It's been a long time since our last post! But we've got some great information coming up. Today's post is part one in a series on senior travel safety. Traveling at any age is fun, exciting, and relaxing. Traveling as a senior can be especially rewarding, but also comes with its own unique set of challenges. Our senior-friendly vacations take a lot of the guesswork and effort out of traveling, with easy pacing, shorter travel days, and lots of options to make your trip as leisurely - or as robust - as you'd like. That's a great start for any vacation, and there are other quick and easy ways to ensure that your vacation, or the vacation of an older traveler in your life, ends up being as safe and enjoyable as possible.
Here are a few tips from the road warriors at Seniortours that we've gathered over almost 40 years of traveling. In part 1 of this post, we'll talk about what to do BEFORE you leave, and then we'll move on to discuss domestic (US) travel and finally international travel.
Let's start with the pre-travel tips.
PACKING & LUGGAGE
We talked about packing in our last blog post, so we won't revisit it too much here, but suffice it to say, packing effectively and minimizing what you need to carry around with you - whether you're on a Seniortours vacation or your own adventure - is one of the most important pre-vacation steps you can take. The right amount of luggage can make getting around a whole lot easier. Plus, you'll minimize additional luggage fees and limit what can be lost or stolen.
Make sure you keep valuables and prescription medicines in a carry-on bag. And while it should go without saying, make sure to obey local laws when it comes to what you can and can't take in and out of a particular location, especially when traveling internationally. The USA's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a handy list of prohibited items listed on their website that you can access by clicking here.
In terms of luggage safety, it's important, as it is at most points during your vacation, to remain inconspicuous and avoid drawing attention to yourself with flashly jewelry, watches, or excess visible cash. The same idea applies to luggage. Bottom line - the $1000 designer suitcase is going to likely be the first one targeted by folks who think there's a lot worth stealing inside it. You're better off with something nondescript. After all, any piece of luggage is going to get roughed up in transit anyway.
Finally, if you don't already have one, consider investing in a rolling suitcase to make transporting your belongings easier - your back will thank you later!
It's important as a senior traveler to make sure, especially if you're going to be away for a week or more, that you're well enough to travel. Before your vacation, talk to your doctor about your health and what he or she might recommend as precautions. Make sure if you're traveling internationally that you have the right vaccinations. Check that your medications are up to date and that you have a sufficient supply, and pack medication in a carry-on bag that's easily accessible in an emergency. Before the trip, make copies of prescriptions and ensure that friends or loved ones at home have your medical info at hand.
While Seniortours offers a generous cancellation policy for our tours, not all international or domestic operators are as lenient, and accidents and emergencies do happen. Especially for senior travelers, it's widely recommended to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance. We have some options right here on the Seniortours website's Insurance page that you can access by clicking here. There's also wealth of information about insurance from our friends at IndependentTraveler.com.
PRE-VACATION DOS & DON'TS
If you're going to be away for a long time, the last thing you want to do is advertise your absence. To help maintain the appearance of occupancy, consider putting lights on timers, requesting that your mail be held at your local post office and your newspaper delivery temporarily suspended, or asking neighbors to check in periodically and leave a light on. One of our favorite gadgets to thwart would-be theives is call "Fake TV" - it's a small device with colored lights that flash on and off at random, mimicking the appearance of a television being watched. It's available for sale at www.faketv.com.
It's important to make sure that your loved ones at home have an idea of where you'll be at any point during your vacation, especially if you don't have a cell phone or you'll be traveling in an area with poor or nonexistent cellular coverage. Make copies of your itinerary, including hotel stay dates, addresses, and phone numbers and leave a copy with family or friends back home. Make a point of checking in at a predetermined time each day during your vacation.
As tempting as it is to post to Facebook and Twitter in real time, consider waiting until you arrive back home to share your vacation memories publicly. The fewer people who know that you're away, the better, and even Fake TV won't fool anyone that you're at home after you post a selfie in front of Mount Rushmore.
In our next post, we'll talk about tips for safe and easy domestic travel. Stay tuned!