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5 Travel Tips for Senior Citizens

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You’re only as old as you feel! I like to say I have a 40 year old brain trapped in a 65 year old body. Although there are many travels I would still like to take and many things I would still love to do – my 65 year old body just doesn’t agree with the plan and doesn’t always get with the program!

Travel Tips for Senior Citizens

Driving 8 or 10 hours on a trip – something that I once did without hesitation – now takes a little longer and more stops. A full 12 hour day out exploring now requires more breaks.

Even though travel looks very different now – I will always give the same advice: TAKE THE TRIP! DO THE THING! LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!

Over the past decade the numbers of seniors in society have increased sharply due to the “baby boomers” reaching middle and retirement age. Caregivers, be they family or friends, are discovering a whole new area of concern – that of traveling with an elderly friend or relative. But with a little planning and a bit of research you should have no fear scheduling that cruise or setting up that plane trip for you and your friend.

travel tips for senior citizens

Safe Travel with Seniors

The first stop before you even start making reservations should be with the senior’s doctor or medical professional. Many people skip this step and end up devastated at the airport or at the wharf when they discover that they’re unable to travel due to medical restrictions. For example, if you or your friends are on oxygen, you won’t be able to fly.

Almost all airlines restrict the use of oxygen tanks being in the passenger cabin or even being transported unless there are special conditions and prior discussion. This is due to the obvious concern of an accident in the cabin leading to a potentially explosive situation with pure oxygen leaking out into the pressurized area.

Or if you have angina your doctor may recommend you not undergo the stress of flying due to the strain placed on your heart. Even if you think it’s a minor condition you should discuss all potential trips with your doctor before going to the travel agent.

Now that you’ve obtained the right information regarding what you can and can’t do as far as transportation goes, let’s talk about drugs. Prescription drugs, that is. Many seniors have a variety of pills that they usually dispense via a pill case, dumping out their daily dosage of pills into a pile and organizing them into a day by day series of boxes to make sure they have the right ones.

But when traveling there is always a concern of drug smuggling, sorry to say – and while you may know that the little blue pill is only corzide for high blood pressure and the smaller oval one is for high cholesterol, the security official may not be so knowledgable. Be sure to keep all original pill bottles with you while travelling in case there’s any question regarding what these pills are and the authencitity of the prescription.

As well, keep these medical supplies with you at all times, much as you do your passport or personal identification. Having your only source of nitroglycerine go soaring off on a lost piece of baggage isn’t just annoying; it can possibly be life threatening. Keep all prescription drugs with you at all times as well as the phone number of your physician in case of medical emergency.

No matter if you’re traveling by plane, train, automobile or cruise ship there’s likely to be a special service offered for seniors to transport them on and off safely, usually via wheelchair.

Call ahead and make sure that this service is available and make a reservation if needed to ensure that your friend or relative can easily be moved from the car to his/her cabin or from the ticket counter onto the plane. Many companies make it a priority to allow seniors and families with children to board first, giving them plenty of time to settle in before letting in the rest of the public. Take advantage of these services to make sure that your traveling is as problem-free as possible.

Traveling with an elderly person doesn’t have to be a major crisis if you plan ahead and make sure to know as much as possible about your options. With more and more of the population aging gracefully many companies are developing more policies to make everyone’s life easier.

Why not check out your options and think about taking that trip around the world that your grandmother always wanted to?

Packing Advice for Seniors

Packing light is beneficial for many reasons when it comes to senior travel. First, it can be cost effective if you have to pay to transport your goods. It also means you do not have to carry a heavy load around with you while traveling. If you are aiming to pack light and are looking for tips on how to do so, read on for several suggestions.

Choose Lightweight Items

One of the most straightforward solutions to packing light for a senior trip is to choose lightweight items. This is easy when it comes to summertime, as lightweight fabrics are highly desirable anyway. If you are traveling during winter weather, it can be a little more difficult. In this instance, it is a good idea to think light layers.

If possible, skip heavy sweaters and coats and instead choose items like merino knits, thermal underwear and lightweight trench coats. When you pack light layers, you have the option of mixing and matching several pieces to create different looks. It also allows you to modify your outfits with any changes in the weather. This can be particularly useful in many climates that fluctuate quite dramatically.

Pick Versatile Items

If you pack versatile items, you only need a few pieces to create lots of different looks. Ultimately, this means you can pack less and still have lots of wardrobe options when traveling. Versatile pieces are those that can be worn in different ways, or classic items that can be paired with many other pieces.

Some examples of versatile pieces for travel include:

Jeans

Jeans work with many different tops and jackets. They are also generally able to be worn multiple times before requiring washing, which can be really beneficial when traveling.

A Pashmina/Wrap

A pashmina can be used in lots of ways, making it almost an essential when traveling. It can act as a light throw rug, be wrapped around the shoulders on a chilly evening, be worn as a scarf, or be used as a sarong over a swimsuit.

Black Pants

Black pants are similar to jeans in versatility, but they also work for situations where jeans might be too casual.

A Little Black Dress

A little black dress that works for day or night can be a wise piece to pack when traveling. You can cover your after-five needs and create a different look or two for the daytime with a few different accessories.

A Black Skirt

A black skirt will also work with many styles of tops, blouses, sweaters and jackets. Consider packing more tops than bottoms to give your basic bottoms a new lease on life when traveling.

Outdoor Activities

Summer and spring are the perfect seasons for senior citizens to indulge in outdoor activities. There are many outdoor activities that are safe and exhilarating for seniors. Below are some ideas for the safest and easiest outdoor activities that the elderly can enjoy during a perfect day in the summer or spring.

Patio Games

Seniors can play various outdoor games with the entire family or grandchildren. Some of them include:

Badminton: To play badminton you need rackets, shuttlecocks (birdies), two posts and badminton net. The net comes with strings which you tie on two posts side by side before you play. Badminton is a favorable outdoor activity for seniors on wheel chairs as long as they can still hit the ball across the net.

Beach volleyball: Seniors do not have to go to the beach to enjoy tossing around the beach volleyball; this ball is very light so it cannot hurt individuals with arthritis or weak bones. All you need is the inflatable beach ball and willing individuals to participate in this outdoor activity. You can make it more enjoyable by playing the ball across actual volleyball nets.

Horseshoes: Seniors can enjoy the fun game of horseshoes in the backyard; all you need to play are horseshoes and a stick. Read this article on how to play horseshoes.

Board games like chess, drafts, and scrabble can be incorporated into outdoor activities that seniors take part in.

Fishing

Fishing is a great outdoor activity for seniors to participate in while bonding with the entire family. Many states have places open for public fishing; for example in Virginia there is Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge where people can enjoy the scenery of wildlife and relax while fishing. You need bait, which you can buy at the site where you will be fishing. Bring some homemade meals to eat after fishing. Seniors can also go fishing at the nearest local river or lake; just confirm that it is legal in your state.

Gardening

The spring is the ideal time to grow your favorite flowers and vegetables. If a senior does not drive then they can have their caretaker or relative drive them to the stores where they can buy seeds or seedlings to grow. This outdoor activity leaves seniors with a sense of fulfillment because excitement they get when the plants blossom.

Picnic

A picnic is one of the most inexpensive outdoor activities for seniors. Pack your picnic basket with favorite homemade meals and games and head to the pack with the whole family. Every county has public parks with abundant space to set-up picnics. It’s relaxation and bonding time for the whole family.

Hiking

Senior citizens who are strong enough can turn to the hills and low mounts for some excitement. Hiking is the most common outdoor activity on which camping and rock climbing are based. While hiking, seniors can enjoy activities like bird watching. It is relaxing when people go hiking for search for inner peace.

Seniors should take advantage of the perfect seasons of the year to enjoy outdoor activities. There are plenty of activities to take part in.

U.S. Road Trip Ideas for Seniors

Road trips seem to act as coming of age adventures in our youth and adventures of rediscovery as Seniors. I know that I am always dreaming of the next adventure and here are two of my favorites routes on which to seek it. These two road trips are great for Seniors who may take the time to do them justice. Both are filled with the food, art, music and history of the USA.

Natchez Trace

Nashville to Natchez was a route walked by many trying to get back home after a grueling trip down the Mississippi. This route rolls through American history on one of the most beautiful musical roads in the US.

Start out with the shrine to country music known as Nashville, head on down the trace toward Muscle Shoals the birthplace of WC Handy, father of the blues. Discover the roots of southern rock and roll. Next stop Tupelo for the birthplace of Elvis. Try to catch a Choctaw sing just south of there. Then on into Natchez smack in the middle of the Delta for down home blues and a Mississippi catfish fry.

The Natchez Trace is now a parkway maintained by the US National Park Service. It can be brutally hot and muggy in July and August but beautiful the rest of the year. It is 444 miles from start to finish. There are some beautiful spots where you may want to stop for a day or more.

Though you can do it easily in a week I’d give it fourteen days. The National Parks website gives direct links to the towns, national and state parks along the route for easy access to accommodation, dining and event information. For a taste of the true beauty of the south this road is a must.

Great River Road

From New Orleans at the southern end to Warroad, Minnesota on the northern end the Great River Road follows the Mississippi as it bisects the US. One of the oldest scenic byways it was built in the late 1930’s to follow the Mississippi from start to finish.

Because of the huge number of places you’ll want to stay for more than a day the route can easily run close to 3000 miles. Many People choose to do it in four separate trips dividing up the river.

Take time to explore on both sides of the river. The Great River Road runs by the Twin Cities, St Louis, Memphis, New Orleans and a host of American small towns all along the way. Enjoy the richness of the American north, heartland and south all in one trip.

The Mississippi has a thousand stories to tell just take the time to listen at every turn in the road.

Tips for Seniors Traveling Solo

Traveling is fun, and senior citizens have the time to enjoy travel in their retirement years. But if you have no one to go with you, don’t stay home! You can have a great time all by yourself! Use these tips to plan ahead and the whole world is yours to explore!

Check Your Car and Insurance Policies

Regular maintenance should be done on your vehicle and have your tires are checked. You need your current insurance card in the glove box. Also, call your agent and add road service and rental to your car insurance if you do not already have it. Your health insurance cards should always be easily accessible.

Plan Ahead

When you travel alone, there is no one else to check a map, so do your homework. There are road trip software programs you can purchase, or just go online and use Map Quest or other free sites to calculate your route, estimate mileage and travel time.

Get a book called “The Next Exit.” It is organized by State, Interstate, and lists what you can find at each exit, including restaurants, gas stations, stores, and motels and campgrounds. It will help you plan your trip, and be sure to take it along!

Use GPS to Track Your Trip

If you have one or can get one, most have options that include software which will locate restaurants, gas stations etc. at each exit. Best of all, they calculate and track your trip, tell you the speed limit of the road you are diving on and how fast you are going.

If you are female, it is advisable to drive during daylight hours only, and to find and book your motels before you leave.

While you can usually find motels on your route, if you will be traveling for more than one day it is wise to call or book an online reservation. An experienced female traveler advised that it is wise to book rooms that are not on the ground floor and have inside access.

Stop for Breaks Often

Make sure that there are other cars at the Rest Areas when you stop, that they are well lit and do not stop at them at night. Both male and female solo travelers are at risk now days at Rest Areas in remote areas. Be careful! Truck stops are busy, well-lit and open 24 hours a day.

Bring Your Dog

Dogs are great traveling companions, most motels are now dog friendly and you will not feel alone with your dog along. Most all dogs will at least bark to help scare off any threatening individuals.

Entertainment

Long car or even bus and train trips are a great time to listen to audio books. You can get them from the library, and many truck stops have audio books to rent that you can rent at one and turn in at another. For train and plane travel, try a kindle!

Pack Essentials First

Your medications are the most important items to pack. Follow those with your insurance and identification cards, and any tickets or other pertinent travel plan information. Almost everything else can be purchased if you forget something.

Keep Your Cell Phone Charged

Cell phones are at there best in emergencies. Keep yours charged and close to you at all times.

Look For Organized Bus And Plane Trips For Senior Citizens

Your local senior citizen center will often have several trips planned each year to popular sites. They get group discounts and special prices. Take advantage of these to get to see areas where you would prefer not to drive. You may meet a traveling companion who shares your interests!

If you are careful and plan ahead you will be prepared, and can have a wonderful time touring the country and even the world in your retirement years.

Retirement should be enjoyed – take a trip that you always wanted to take when you were younger but never had the time.