Find a Comfortable Destination that Meets Your Needs
The first thing you need to know is where you’d like to go! Consider any special needs you have when choosing your destination. Backpacking through Europe and staying in youth hostels probably isn’t going to cut it anymore. If you’d like to go to Europe, can you go with a senior-friendly travel group? That way, you won’t have to worry about driving in a new place or navigating public transportation. If you’d like to camp, but sleeping on the ground is going to leave you with back pain, can you rent a Motorhome or travel trailer instead? You can still go anywhere you choose! However, you may need to find ways to make your destination more comfortable and accessible.
If you’re staying in a hotel, check to be sure there are working elevators (or request a room on the ground floor) and nearby parking. AirBnB can be a great alternative to a hotel. You will have more of the comforts of home and fewer parking issues. You can even rent a wheelchair-accessible home!
Some Stellar Senior Living Communities offer short term stays, even less than three nights, at very reasonable rates. If you have care or accessibility needs, or just want somewhere familiar to stay, this can be a great way to travel and still have all of the amenities and help you’d have at home. You’ll also get to socialize with other seniors, and even try out senior living if it’s something you’ve been considering.
Decide When To Go
If you’re traveling for a wedding or to meet a new grandchild, you may not have flexibility in your dates. But if you do, try traveling in the off season (April, May, September, or October) for fewer crowds and savings on travel expenses. You’ll be safer if you can avoid traveling in the winter months unless both your place of origin and your destination have mild weather. In the summer months, you’ll be competing for space with all of the children on school vacation, as well as much higher ticket prices. One of the great perks of retirement is the flexibility to go at the most cost-effective and least crowded times of the year!
You don’t want to over-pack and carry huge amounts of luggage, but don’t skimp on your comfort necessities (ear plugs, eye mask, sleeping pills, reading glasses, etc.). Make sure you have a rolling suitcase to avoid lifting heavy bags. Choose lightweight, easy-to-wear clothing that doesn’t need ironing. You may also want to bring a travel notebook, where you can make notes like your hotel room number and confirmation numbers, just in case your phone dies or you don’t have internet access. Your cell phone will be an invaluable assistant on your trip, as you will find everything from maps to restaurant recommendations online. Make sure you pack charge cords and maybe an extra battery pack. Keep in mind, however, that your phone’s cellular data may not work in foreign countries. You will have to rely on public Wi-Fi, or check with your cell phone carrier for a short-term foreign data pass. Outlets are also shaped differently in other countries and could have different voltage, so bring along an outlet convertor or your charger won’t do you any good.
Don’t forget any medications you’ll need while traveling, plus over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol for jetlag headaches, and perhaps an anti-diarrheal and some Pepto Bismol, if you’re going somewhere exotic. If you use hearing aids, make sure to bring them, plus extra batteries. Pack these essentials in a purse or carry-on bag, not your suitcase, just in case it becomes lost in transit.
Public transportation can be exhausting, difficult to navigate, and require substantial amounts of walking. If you’re not feeling up to it, or visiting somewhere without public transportation, make a plan for what you will do instead. You can use taxis (or services like Lyft and Uber), take city buses, or travel with a bus tour group. You could also rent a car, but be forewarned: some services have upper age limits, especially in foreign countries. Mention your age before relying on this option.
Take Advantage of Senior Discounts
Finally, take advantage of all the senior discounts you can find! If they’re not mentioned, ask about senior discounts at museums, tourist attractions, subway passes, etc. Also note that if you’re traveling to England, senior discounts are called “concessions” or “pensioner’s rates.”
We hope these top travel tips for seniors help you in all your travels. Keep these tips in mind, plan carefully, and traveling in your retirement years can be better than ever! You might also like this post on when to start considering Senior Living. For more information, articles, and tips on senior living, check out Stellar Living.