By the time we reach our sixties, most women who love to travel have a pattern of planning that works for them. We follow rituals of packing, planning and preparation, remembering from past experience and anticipating things that just might go wrong. However, personally, I always forget something!
So to remind myself and to help you plan your next adventure, here are seven senior travel tips will help ensure you have the time of your life.
Be Smart With Your Planning
Nothing will ruin your trip faster than an unexpected medical problem or a theft. While there is no sure way to avoid every problem, you can minimize the effect of difficulties you may encounter on your trip by taking a few simple precautions.
Make a copy of your itinerary and keep it with your passport. If you’re going out of the country, you may have to show it upon arrival as proof of departure. Bring copies of contact numbers in case of emergency, your bank and credit card company phone numbers and account numbers, the contact number of your insurer, a copy of your passport, and a list of medications you require with your doctor’s phone number.
Keep these documents together and away from your passport, but on your person or carry-on – not in checked baggage. Email all of the information to yourself as a backup. If these documents are lost or stolen, you can get on a computer nearly anywhere in the world. Be sure to let your bank know of your travel plans ahead of time to avoid a frozen account.
Pack from a List
How many times have you come home from a trip and realized you never used half the things you brought? Packing from a list may keep you from over packing or forgetting essentials. Make your list in categories: clothes, medications, electronics, documents, and extras. Keep medications, documents, and electronics in your purse or carry-on; put clothing and non-essentials in your checked bag. It’s a lot easier to replace a pair of shoes or a hair dryer than an iPad.
Organize Your Medications
If you require prescription medications, it’s best to fill a pill organizer before you leave. When you aren’t in your regular routine, especially when you’re busy having fun, it’s easy to wonder if you took your medications or not. This may require stocking up ahead of time, so pay attention to how much you have left compared to when you’re leaving and when you’ll return.
Plan to bring an extra week’s worth of medications in case your return is unavoidably delayed or you change your plans. Finally, don’t forget to take a copy of your prescription in order to avoid unnecessary problems at customs.
Maintain Good Nutrition
Just because you’re traveling, it’s no excuse to lose all contact with nutrition. If you’re flying, Nutrition Diva recommends, “dried fruit, nuts, sunflower seeds, or trail mix” – foods that travel well without the need for refrigeration, for the plane. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and during the flight, and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which are dehydrating. You can bring a personal water bottle through airport security as long as it’s empty, and fill it on the other side.
While you’re away from home, try to stick to your normal diet as much as possible, opting for choices like yogurt and fruit over Grand Slam breakfasts, and making healthy restaurant choices.
Whether you’re driving or flying, if you’re sitting for long periods, it’s important to move your body. At least once per hour, you should stretch or walk around. Yoga instructor Ann Pizer offers some stretches that can be done in flight, right in your seat. Before you get on the plane or in the car, don’t sit around while you wait, walk around or do some low-key stretching.
After you arrive at your destination, as soon as you can, lie on the floor or bed with your legs upright and resting against the wall, or sit with legs propped up.
As we age, we have increased risk for DVT, so it’s a good idea to use these tips to keep the blood flowing. They have the added bonus of being relaxing if you have travel anxiety.
Use Travel Insurance
When traveling within your own country, travel insurance can seem like an unnecessary added expense, but it’s smart not to leave home without it. If you’re traveling internationally, it’s hardly a luxury.
A comprehensive policy can cover everything from trip cancellations to lost luggage to emergency evacuation or lifesaving medical assistance. In addition to travel insurance, Affair Travel recommends using an ATOL or ABTA booking service to protect your tickets.
Keep in Touch
To keep in touch with loved ones back home, there are several free apps that can be downloaded to your smart phone or iPad like Google Voice, Skype or Facetime. Each of these services allows you to call home without charge from most countries around the world. All you need is a WiFi connection, which is readily available in most hotels and restaurants.
Be sure to let someone know you’ve arrived at your destination, so they can inform everyone else that you’re safe. Also, be sure to keep them informed of any changes in plans or locations. Check out the country you’re traveling to, and be sure you have the right electrical adapters for your electronics.
With a little planning, you can confidently focus on fun and adventure knowing you’re taking care of yourself at the same time.
Have we left something out? What other savvy travel tips do you have to share with the community? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Learn more about traveling and exploring new cultures in my interview with Evelyn Hannon.