Travel for Seniors
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
Retirement is often a time when seniors look forward to seeing the world and satisfying a sense of wanderlust that has been built up over years of working and taking care of family. Decades of watching Rick Steves specials and mentally planning a vacation to a remote destination can, and often does, lead to a trip of a lifetime. Being prepared and aware of concerns that could arise due to a medical condition, mobility issue, and the “rush” that can accompany a whirlwind trip, can help you safely enjoy time as a world explorer. So, grab your passport, camera, luggage, and go!
Three Tips for Safe Senior Travels
- Bring enough medication. Over-the-counter and prescription medication can be difficult to fill or find when traveling outside the United States. Request a “vacation” refill from your insurance company prior to leaving so you will have enough to last during the trip. Always bring a few extra days supply of medication just in case items are lost, dropped, or if there is a travel mishap.
Carry an extra set of medicine in two different carry on bags so that you always have a backup if one set gets misplaced during travel. Include a list of medications and dosages and a copy of a prescription refill in case you need to make an unexpected physician’s visit during your stay. Also, now is the time to pack a spare pair of eyeglasses.
- Research the location for any concerns. There is nothing like the disappointment when you realize that the highlight of your trip requires walking a mile uphill or several flights of century old stone steps. Read more about your travel local and request additional information from your travel guide or travel agenda prior to booking.
Unlike the United States, many hotels in foreign countries do not have elevators. When reserving lodging, call to request a first floor hotel room so you can avoid the stairs. Since travel can often mean subways or buses in many cities, be sure to bring extra local currency for ubers or taxis if your distance to one of the public transportation options is too far to walk.
When mobility is a challenge, cruises are especially a great way to travel. With electronic scooters, seniors can zig and zag to the fun!
Retirement also brings the luxury of being able to travel at a moments notice or during off-season times of the year. Whether it’s to avoid the crowds or extreme temperatures, traveling off season can be an economical way to travel that may allow you to upgrade your hotel, airfare, or add excursions and tours.
- Travel with Family. From helping to board the airplane, to discussing issues that may arise with the airline, hotel, or travel guide, a family member can be a valuable resource – plus, you can get to spend valuable time and make memories with those you love most. For individuals with mobility issues, a family member can also help you better navigate and may be able to also help with your luggage. A traveling companion can also help you plan your trip. Traveling with family is a win-win!
Airline resources for senior travel
These links will give you more information about policies and services available for elderly, disabled, or special needs passengers from various domestic airlines:
- Allegiant’s page for other special needs passengers.
- American Airlines has a page on accessibility and assistance for customers with disabilities.
- Delta has a page for travelers who need special assistance.
- Frontier Airlines page on travelers with special needs.
- Spirit’s page for travelers who need special assistance.
- Southwest Airlines has an entire page devoted to senior travel.
- United Airlines offers seniors travel tips and discounts.
- US Airways page on “mobility disability.”
This is your life, live it up. Explore the world, make memories, and be safe and prepared for an amazing experience. Bon Voyage!