While all travelers will benefit from reviewing and implementing these travel safety tips, seniors have a few extra concerns. They have to make sure pre-existing medical conditions are well managed before and during their trip. They have to take enough regular medication to last their entire trip. They also have to be aware of their own physical limits while traveling.
Senior Travel Safety Tips Before a Trip
1. Research the area you’ll be visiting, including State Department alerts and warnings, local weather, language and culture. Buy a guide book and read it before you go. If you have an e-reader, put the guide book on that device because you can take it with you without adding any extra weight.
2. Check your passport to be sure you have adequate time before it expires. Many countries have 3 to 6-month passport validity requirements that can catch a traveler with a valid-but-due-to-expire passport off guard.
3. Consider seeing your doctor before you travel to make sure you have copies of your current prescriptions in case your medication is lost or stolen and you have to get replacements. You’ll also want to check whether you have enough medicine for the duration of your trip. Remember to pack your prescriptions in your carry-on bag in case your checked luggage goes missing.
4. If you’ll be traveling overseas, make 2 copies of your passport page and see our credit card protection tips in case your card is lost or stolen.
5. Get proper travel insurance for your trip and be aware of the need for pre-existing condition coverage as well as evacuation/repatriation coverage. See our tutorial on Senior Travel Insurance for full details.
6. Prepare a personal travel medical portfolio and know how to find medical care on the road and in a hurry.
Senior Travel Safety Tips During a Trip
7. Be aware of your personal limits, get plenty of rest and remember to drink plenty of fresh clean water throughout yoru trip. A day or two to recover from jet lag is not unusual, so take it easy for the first couple of days after you arrive.
8. Avoid the risk of food poisoning by making sure that the food you eat is cooked properly, vegetables and fruits are peeled, and diary products are pasteurized.
9. Avoid pickpockets while you’re traveling and don’t flash a lot of money or expensive jewelry on your trip. When traveling on public transportation, stay awake and alert and avoid overly crowded buses as those are excellent spots for pickpockets.
10. Be aware of the risks of heart disease, obesity, and sitting for long periods of time – these are known risk factors for developing blood clots, so it’s important to avoid alcohol, drink plenty of water, and stand, stretch and move around regularly during your trip. Set your watch (a cell phone will work as well if it will remind you even in ‘airplane mode’) to remind you every hour that it’s time to move about a bit.