I’m not sure traveling ever gets old – even if we do. One thing I do know is that as older adults, we deserve a well-planned trip that doesn’t involve our bodies feeling their age. With that in mind, here are my tips to make your next vacation the best one yet.
Plan AheadThey say the early bird gets the worm, and it turns out, that bird also gets to save money and fly away without stress. Take care of the logistics before you board the plane to save yourself a headache on arrival.
- Prepare all your travel documents in advance. Leaving the country? Apply for your passport (and travel visa, if needed) early to avoid paying for expedited shipping. Be sure to make a copy to keep in your safety deposit box as a backup.
- Book accommodations ahead of time. Save your energy for touring a foreign city, not for worrying where you’re going to sleep. The earlier you book flights and hotels, the cheaper they’ll be and the better rooms you can get.
- Choose a good time for travel. One of the best perks of retirement is getting to travel whenever you want. Most destinations have the best weather in the spring and fall. And even better? You won’t have to compete with the kids, because they’re all in school. Enjoy the freedom of having attractions all to yourself.
Pack the EssentialsIt’s tempting to pack your whole closet so you'll have everything you need, but who wants to lug all that around? Opt for a light suitcase with wheels instead. Pack just what you need and choose wrinkle-resistant fabrics.
- Don’t forget your medications. Talk with your doctor about your prescription medications, and get enough refills to last the duration of your trip. You don’t want to add a pharmacy to your must-see vacation list.
- Pack an extra set of glasses. The whole point of a vacation is to see the sights. Don’t miss out because you left your glasses on the bus or cracked them on the flight over. Bring an extra pair in a sturdy case, just in case.
- Remember snacks and reading materials for long flights. Traveling often comes with long delays. Pack snacks, reading materials, and portable games to keep you occupied until you reach your destination.
Stay HealthyIs there anything worse than getting sick on vacation? Avoid spending your trip in your hotel room. The following common-sense tips can help you steer clear of germs so you can stay healthy and enjoy your travels.
- Bring hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. When you first get on the plane, wipe your space down with disinfecting wipes. Don’t forget both sides of the tray table. Throughout your journey, sanitize your hands before you eat and before touching your face.
- Bring your own pillow and blanket. Don’t rely on how the airline defines ‘clean’. Using your own pillow and blanket means you won’t be sharing germs and you get to rest with a pillow and blanket that are actually comfortable. A neck pillow and travel blanket, available at many retailers, should do the trick.
- Get up and move around. They call it ‘economy class syndrome’. It’s when the blood starts to clot in your lower legs from sitting too long. Get up, walk around the airplane, and do some stretches. Your body will thank you when you land in your destination and you’ll be doing your part to prevent deep vein thrombosis.
Make Travel GoldenYou’re in your golden years, and you deserve a vacation that lives up to your standards. By taking care of all the prep work before jetting off, you’ll be in for a smooth and relaxing vacation. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Tracy Layden is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Tracy leads the marketing efforts at Alert-1, a personal safety technology and consulting firm dedicated to helping seniors live safely and independently. Tracy holds a degree in mathematics from Scripps College and is an accomplished ballroom dancer and equestrian.