AS WE AGE: Tips for older travellers when going abroad
Whether retired or simply an empty nester, older men and women often love their increased opportunities to travel and see the world. Without kids to cater to or college tuition to pay, men and women approaching retirement age, or those who have already passed it by, find themselves with more free time to take to the highways and skyways and experience other cultures.
While traveling is a great way to make the most of one’s golden years, traveling as an older adult isn’t the same as it might have been back when you were a carefree teenager or twenty-something backpacking through Europe. Before setting out to see the world, older travelers should consider a host of factors.
Older travelers tend to travel abroad more than they do domestically, so be sure all documentation, including passports for each traveler, is up-to-date. If you’re traveling for an especially long period of time, be sure your passport is valid beyond the length of the trip.
In addition to passports and any visas you might need, make sure your driver’s licenses and auto insurance policies are current and will remain so through the trip. This is important for travelers who plan on renting a car during their vacation. Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license and proof of auto insurance (as well as contact information for your insurance company should an accident occur) on your trip.
Climate & Geography
It’s also important to consider geographical conditions before establishing any travel plans. Older men and women tend to have more health issues and might even be on prescriptions that can make it challenging to travel to certain areas. Before committing to a trip, consult your physician about the possible effects a certain climate might have on you personally. Some people might be sensitive to altitude and therefore unable to travel to high-altitude locations without putting themselves at serious risk.
When considering climate and geography, don’t overlook a region’s history or likelihood of natural disasters. If a given destination has a history of hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis, then consider that before making plans. It’s still possible to enjoy such destinations, but you’ll want to travel when such storms or natural disasters are not in season.
Luggage & Wardrobe
When traveling, it might be comforting to overpack because it can give you the feeling you’re prepared for any situation that might arise. But don’t pack so heavily that your luggage becomes a nuisance to take from place to place. If you’re traveling to especially tourist-friendly regions, keep in mind such locales often have all a traveler needs should he or she have forgotten something or experiences an emergency.
When packing your clothes for a trip, keep your wardrobe as conservative as possible. Anything too flashy could draw the attention of con artists or thieves, as tourists often make for easy marks. But don’t forget to pack some formal attire as well, as clothing that is too casual might make it hard for you to gain access to certain tourist destinations or restaurants.
While a vacation is an escape for many people, you don’t want to escape from the world entirely. Make sure loved ones back home have your itinerary and know where you will be staying should an emergency occur. If traveling abroad where you won’t have cell phone service, choose resorts or hotels with Internet access and ensure friends or family members you will check in periodically via e-mail. While staying in touch might not be feel like carefree travels of your youth, doing so will help your loved ones rest easy and will prove invaluable should something unexpected occur.