6 Tips to Give Seniors Confidence to Travel
If you are a senior looking forward to traveling again, we’ve put together some tips about how to develop the best confidence in ourselves & others when planning a trip. Don’t miss out on the joy of travelling to see family and friends, attending a special event or enjoying a long overdue vacation.
At the time of this writing, the United States is in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic and as senior citizens we need to take extra care. Postpone or cancel any trips that aren’t absolutely necessary while a vaccine is being developed. Many travel restrictions have been implemented. States are open to visitors but some have 14-day quarantine rules for visitors. Find out what the situation is along the route and at the destination prior to traveling.
It’s essential for us to pre-plan a trip at any age but especially as seniors. It may have been a while since our last trip, or maybe it was last week, but we’re all aware that there’ve been a lot of changes in the past decade. Both, the curse of increased travel restrictions imposed since 9/11 and now the Coronavirus, and also the blessing of some new technology has added new dimensions to traveling.
Tip #1) Match our Stamina to our Transportation
Asking ourselves to honestly answer how we deal with traveling on planes, trains, buses and in cars is a good place to start our travel planning? Do we suffer from joint stiffness after a certain amount of time just sitting? If this is the case then very long flights to faraway lands might be a problem for us. Not to say we can’t make the trip, but keep in mind the mode of transportation we choose will be one of our longest lasting, and most talked about, memories.
Tip #2) Match our Stamina to our Destination
If we know exactly where we want to go, great! But if mobility is an issue, we’ll need to consider calling ahead or using the internet to get a better idea of the physical endurance necessary to do some of the most popular things like seeing Mt Rushmore, visiting the many museums and monuments in Washington D.C., transiting the Grand Canyon or exploring the Caverns at Carlsbad National Park.
Matching our stamina to our vacation plans will require an honest look at our current physical & mental condition. To see attractions upclose like Mt. Rushmore, it’ll take good footing and patience to reach the base of the monument. If our goal is just to see it from a distance we’ll be fine, but it’s important to prepare mentally for consolations like this that we’re willing to make, and get our minds prepared for them ahead of time.
It’s possible to get help on our trips if we have difficulty moving around. Airlines will be able to provide curbside to curbside wheelchair assistance. Major resorts have disabled access so that we can use a wheelchair. For each leg of our trip, research what facilities will be like, and create a mental picture of what to expect. There’s not always sufficient staffing to assist each person individually, so wait times may be longer. You may consider taking someone with you who can enjoy the vacation at the same time as assisting when needed.
Tip #3) “Don’t Reinvent the Wheel”
Travel agents have been helping people deal with the obstacles & opportunities involved in travel for a very long time. They may be our best resource. Discuss everything with a travel agent, including any limitations we have. This will help them paint a picture of our needs so they can create a few ideal trips we can choose from. They’ll be able to provide us with information about transportation, facilities and opportunities at each destination. We can find a lot about trips that interest us online for free. Contacting a travel agent with a few options we’d like to explore, already in hand, is the most efficient use of a travel agent’s valuable time.
A travel agent who is available by phone, text or email while we’re on the road could be just the lifeline we need to give us that extra bit of confidence we need to “take the plunge.”
Tip # 4) Remembering to Remember Medication
If we take different medications, we can speak with our doctors about the availability and timing of the medications when we’re away from home. If we need to take our medications at specific times of the day, the length of a trip is going to be an important factor. If we’ll travel from the USA to the orient for 2 weeks, we will probably be able to shift our medication times to match our new time zone. If it’s a quick 3 day trip across just 2-3 time zones, it might be better to match our medication times to the same schedule backhome (to our home base time) so the transition upon returning home in just a few days will be seamless. Most medications allow for a variance of time +/- an hour or more, but some medications must be taken at specific events, like just before or after eating.
Tip #5) Packing for our Trip
What will the weather be like at the destination? This is an easy question to ask Google. Surprisingly, it’s more common than we think to leave a jacket and umbrella at home if the weather’s beautiful at our house when we begin a trip. If we haven’t experienced cold weather in a while, or at all, we may not be anticipating a massive temperature change, after all we’ve seen a lot of snow on TV from the comfort of our homes without wearing jackets. Try to keep our packing as light as possible, but take what the weather will demand. The alternative may be buying a jacket or umbrella at our destination.
Tip #6) People, the Best Tools Ever Invented
Going on a long trip can be a daunting prospect for seniors. What happens if something goes wrong? Will we perfectly plan for all aspects of our journey? Probably not.
The very best tools we have as seniors are the other people around us. The importance of their willingness and ability to help out on a journey can’t be underestimated. Three very important examples that we’ve mentioned in this article are the travel agent, the staff at facilities & that other person we take along with us for companionship and assistance when we need it.