial stage of booking your ticket. If you find it tedious to navigate the complicated options and add-ons a lot of travel sites try to sell you, then you might want to consider an online site where they do have travel agents you can talk to. This may also help you customize your flight, hotel stay, and car rental needs faster. Also, don’t forget to check if sites have special flight deals for seniors.
Need to plan a trip but tired of all the websites and apps? Talk to a travel agent who can save you the hassle!
Find the Perfect Seat For You
When selecting your seat, an aisle seat would give you the freedom to get up and walk about easier than a window seat. Seats near an exit will also give you more leg room, but the lack of a seat in front of you also means you may have to sacrifice under-seat storage space as well as a place where you can store your earphones, blanket, etc.
Pack Essentials and Travel Light
Pack practically, travel light, and take along plenty of layers of clothing that can be worn in a variety of different weather conditions. Always remember to pack some flat, comfortable walking shoes, and we recommend going comfort over style! If your phone already has a camera, great — it’ll save you the hassle of keeping track of another camera case (unless you’re an amateur photographer who needs lenses and gear). Also, don’t forget a trusty pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes when you hit those beautiful Caribbean beaches!
If you need to maximize your luggage space when packing, read more here for some useful tips.
Organize Your Medication
Make sure you put all your medication in clear Ziploc bags. This will make identification easy, especially if you need something urgently when on the move. It’s important to split up your medication between bags – this will be a safety net in case one of your pieces of luggage gets lost. Also remember to carry your prescriptions and/or physician statements with you, just in case you need to provide this information at any point in your journey. Before you leave home, you may also want to check with your doctor for a list of the generic names of some of the meds you’re on (just in case of emergency), as pharmacists outside the US may not recognize the particular brand you’re using.
Stay Limber, Hydrate, and Rest Up
As we mentioned earlier, getting the aisle seat can be crucial to keeping you comfortable and giving you the option to stretch your legs every few hours. Just follow the exercises mentioned here to keep your blood circulation flowing and to stay comfortable through your trip. As you may know, staying hydrated is important, so make sure your intake of H2O is frequent (and go easy on the red wine!). Airlines should provide a sleep mask (or take your own) to help keep out the light so that you can get some sleep, and you can also take some ear plugs to blissfully block out noisy passengers.
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Take Precautions and Don’t Be Too Flashy
While being a senior will give you priority treatment in most countries you travel to, you may not be invulnerable to some of the misfortunes that most travelers face, notably theft. The main thing is to not flash your jewelry and other valuables around too much and always carry cash in a safe place. A wallet in your back pocket or a handbag may be the obvious target for thieves. Be smart and find another pocket where you can safely keep cash. Always carry a small book with emergency contact numbers for your destination and some phrases in the local language (if not an English speaking country) to ask for help. It’s also a great idea to carry a backup mobile phone you can keep at the hotel, just so you can store a few important contacts in case you lose your main phone.
Embrace Some Useful Technology
If you’re tech-savvy, then you’ll have no trouble downloading and using some of these apps – trust us – it will make your lives a whole lot easier AND they’re so easy to use you won’t need your grand kids to show you the ropes!
Pillboxie: Helps in organizing medication and gives you reminders for when to take them.
Lumosity: Why not make better use of your waiting time at airports and on long flights? These games can help improve your brain power and memory skills…and are a lot of fun!
Skype: The easy way to let everyone know that you’re doing fine, and what’s more, will work fine on Wi-Fi wherever you are in the world.
Netflix: Booked a long-haul budget flight with no in-flight entertainment? You can download your favorite shows and movies and home and watch them while flying.
Are you an avid traveler who’s over 60? What travel tips can you share with us?