Travel Tips for Seniors
Seniors who wish to travel during their retirement years may face certain risks and challenges. In this post, we’ll go over a few travel-related tips for seniors, to help you find useful resources and avoid any frustrating or dangerous situations.
Work with a professional trip planner or tour company
Although the digital age has certainly changed how people book their travel arrangements, there are still plenty of opportunities to work with a professional. Travel agents can be a highly valuable resource, especially if you are planning a trip out of the country. Working with a travel agent can take a lot of the headache out of trip planning, as they can easily access a variety of resources to help you customize the trip of your dreams. And since most travel agents are very well traveled themselves, they will most likely be able to answer a lot of your questions. And since many seniors prefer to do business with a real person instead of through the computer, working with a travel agent may be a much easier and more enjoyable experience.
There are also travel companies that offer all-inclusive tours designed just for seniors. For example, SmarterTravel.com recommends Grand Circle Travel (among others) for traveling seniors. Created by the founder of AARP (Ethel Andrus), Grand Circle Travel focuses on the needs and interests of travelers age 50 and up. According to SmarterTravel.com, Grand Circle “offers affordable tour packages to destinations worldwide and promises tour goers unique cultural experiences on every trip through its “Discovery Series” program. For instance, tours may include home-hosted meals with local families, language lessons, or visits to neighborhood schools.”
Consider getting travel insurance
Travel insurance is insurance that is designed to cover a wide range of expenses while the policy member is traveling. These can include medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost luggage, and so on. While travel insurance isn’t required, it may be worth considering – especially if you intend to do a lot of traveling.
In many cases, travel insurance can be purchased at the time of booking a trip to cover that particular trip. Alternatively, you can opt for a multi-trip policy that covers any trips during a certain timeframe.
For seniors, travel insurance may be more costly. Be sure to compare plans and pricing and do your homework on a company before you sign up for their policy.
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Reserve special services in advance
For many seniors, especially those living with a disability or mobility issues, traveling requires some extra planning. From requesting cost-free wheelchair service at airports to advising reservation systems of dietary needs, these are things your travel agent can assist you with, or you can opt to arrange these things on your own. Just make sure you do so well in advance, as the airlines, hotels, etc are not under any obligation to grant these special requests if they are not confirmed at the time of reservation.
Make sure you have all necessary documentation.
This is especially important if you are traveling out of the country, as you will need a valid passport. You can obtain the application forms online, or visit your local post office and ask for them there. You can get official passport photos taken at several locations, including AAA offices, drug stores, Walmart, FedEx Office Print and Ship Services, and UPS Stores.
Consider safety and security
When traveling, its usually best to avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Instead, USA Today recommends keeping small bills handy while keeping the rest of your money in the bank. Alternatively, and especially if you’re traveling out of the country, you can keep small bills handy while storing the rest of your cash in an under-clothing money pouch. This allows you to avoid paying extra fees for making several smaller withdrawals, while also providing more security and peace of mind.
A few other security pointers include checking to see if your hotel has an in-room safe or safe deposit box at the front desk, carry an anti-theft bag, and use a “dummy wallet.” The safe or safe deposit box can store your valuables or extra cash and the anti-theft bag and dummy wallet will prevent muggers and thieves from stealing your money and personal items.