With my birthday rapidly approaching, I thought it might be a good time to write a post with tips for active senior travelers. While doing research, I discovered that most of the posts out there are aimed at very elderly or infirm travelers. I’m so grateful that I don’t fall into those categories yet, but what about those of us who are strong, healthy and young at heart? Although we might be senior citizens based on our age, are there really special travel tips for us? The more I thought about it, I decided there are a few minor things of special concern even to spry senior travelers like me.
Before you Travel – Good Advice for any Traveler
Staying active is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your health at any age. Exercise regularly and get out and explore your own area. Learn your limits, if any, before you take on any long distance travel. Although I refuse to admit that I have limits, I know I can’t go sightseeing for hours on end anymore like I used to. After a few hours, I’m ready for a break!
Since I currently am only traveling in the US, I don’t have to worry about health insurance. If you are traveling out of the country, be sure you know what your insurance covers and if you need travel insurance.
Luggage and Packing
Be sure you have a bag that is easy to handle. I’ll never travel again without a small, wheeled bag that I can carry on the plane. Plan your wardrobe ahead of time and pack light. Due to all of my camera gear, I usually have a second bag which is always a backpack that I can stack on my wheeled bag. Thank you Southwest for allowing two carry-ons!
Don’t Advertise your Absence
Don’t advertise that you are leaving home, especially if your house will be vacant wile you are away. Posting on social media can lead thieves right to your front door while you are gone.
Keep in Touch with Family and Friends
A reader reminded me of this one so I am adding it. This is not something I’m used to doing so I forget it is probably important for others. I say I’m not used to it in the sense I don’t have anyone to answer to but I do let family and friends know my general itinerary and check in with them periodically.
Address any Health Care Needs
If you are on medication, use a hearing aid, wear glasses or contacts, etc., bring any extras with you that you might need.
Special Concerns for Active Senior Travelers
I think the only thing that is of real concern for senior travelers is to avoid looking like an easy mark. Thieves or other unscrupulous people tend to think someone with gray hair and a few wrinkles will be easier to take advantage of than a younger person. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t wear flashy jewelry or carry lots of cash.
I always wear comfortable shoes, especially when sightseeing, but I had to smile when I read a recommendation for seniors to wear flat shoes. Am I the only one who hasn’t worn anything but flats for more than 20 years? Seriously though, a fall or twisted ankle while you are out sightseeing is no fun. I know I was having a balance issue when I wasn’t exercising like I should have been. Just another good reminder to excise regularly.
Don’t forget to check into those senior discounts! I have a hard time remembering to do that but it is getting a little easier. It may only be a few dollars here and there but it can definitely add up. Also, if you find yourself tiring easily, check into special services that might be available at an attraction that could save you some walking or standing in lines.
My Final Thoughts
Last year on my birthday, I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. I had purchased a travel trailer, was disposing of pretty much everything I owned and getting ready to spend several weeks traveling to a new state. I was wondering if I was too old to be doing that. I proved to myself that I wasn’t and that I have lots more travel years left in me. I truly believe that staying active, whether you travel far or explore locally, will keep you young. If you aren’t already traveling, what’s holding you back? Time is short! Get up, get out — just go!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject and any tips you have for active senior travelers.
Until next time…