“I’ll travel around the world once I retire?” Haven’t we heard this often? This is how most of us think and this is what we budget for. But if we plan well and take a few precautions, senior citizens too can go on their dream voyages. Here are some senior citizen travel tips that will definitely help you to explore the wonders of the world without hesitation…
Pre-planning for maximum comfort
Make it easy for yourself by enlisting the help of a younger family member in planning your trip. List out all the tourist destinations you had longed to visit since a long time. Then choose one from the list and make reservations, keeping in mind senior citizen discounts.
Group travel: Travelling with your family is the best way for senior citizens to travel. But if the younger members of the family are not free to travel with you at the time, look out for the best group travel options. Most agencies offer affordable and comfortable packages specially designed for senior citizens.
Non-stop flights: If an agency is not booking your fares and you are doing it on your own, choose non-stop flights even if it is not the cheapest option. Changing planes can be very stressful. When you take a direct flight there is no chance of missing connections and you will actually save travelling time.
Jet bridges: Choose bigger aircraft rather than smaller jets. Boarding on / alighting from bigger airplanes is easier because they usually provide a jet bridge. You won’t need to climb/descend steps.
Suitable timing: Choose flight schedules that suit your personal body clock. Some seniors like to wake up very early in the morning. Others find it difficult to take on any hectic tasks till mid-morning. So choose your departure times to suit your own pace.
Travel insurance: At 60 years and above, there is a greater risk of falling and getting injured or falling sick in a foreign land. One does not usually carry extra foreign exchange to pay for medical attention. Besides, your travel plans may need to be changed at the last moment and you will have to pay for local accommodation to continue treatment. To keep such contingencies in mind it is advisable to go in for travel insurance.
Travel tips once you reach the destination
To stay safe and enjoy every aspect of your vacation, you just need to keep a few tips in mind once you reach your destination:
Regular medication: At our age we are probably taking at least one tablet for some lifestyle disease like high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, heart, etc. Missing ones medication is the biggest mistake one can make while travelling. The maintenance dose(s) will ensure your wellbeing and help you to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Book cabs at reception: Every time you go out sightseeing or shopping do not go out alone and hail a local taxi even if the place is safe and tourist-friendly. Sometimes language issues can create a lot of problems. Book a cab through the reception desk. This has two advantages:
- They will provide a driver who knows English and can help you with your day’s plans,
- The driver will ensure you return to the hotel safely.
Housekeeping: If you want the room cleaned in your absence, request the staff at the reception desk to tell housekeeping. It is better than just hanging the sign on your doorknob.
Don’t leave your passport or other important documents, jewellery or expensive gizmos for charging in the room while you are away.
Tourist activities: If you are travel with a group then the entire trip including sightseeing is planned and arranged by your agent. But if you have done all the bookings on your own, then plan your sightseeing activities so that you do not feel too exhausted at the end of the day. Most hotels have a travel desk and they can give you tips on the best tourist attractions, distances and travel time. Take on only those activities that you feel are hassle-free.
Eat right: Choose what you eat very carefully. Keep in mind any allergies you have, any diet restrictions recommended by the doctor, etc before ordering a dish. In general, avoid very high protein dishes, spicy/oily curries or sauces, eating at roadside food malls, etc.
Sensible footwear: Flat, canvas shoes or sneakers are the most sensible footwear while travelling. There are fewer chances of you tripping/falling and hurting yourself.
Inexpensive accessories: Never ever carry gold ornaments, designer wristwatches, or other expensive accessories while travelling. Keep a set of “to-wears” in a separate travel pouch to use on your trips.
Keep family informed: Keep in touch with your family and friends via Facebook and whatsapp. Keep uploading statuses and forwarding pictures at regular intervals. Most cities and towns around the world have reasonably good 3G connectivity (at least) so keeping others in the loop will not pose a problem. The local time and exact location will get logged into the apps automatically.
Of course, senior citizen travel is the easiest and most hassle-free when it is a group tour. I have already written about “Benefits of group tours for women” in a previous post and the information applies to senior citizens as well. Hope this has helped you plan your next trip and I do hope you enjoy it very much. Happy travelling…