You don’t have to stop traveling because you are getting older. If anything, it’s when you are older that travel means more; a lifetime of knowledge allows you to fully appreciate the new experiences you’re having. And, if not for travel, what did you so hard for all those years?
But being older may often mean that you can’t travel the way you used to. What I’m referring to are the physical limitations you might need to work around, as well as becoming a number on a thief’s hit list.
Here are a few tips to take into consideration when traveling as a senior:
• Get insurance: While travel insurance is important for people of any age, it can be very essential for older travelers who are more at risk for falls and hurting themselves, getting sick or needing extra medication and not knowing what to do or if you’ll be covered. Added insurance will help guarantee that you’ll be covered if something goes wrong.
• Don’t advertise your absence: Though travelers assume hotels are safe, truth is, people with bad intentions can come and go quite easily in most hotels. Older travelers can be seen as” better targets,” so it is advised to protect their belongings. This includes not putting the “clean my room” sign on the door as these can be an open invitation to let people know that the room is empty. Thieves know that travelers often leave passports, extra money and jewelry in their rooms, and they know how to “jimmy” open locks.
• Watch what you eat: Like it or not, older folks tend to have more sensitive tummies and may be on restricted diets. It’s understandable when on vacation to “splurge” with foods. But unless you want to spend more time in your hotel room than out and about, you may want to keep the heavy and spicy foods to a minimum. Also some medications don’t mix with certain foods.
• Mind your meds: Speaking of medicine, senior travelers should pack their meds in your carry-on bag. Also be sure you’ve got enough medicine to last an extra day or two, in case your flight home is delayed.
• Keep the bling to a minimum: One of the perks about getting older is that you can now afford things you might not have had the chance to when younger and raising families. Don’t make yourself a target for thieves by wearing expensive jewelry, gold watches and carrying expensive cameras. The older traveler can be less aware of their surroundings, more unsteady on their feet and can be all around easier targets. This also applies to carrying cash as well. You might want to consider leaving the “bling” at home when traveling. Remember, small inexpensive cameras or smart phones will take pretty good photos nowadays!
• Keep others in the loop: If traveling solo; it is recommended that you keep others informed of your daily itinerary. Tell your hotel front desk where you’re going and when to you expect to be back. Keep a cell phone on you at all times.
• Stay safe on your feet: Beyond wearing comfortable shoes, wearing flat shoes will also help the older traveler to stay steady on their feet. Heels, even small ones, can make you prone to a sprained ankle or falling. Flat shoes will also help you stay comfortable and balanced.
Hopefully, the above steps can help protect yourself and your belongings when traveling the countryside. Safe travels!