Safe Travel for Seniors
Retirement brings many opportunities to travel. The fear of safety risks or the need to consider additional challenges shouldn’t deter you from planning and enjoying those trips. There are steps you can take to help you prepare for the unexpected and protect yourself, your property, and your possessions during your travels.
Do your homework
Preparation is the key to a smooth and safe trip. Resolve all your travel details well in advance, including timelines, transportation arrangements, and hotel reservations. Seat assignments and meal arrangements, as well as any special considerations for disabled travelers, should all be arranged well in advance of your actual travel. Confirm all of these details the day before travel.
Be sure to take advantage of available deals for seniors, but also try to strike a balance between the most affordable way to get from one place to another and the most comfortable. The more complicated your itinerary, the greater the chances that something can go wrong.
Preparing important travel and medical documentation well in advance is also a good idea. Make multiple photocopies of your passport, driver’s license, insurance cards, tickets, boarding pass, and travel itinerary. Place one set of copies in your carry-on bag and another in your checked luggage.
Be a smart packer
If at all possible, try to pack light. Make your security screening process easier by reviewing TSA guidelines for travel limitations, especially for essentials like medication and liquids packed in your carry-on luggage. Also, sturdy, comfortable shoes aren’t just a way to avoid sore feet at the end of the day; they are also a safety precaution. One trip and fall can send you to the hospital and ruin your trip.
Better safe than sorry
Consider getting travel insurance. This is especially important for older travelers who tend to be at greater risk of injury, illness, or other medical emergencies. If you fall or get sick, securing appropriate medical care in a foreign country can be a challenge, and the bills can add up quickly. Travel insurance is usually quite affordable and is well worth the peace of mind.
Use the security chain or bolt on your door when you’re in the room and try to avoid ground-floor rooms if possible, to reduce the chances of unwanted entry. Also, be aware that expensive jewelry, watches, and cameras can make you a target for criminals looking for an easy score. Leave the “bling” at home and take steps to secure your cash and valuables at all times.
Be careful what you eat
One of the pleasures of travel is getting to try new and delicious foods. But unfamiliar cuisine is also one of the challenges of travel. Don’t neglect your gastrointestinal health, particularly if you are on a restricted diet. No matter how tempting it may be to try those street tacos or that spicy authentic Indian dish, one ill-advised meal can lead to an illness that can ruin a trip, or even make you sick enough to require medical care.
Never pack essential meds in checked luggage and try to keep them with you at all times or secured in your room safe in the hotel. Bring enough medication to cover you if your travel plans change unexpectedly and you must extend your trip. It’s also a good idea to travel with an updated list of all your medications (including copies of any prescriptions, dosage details, and both brand and generic names) to make it easier to replace them if necessary.
Stay in touch
Keeping friends and family aware of your itinerary and travel status is a smart move, especially for solo travelers. Let your hotel concierge know about your daily schedule, including when you expect to return. Make sure you have a reliable cell phone with a plan that works in the country where you will be traveling and familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers.
Basic safety precautions
Thieves and pickpockets are an unfortunate reality of travel in many countries. Every traveler should consider a money belt or hidden wallet to secure your passport, cash, and credit cards.
Helping you through the process
Oasis Senior Advisors can provide you with support and guidance when you feel its time for your loved one to move to assisted living. We offer resources for seniors and their families, so you can feel confident in your senior housing selection.