You may have noticed, now that you’re in your senior years, traveling during the year-end holidays is getting more and more difficult. What once were minor inconveniences of driving to the airport, parking, going through security and boarding your flight, can sometimes now be troublesome or more so. The older I get,
Maybe it’s time to let your body and the calendar tell you to do what you can to make this year’s travel schedule easier for you. A few simple tips are worth considering.
Travel Tips for Seniors
Know your physical limits in walking, climbing, carrying and doing other activities that are now more difficult for you. Make allowances for them. For example, travel with a carry-on instead of a heavy suitcase. When you feel tired at any time in your travels, find a safe place and get some rest.
If you’ll be driving long distances over the holidays, leave your house at dawn before rush hour traffic. and allow plenty of time on all aspects of your journey. If you’re the sole driver, rest every two hours and limit your day to no more than 10 hours, covering about 400 miles. If necessary, spend a night at a motel. If you’re sharing driving tasks, work out a two-hour shift schedule with the other driver, so you can snooze when you’re not at the wheel.
Set your road travel schedule to airports and terminals so you arrive for your flight, bus or train departure at least an hour before the schedule listing. Avoid needing to rush through large terminals to get to security and check-in. Always keep in mind that end-of-year holidays are when travel is at its heaviest everywhere.
Always be aware of security needs. While traveling, have a fully-charged cell phone within reach at all times, day and night. Cue in numbers you can click instantly for help, such as 9-1-1, your doctor and family members who should know where you are throughout your travel schedule.
Eat lightly and at your regular times. If you’re on a heavy holiday travel schedule, whether air, train, bus or car, don’t over-indulge in food nor alchoholic drinks. If you’re driving long distances, especially at night, stay away from alcohol totally.
Take enough of your prescribed medications to last throughout your holiday travels. Additionally, pack some over-the-counter pharmaceuticals in case of colds, upset stomach, arthritic pain and other unexpected ailments.
Now you’re in your senior years, but feel you can handle all frustrations and strains of holiday travel as successfully as you have in past years. Hopefully, that is absolutely correct. However, it can only help things to go just as smoothly if you take some simple precautions.
More and more destinations are becoming senior friendly. Here are just a few:
West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is a top senior-friendly destination. After the snowbirds leave, prices drop and it gets even better. “Early Bird Specials”, “Senior Discounts” and “Off-Season” specials abound, so come and enjoy.
Boca Raton, Florida
Like West Palm Beach, Boca is a great place for seniors to spend the summer. With beautiful beaches, bountiful shopping, fine restaurants and a wide range of accommodations, it’s perfect for summer vacations.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the most “civilized”, charming city in America. Getting around town by foot or taxi is easy and traffic is never a problem. Charleston has fabulous restaurants, diverse cultural attractions, accommodations ranging from mansions to bed and breakfasts to chain hotels and motels, most offering senior discounts.
West Dennis, Cape Cod
Quiet, beautiful and relaxing … that’s West Dennis. It’s quite unlike Hyannis, Provincetown and other parts of the Cape that are overflowing with college kids, Bostonians and touristst. Check out the Lighthouse Inn with it’s beautiful beach and quaint cottages.
San Diego is consistently rated one of the top places to live. It’s also one of the best places for seniors to vacation. The climate is perfect, the beaches are beautiful, the restaurants are fabulous, the shopping is bountiful and the pace is laid back. There are plenty of hotels and resorts offering senior discounts too.
Aruba is the most senior friendly Caribbean island. It never rains. The Westerlies keep the island breezy, yet warm and comfortable. With soft, white sandy beaches, friendly casinos, excellent restaurants plus superb accommodations including luxurious hotels, smaller motels, condos and timeshares, it’s perfect for senior summer vacationing.
Totrola is very beautiful and very British. With incredible beaches, azure waters, great sailing and fishing, informal elegance, excellent restaurants, and fine accommodations offering superb service, it’s a welcome change from other Caribbean islands.
Star-studded shows, luxurious hotels, great food and of course round-the-clock casino action make Las Vegas a great place for seniors who want an action-packed vacation. Great deals and senior discounts are always available.
With it’s pink sand beaches, azure waters, laid-back elegance and warm hospitality, Bermuda is one destination uniquely suited for seniors. The food is fabulous, the summer weather ideal and getting around the island is easy. Many hotels and resorts offer senior discounts too.
Nestled on the border between California and Las Vegas. Lake Tahoe offers comfortable summer temperatures in the mid to high 70s along with water sports, shopping, fine dining, and of course casino action. There’s plenty of senior discounts too!
I’m a senior citizen physically. Mentally – not so much! Because of my age I have begun to travel just a little differently than I did when I was younger,
Seniors who travel should always be a little careful – especially if they travel to places where the living standards differ considerably from what they are used to. Although it should never take anything away from the experience of traveling, planning can therefore be quite important.
Seniors suffer from a few issues when they travel that are not unique for this group, but more likely to occur:
* The chance to get ill
* The chance of being targeted in scams or other crimes
Seniors should be aware of their medical situation before traveling. If they are in a general good shape, there’s no real reason to worry, but for seniors who suffer from some condition, it’s quite important to ensure that their health situation is normal. Others they travel with should also be aware of this situation.
Seniors who rely on medicine should ensure that they have sufficient supply of medicine. This supply should not only be barely enough since planes do get cancelled, delayed and so on. Having a little extra never hurts. Ensuring that travel insurances are paid, is also necessary (this goes for everyone who travels).
Handling the Chance of Crime
The simple reality is that some places suffer more from crime than others. Different types of crime, moreover, seem to prevail in different places. In Barcelona and Marseilles, for example, pickpocketing seems to be the thing to do if you’re a criminal. On islands frequented by tourists, scams like fake lotteries or fake games you cannot win, dominates.
Making some efforts to avoid being targeted by these types of scams or criminal acts, is therefore quite important, because seniors are more likely to be approached by people who deal with these types of scams. Scams typically go like this:
1. A friendly person (who often speaks English well) approaches you and either asks you some questions about your stay there or tells you something else. This is done to build trust.
2. The person either tells you you’ve won something, that you’ve been picked to review an offer or invites you in for coffee or tea. Don’t confuse this with hospitality, it’s simply manipulation. The core point is to get you to go with this person somewhere.
3. Once you’re at the place where you end up, you will presented with the real issue. Many people will end up feeling uncertain, uncomfortable or even scared and may end up spending money.
The best solution is to simply say “thank you, but we do not have time” when being approached. The more eager the person is to get you to go with him, the more eager you should be to stay away.
Pickpocketing is in many ways more difficult to avoid. Pickpocketing typically occurs in crowded places where someone may lose something on the street in front of you, may “accidentally” hit you or may ask you to help them with a map problem. In all these cases, our attention is manipulated and people may try to abuse that. Keeping your hand on your pockets may be a good solution to avoid being robbed, but the best is probably to store money where it is inaccessible for pickpocketing. By having money under your clothes, for example, and only having a little change in your pockets is a good way to prevent you from being robbed.
The main conclusion should always be that we have to enjoy our trips. We should never be afraid of going to places where tourists frequent because bad things could happen, but we should learn to not be naïve. Being aware of “threats” gives us a better chance to handle them.
The most important thing about your travels – HAVE FUN!