Finally, we get to travel again. Despite high gas prices, 60% of Americans expect to take at least one trip this summer. That includes seniors o are wasting no time getting back into travel mode, going to visit the grandkids or taking a long-awaited vacation.
No matter your specific plans, the goal is to relax and enjoy yourself. Here are some tips to make your summer travel plans as smooth as a cool breeze.
Don’t try to do everything
Plan your itinerary to match your comfort level and abilities – set your own schedule and pace. If you’re traveling with others, it’s OK to rest while they do one more thing, or vice versa.
Traveling by car?
- Sitting stiffens the joints, and it restricts circulation. Check your route map to note interesting locations for rest stops so you can stretch, grab a snack, and use the facilities. If you’re on a long road trip, places to take a break may be far between.
- Bring a water bottle so you can stay hydrated.
Traveling by plane?
- Pick a non-stop flight if possible, so you can arrive faster with fewer hassles (and potential delays).
- Double-check with your airline about current rules for getting through security and on board. Airlines have differing policies about boarding people with disabilities or limited mobility, and some have specific rules about medication containers.
- You’ll get through security with a smile if you wear streamlined clothes and slip-on shoes and minimize whatever you’re carrying on board.
- Sitting is an even bigger problem on planes, to the point where many seniors are at risk of developing blood clots (deep vein thrombosis). Even if you choose an aisle seat so you can get up and walk a little, it’s smart to wear support hose or ankle compression sleeves.
Mind your medications
Seniors tend to take more meds, so:
- Refill prescriptions, if needed, to ensure you have more than enough for your trip.
- Take a list of your prescription information and a brief medical history, in case you need to see a doctor while you’re away.
- Don’t forget your COVID vaccination card! (And note that foreign countries have variable entry and exit rules regarding COVID.)
- If you’re headed to a foreign country, check for any new vaccinations you may need. Some must be administered several weeks before travel.
Double up on personal documentation
Losing your wallet or passport can put a real damper on your travel plans. So make at least one copy of your passport, driver’s license, Medicare and insurance cards.
Passports can be used as official ID domestically as well as internationally. If your passport is within six months of expiration, some countries won’t let you in. Renew now and cross another potential problem off your list. If you expect to travel frequently, consider using the Mobile Passport Control mobile phone app instead of a hard-copy passport.
If you don’t have a passport, note that May 23, 2023 is the deadline to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. This is a more deeply verified document that allows you to fly domestically without any other identification.
Be good to yourself
Staying healthy and comfortable are top travel priorities.
- Always wear sunscreen – at least SPF 15, with both UVA and UVB protection.
- Dress comfortably. Think loose and lightweight – and long sleeves for added sun protection.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Sandals are stylish, but supportive sneakers will keep your feet walking longer.
- And speaking of style, a trekking pole can be a real plus on urban streets as well as the trail.
- Stay hydrated! By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, and seniors have a diminished sense of thirst. So sip as you go, all day long. And bear in mind that high humidity can lead to dehydration, just like hot, dry heat.
Be smart (and stay safe)
- In congested areas especially, be alert to your surroundings.
- Invest in a theft-resistant purse or fanny pack (nice because it’s hands-free). Or use a money belt.
- Notify your credit card companies if you will travel outside the US. The last thing you need is an inadvertent hold on your account due to a “fraud” alert.
- Avoid using random free Wi-Fi. Even if you’re in an establishment with seemingly secure internet service, don’t open financial or other crucial documents.
- Will your mobile phone work outside the country? Will it cost you more? Find out before you go.
Less is more when you travel, regardless of destination. Here are some tips on packing light from travel guru Rick Steves.
Pack your patience
Everyone is as excited as you are to travel, so things will be busy no matter where you go. Irritations are part of life, and things change. It’s all part of the adventure, and flexibility will carry you through. Besides, who knows what unexpected experience will become the centerpiece of your travel story?
Returning home feels great, doesn’t it?
As fabulous as it is to finally get back out on the road (or in the air), coming home is the perfect culmination to a wonderful trip. Especially when you live at Veranda of Pensacola! Independent or assisted living, our residents enjoy sumptuous surroundings and amenities and a wealth of activities that fuel the mind and body and elevate the spirit. Contact us to learn more about living at Veranda of Pensacola.