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How Senior Travel Groups Promote Social Connection and Well-being
Traveling is a wonderful way to explore new places, experience different cultures, and create lasting memories. For seniors, travel can also have significant social and health benefits. That’s where senior travel groups come in. These specialized groups cater specifically to older adults, providing them with opportunities to travel together in a safe and supportive environment. In this article, we will explore how senior travel groups promote social connection and well-being.
Building Friendships and Community
One of the primary benefits of joining a senior travel group is the opportunity to build friendships and create a sense of community. Many older adults may find themselves feeling lonely or isolated due to various reasons such as retirement, loss of loved ones, or physical limitations. By joining a travel group, seniors can connect with like-minded individuals who share their passion for exploration.
Traveling together allows seniors to bond over shared experiences and develop meaningful relationships. It provides an environment where everyone is on the same page – eager to discover new destinations while enjoying each other’s company. These connections often extend beyond the trip itself, leading to long-lasting friendships that continue even after returning home.
Enhancing Mental Health
Traveling has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits for people of all ages, including seniors. It stimulates the mind by exposing individuals to new sights, sounds, and experiences. Senior travel groups provide an ideal setting for mental stimulation as participants engage in various activities together.
Exploring different cultures, learning about history, or trying new cuisines can help keep the mind sharp and active. Additionally, being part of a group provides opportunities for intellectual conversations and discussions that stimulate cognitive function further.
Senior travel groups not only focus on mental well-being but also prioritize physical health. Many trips organized by these groups include activities such as walking tours or light hikes that encourage participants to stay active while exploring their surroundings. Engaging in physical activities can improve cardiovascular health, increase mobility, and boost overall fitness levels.
Moreover, traveling with a group provides a sense of safety and support, making it easier for seniors to participate in physical activities they may have otherwise been hesitant to try alone. The encouragement from fellow group members can be motivating and help individuals push their boundaries while staying within their comfort zones.
Creating Meaningful Experiences
For many seniors, retirement offers an opportunity to pursue personal interests and passions that may have been put on hold during their working years. Senior travel groups often curate trips that cater to these specific interests, such as cultural tours, culinary experiences, or nature-focused adventures.
By participating in these tailored trips, seniors can create meaningful experiences that align with their individual preferences. Whether it’s exploring famous art museums or indulging in local cuisines, these experiences provide a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
In conclusion, senior travel groups offer much more than just a way to see the world. They provide older adults with opportunities for social connection, mental stimulation, physical activity, and the creation of meaningful experiences. If you’re a senior looking to explore new horizons while forging new friendships along the way, joining a senior travel group might just be the perfect choice for you.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Travel tips for seniors
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- See your doctor for a complete check-up, particularly if you have a chronic medical condition.
- If you are taking large amounts of medication with you, then you will need to take a letter of explanation from your doctor.
- Organise travel insurance with pre-existing illness cover if needed.
- If you are concerned about your health, arrange to go on a package tour.
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Pre-trip planning for seniors, reciprocal healthcare agreements for seniors, pre-trip medical check-ups for seniors, regular medications for seniors, your luggage, deep vein thrombosis and 'economy class syndrome', taking care of yourself while on holidays, safety suggestions for travelling seniors, where to get help.
All travellers should plan carefully to ensure their health and safety while away. However, older people have a few extra concerns.
- Consult with your travel agent for suggestions. For example, many tour operators specialise in accommodating the needs of travelling seniors.
- Find out about the medical facilities in the areas you will be visiting.
- Research important factors such as climate, language and culture. Buy a guide book and read it before you go.
- Make arrangements for wheelchairs, guide dogs and seating needs well in advance.
Australia has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with some countries, which means emergency care is available. Non-emergency healthcare is only offered if delaying medical attention until returning home is unreasonable. Check with Medicare for an up-to-date list of countries participating in reciprocal healthcare agreements. Remember that travel health insurance is still needed.
- Consult with your doctor for a complete medical check-up. This is especially important if you have coronary heart disease, hypertension or any other chronic condition, or if you have recently undergone surgery or experienced a heart attack.
- Discuss any particular health concerns you may have, such as dietary changes and the possible impact of different eating habits on your specific condition.
- People with diabetes will need medical advice on how to safely stagger their medications to fit a different time zone.
- Consider having your flu and pneumonia vaccinations before you go on your trip.
- If you intend travelling to areas where infectious diseases are present, make sure you are fully vaccinated.
- Visit your dentist for a check-up.
- Visit any other healthcare providers you consult with on a regular basis, such as your optometrist.
- Some medications that are legal in Australia may be prohibited overseas. Contact the Australian embassies in the countries you intend visiting to check.
- Take enough regular medication with you to last the entire trip. Some drugs may not be available overseas.
- You should obtain a written and signed note from your doctor detailing the prescribed medications you are taking with you.
- If you are taking over-the-counter medication with you, then you should ask your doctor to add these to the list of prescribed medications.
- If you buy medications overseas, remember that the dosages may be different to the brands you are familiar with.
- If the medication you regularly take requires syringes (such as insulin-dependent diabetes), take enough syringes to last the trip.
- When overseas, wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant that contains your medical details to inform others of your medical complaint in case you need urgent help. Your doctor should be able to advise you about the options available.
- Make sure your carry-on bag contains everything you will need for the duration of the flight.
- Include a medical kit in your carry-on bag. Items to consider include regular medications, painkillers, antacids and band-aids.
- It might be a good idea to take along a pillbox with compartments for different days of the week. Being away from home (and your usual routine) could make you more likely to forget to take your medication.
- Pack a spare pair of glasses.
- It may be easier if you use a suitcase with wheels.
Coronary heart disease, obesity and sitting still for extended periods of time are known risk factors for the development of blood clots in the veins of the legs. This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Some researchers believe that long-haul flights can be a risk factor in susceptible people. Suggestions on how to reduce the small risk of DVT while flying include:
- Consult with your doctor before flying. They may recommend that you take half an aspirin (150mg) on the day of the flight, and you may be advised to use elasticised stockings for the flight. Sometimes a self-administered injection of heparin is required.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Don't smoke.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Take strolls up and down the aisles when possible.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed.
- Perform leg and foot stretches and exercises while seated.
- Allow an easy day or two to recover from jet lag. Remember that the effects of jet lag may be lessened if you fly west instead of east.
- If you are unsure of the water supply, drink bottled water.
- To reduce the risk of food poisoning, avoid food buffets, seafood, undercooked meats, peeled and raw fruits and vegetables, and unpasteurised dairy products. Don't buy food from street vendors.
- Don't draw up a jam-packed itinerary for each and every day of your holiday – arrange for plenty of rest breaks, particularly in hot weather.
- Wear thongs in communal showers to reduce the risk of infectious diseases (like warts and tinea).
- Pack condoms and practice safe sex.
- Seniors cards are only supposed to offer benefits within your home state, but flashing the card at museums and other attractions may get you a cheaper entry ticket.
- Travellers' diarrhoea may reduce the effectiveness of your medications. Consult with a doctor if you have diarrhoea for more than one day. Your Australian embassy can provide you with a list of doctors.
Thieves and pickpockets may consider older people as easy targets. Suggestions include:
- Don't travel around at night.
- Don't wear expensive jewellery on obvious display.
- Wear valuables (such as traveller's cheques and credit cards) on a belt worn under the clothes and next to the skin.
- Consider carrying a 'dummy' wallet holding a small amount of cash. If you are directly confronted by a mugger, you can hand over the dummy wallet and avoid further distress.
- Carry with you at all times the contact details of the Australian embassy. If your city doesn't have an Australian embassy, find out which other country's embassy is available to help you, such as the British embassy.
- Your GP (doctor)
- Tour travel agent
- Your airline
- Australian embassies
- Medicare External Link
- Taking care of your health External Link , Smartraveller,
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Allergy testing is used to find which substances provoke an allergic reaction.
Being young and fit doesn't reduce your risk of altitude sickness.
Before taking your trip, visit your doctor to make sure your asthma is under control well before you leave.
Barmah Forest virus (BFV) disease can cause joint inflammation and pain, fatigue and a rash of variable appearance. A full recovery can be expected. Most people recover completely within six months, although some people have intermittent symptoms for longer.
Water quality of natural water sources, such as beaches and rivers, can vary greatly. Keeping a lookout for poor water quality (such as water that is discoloured, murky or smells unpleasant) will help you decide when it is safe to enter the water. By paying attention to a few noticeable signs, you can keep yourself safe.
From other websites
- External Link Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
- External Link DFAT, Smartraveller - Mature travellers
- External Link How to manage your PBS medicine overseas – Services Australia
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Top 14 Travel Tips for Seniors: Complete Travel Guide
August 04, 2022
Category: Independent Living , Senior Living
Traveling by air, train, or even in your own car isn’t always easy for everyone. But for seniors, handling the bumps in the road created by everything from flight delays to a lack of support services at their destination can be even more of a challenge. Following these straightforward travel tips for seniors will help to reduce the stress from travel and ensure seniors stay safe while also getting the most from each trip.
The 14 Travel Tips for Seniors to Stay Safe While Having Fun
1. manage medications.
No matter how seniors travel, it’s important to keep several days of medications close at hand. It’s critical for air travel because access to checked bags is virtually impossible and flight delays create a time crunch if seniors need to medicate multiple times a day. Also, bags can be lost compounding the problem. If a senior takes a liquid medication, work with their physician to get documentation stating their need to carry those medications onto a flight so Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules can be navigated more easily.
2. Stretch Your Legs
Long flights, car rides and train travel mean being seated for a long period of time. A serious risk for senior travelers is deep vein thrombosis brought on by lack of movement. On long flights or the train try to get them an aisle seat which makes it easier to stand, stretch and use the restroom. Make sure you remind them to stop every few hours if they are on the highway to take a short break, walk around a little and get a good stretch.
3. Stay Hydrated
Traveling is a thirsty business and being on the move tends to quickly dehydrate everyone. Seniors flying at high altitudes are at an even higher risk of dehydration so it’s a good idea for them to keep a water bottle full and sip on it during travel. Don’t forget about eating either – have a few snacks like fruit or nuts in plastic zippered bags or energy bars in their carry bag instead of relying on airport stores and restaurants they might have time to stop at (and they are expensive!). Also, seniors often need food and water to take with medications.
4. Know Travel Details
When your loved one’s travel, gather as much information as you can about their itinerary. Know flight departure and arrival times and gates, terminal maps, immigration information, etc. to avoid unexpected surprises. For seniors traveling by car, keep a close eye on the weather and check with AAA to see if there is any major road construction causing detours that can make it difficult for seniors to navigate. Teach them how to use GPS navigation if it’s available in their vehicle – some travel apps also allow sharing so you can track their progress online during the trip.
5. Pack Light
The goal is to pack everything a senior needs in a rolling suitcase plus a medium-size over-the-shoulder carry-on. For domestic travel, encourage seniors to pack even lighter because anything they need should be available at their destination. Heavy bags and too many of them can contribute to lifting injuries and even falls. Lighter is better.
6. Be Prepared for TSA Rules
TSA is something everyone needs to be prepared for at the airport. Make sure senior relatives know some of their medical conditions may raise red flags at security checkpoints. Be prepared to brief them on TSA procedures regarding medical conditions that can set off alarms, such as surgical hip and knee implants, or be seen in scans such as prosthetics or infusion ports. To avoid delays, get a physician’s statement or the device’s description card and make sure the senior carries that documentation.
7. Look at the Trip Realistically
Many adventurous seniors have a bucket list trip that they’ve dreamed of taking. But before planning gets started it’s critical to look at a trip realistically to see if the destination can handle health emergencies and whether the senior can handle the rigors of the trip. Can they get to the tourism site safely? Is there an appropriate level of healthcare available? Are the accommodations accessible? Many foreign countries don’t provide the same level of care or promote easy access for seniors. Before making the leap find out what potential challenges the destination poses.
8. Get There Early
Encourage seniors to get to the airport or train station with time to spare so they aren’t rushed as they make their way through the terminal. Avoid long walks by arranging for a wheelchair or assistance ahead of time. Airlines can usually set this up when trips are booked.
9. Don’t Lug Your Luggage
Unless seniors are traveling very light, they probably need help with their luggage. Have them get a porter or wait for the family to arrive at the luggage point. If driving, ask them to pack a smaller carry bag that they can take into a hotel mid-trip so you don’t have to haul an entire suitcase in and out of the hotel.
10. Beware of Free Wi-Fi
Seniors aren’t always computer savvy and if free Wi-Fi is available in a location, they may use it without verifying the source. Advise them to avoid accessing private documents or online banking information when connecting to free Wi-Fi. If they are in a hotel lobby or local coffee shop suggest that they verify the Wi-Fi by asking a staff member how to access it properly.
11. Make Document Copies
For senior travelers heading to foreign countries it’s a good idea to bring copies of all their travel and identification documents. If a passport or wallet is stolen or lost, extra copies in hand can help speed up assistance at the consulate or boost your chances of being able to board a plane. Scan their documents before the trip to create digital copies that you can email from home if the seniors can’t locate their copies or need more of them to share with various agencies or the airlines.
12. Find Senior Discounts
While they may not actively promote them, many places from museums to the airlines may offer senior discounts. Carry passports and ID to take advantage of lower prices and don’t be shy about asking staff at tourist sites and booking agents if they offer a discounted rate.
13. Strongly Consider Travel Insurance
There are plenty of options for travel insurance and it’s expensive for seniors, but it’s a worthwhile investment because they may need it if there’s a medical emergency. Find out if a senior’s medical insurance works overseas and keep in mind that Medicare is not valid outside the U.S. except in limited circumstances. One aspect of travel insurance that should be considered is evacuation insurance. This covers the expense of getting seniors to adequate medical care in an emergency — especially if they are too ill to fly commercially.
14. Consult With a Physician Before Traveling
Prior to any big trip, seniors should get a medical check-up especially if they have a coronary heart disease, hypertension, a chronic condition, or recently had surgery. Talk about health concerns and if they are traveling to a foreign country make sure seniors are vaccinated against infectious diseases they may be exposed to on the trip.
At Blakeford Senior Life , we support our communities whether they are enjoying ageing in place or living their best life on one of our campuses. Our experienced staff is ready to assist you in every step of your retirement journey. For more vacation tips, read this informative blog that can help you plan for your next getaway.
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Tip Sheet: Safe Travel Tips for Older Adults
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Before you board a plane, train, cruise, or get in your car for a vacation, be sure to check out these expert tips and recommendations from the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation. Whether you are traveling overseas or just a short distance from home, it is important to plan ahead for your healthcare needs.
Find out if you need to update your vaccinations If you’re traveling overseas, you may need certain vaccinations before departing—in some cases, up to 6 weeks before you leave. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Travelers' Health website to learn what measures you and your fellow travelers may be required to follow when traveling abroad.
Talk to your healthcare provider Explain your travel plans to your healthcare provider, and discuss any travel precautions you should take. Your provider may ask you to come in for a checkup or to get any necessary shots.
Ask when you should take your medications If you take medications, and will be crossing time zones, ask your healthcare provider whether you should take your medicines at your usual home time zone time, or switch to the local time zone. Also ask if any new foods you might eat while traveling could interact with your medications or health conditions.
Guard against deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) Older adults run a higher-than-average risk of DVT, which happens when blood clots form in your veins and block blood flow, usually in your legs. Sitting still for a long time on an airplane or train can contribute to DVT. But some research shows that wearing “compression stockings” can help prevent this dangerous condition. Also, taking frequent breaks to walk or exercise your legs during a long ride can help protect you from developing DVT. Check with your healthcare provider.
Get it in writing
- Make a list of all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and supplements you take, including the dose, what time you take the medications, and what they are for. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider to help you create this list and ask them to review it for accuracy. The list should include both generic and brand drug names and the amount of each medication you need to take with you on your trip.
- Ask your healthcare provider for a list of current medical problems you have and how they’re being treated.
- Have your healthcare providers' contact information in writing as well as for emergency purposes.
Having all of this on paper will make it easier for you to get through customs, and easier to get replacement medications if you lose any while traveling. Make a copy of these lists. Carry one with you, and keep the other in your suitcase.
Keep your medications in their original containers with labels Do this with prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and supplements. This will also make your trip through customs easier.
Carry your medications on the plane Pack your medications in your carry-on bag to avoid loss or damage.
Protect yourself from infection and dehydration
- Wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after spending time on a crowded plane, train, or bus, and before eating.
- Use common sense when choosing what to eat and drink. The CDC travel site includes country-by-country information on illnesses you can get from food and water and how to avoid them.
- Drink plenty of water when traveling, especially by plane. The air inside planes is dry, so bring a large bottle of water with you and drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty. Or ask for a bottle of water every time the flight attendant offers a drink instead of soda or coffee, which can dry you out even more.
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Lifestyle for Older Adults
Safe travel tips for older adults.
Dec 12, 2022
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Senior Editor at NCOA
Traveling is vital for our mental health.
Whether you’re traveling thousands of miles a year, or taking the occasional short trip, you can avoid extra risks by following these tips.
Planning ahead and having a back-up plan can help you dodge common travel hazards and pitfalls.
Many of us put our travel plans on hold at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. And the thought of travel can still cause worry, whether that's related to the fear of catching COVID-19 or the unease stemming from a lack of practice. But being prepared and taking precautions can help ensure you enjoy a much-needed trip.
In general, traveling, going to new places and meeting up with family and old and new friends is really vital for our mental health,” said Kathleen Cameron, senior director of NCOA's Center for Healthy Aging.
When planning a trip, and while you're on the road to adventure, follow these tips to help everything go as smoothly as possible.
1. Follow public health guidance
On a recent business trip to Austin, Texas, Cameron noticed only about 10% of people were wearing face masks in the airport and on the plane. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone wear face coverings on public transportation to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Following that advice is particularly important for older adults, Cameron said.
“Anyone over the age of 50 should wear masks, while in the airport, at their gat,e and on the plane their entire trip.”
CDC has a wealth of travel guidance, including frequently asked questions and tools for gauging COVID-19 risk by desination, at cdc.gov/travel .
2. Choose a hotel that meets your needs
While most hotels can accommodate a guest’s mobility, some places that are off the beaten path or historical haven’t been updated. This can mean falls hazards on stairs or uneven floors, or accessibility issues at the entrance to the hotel and to the rooms.
Before booking a hotel, call ahead to make sure the hotel has elevators, and ask if the elevator is wheelchair accessible if you need it. If not, ask if they can accommodate a first-floor request.
Even if you’re traveling with a tour company, don’t hesitate to call a hotel directly if you have concerns about accessibility.
3. Don’t publicize your trip on social media
It’s natural to want to share your excitement about an upcoming trip, but think twice before posting it on social media. There are many reported cases of thieves using social media to target homes when the owner announces they’re going on a long trip.
Facebook’s default privacy setting isn’t particularly private. You may think only your closest friends can see your post, but unless you have strict privacy settings enabled, anyone who is friends with your friends, and even some people who aren’t acquainted with you at all, can see your post.
You also might want to consider asking a trusted friend or family member to house sit while you’re away.
4. Know the TSA rules
While you’re trying to figure out where to pack your sunhat and flip flops, don’t forget about your prescriptions. If you are one of the nearly 9 in 10 older adults who takes at least one medication, 1 always pack it in your carry-on where you can access it easily, and it can’t be lost by an airline.
“Carry your medications with you on your person and not in your luggage,” Cameron advises.
If your medication is a liquid and requires that you also have syringes, pumps, freezer packs, or IV bags, the TSA will allow you to carry it all on the plane. Before you pack, check the TSA’s rules, so you know how to pack them.
It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong.
Make sure to take a list of your medications , doctors, and the location of a pharmacy covered by your insurance (or Medicare) at your destination.
Bonus: If you’re 75 or older, TSA usually allows you to go through the security pre-check line, which means you don’t have to remove your shoes or separate laptops or liquids from your carry-on. For those younger than 75 who can’t—or don’t want to—stand in long security lines, the TSA Precheck or Global Entry program are options. TSA Precheck is for flights between U.S. airports, and Global Entry is for international flights. Each program has a non-refundable application fee, and you have to apply for the program well in advance of your travel. But if approved, your status lasts for five years.
5. Stay healthy on route to, and on, the plane
Busy airports and tight spaces while getting on an airplane can be a fall risk. The airline will help if you call ahead and ask about priority boarding.
You’ll also want to talk with the airline if you have a chronic condition that has dietary restrictions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension, and you’re taking a long flight that overlaps when you know you should eat. A representative can tell you if they can accommodate your dietary needs. If they can’t, pack food for yourself.
Airplane air can pose challenges. A plane cabin at high altitudes typically has much less humidity than a normal environment, 2 which can put you at higher risk of dehydration and respiratory diseases. Be sure to drink lots of water on the plane.
"On really long airplane trips, be sure you walk in the aisle to prevent blood clots, particularly for those at high risk," Cameron said. That includes people who've had surgeries or recent hospitalizations, cancer, or have a family history of blood clots.
It’s also good to take steps to protect your immune system, which naturally weakens with age. Pack anti-bacterial wipes in your carry-on so you can disinfect your seat, seatbelt, tray, and armrest. Before your trip, talk to your doctor to make sure you’re up-to-date on all of your immunizations , including the flu shot and COVID-19 boosters.
"Many older adults, they’re still unaware of the booster or, frankly, its importance—that it’s an extra layer of protection different than those initial dosages," said NCOA President and CEO Ramsey Alwin .
6. Don’t be a target for theft
Older adults are targets for theft and fraud. Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, take precautions to protect yourself both inside and outside of your hotel room.
Check with your hotel to see if it has a safe in your room for your passport, jewelry, or excess cash. And always double-check to make sure the code works before placing your belongings inside. Keep anything you consider valuable inside the safe.
Consider also investing in pick-pocket proof travel clothes. Many companies design fashionable pants and jackets that come with deep inside zipper and magnetically sealed pockets that help keep your valuables safe from pick pocketers.
If you’re traveling internationally, consider using cash for most purchases.
Credit card fraud is prevalent in tourist destinations. Unless you plan to monitor your transaction history via a mobile app, cash will reduce your risk.
Getting foreign currency is easier than ever. Check with your home bank to see if you can use your debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs at your destination. Some banks will even let you withdraw without additional fees. Plus, you may get a better conversion rate doing it this way.
If you opt for the credit card route, call the credit card issuer before your trip to let them know where and when you’re traveling. They can tell you if there is a foreign transaction fee for using your card abroad and how the conversion rate is applied to charges. Alerting the company allows it to more easily track potential fraudulent activity and issue a refund quickly if you get hit. However, most credit card companies will deactivate your card in the case of fraud and will only mail a replacement to your account address. So take a back-up card just in case.
7. Keep important documents on hand
Before leaving home, make copies of your important documents, like your passport, driver’s license, Medicare card, and itinerary. Pack an extra set with you, and make sure to leave copies with people you trust at home (or have access to scanned versions). If you lose your ID or it’s stolen, this will make it easier to get replacements.
Also, always make sure to carry emergency contact information and identification on you while out and about. If a medical emergency happens, the people providing assistance will need to know your emergency contact and a health care provider at home.
Now that you’re equipped with these smart travel tips, enjoy your trip and make wonderful new memories! Happy travels!
1. Kaiser Family Foundation. Data Note: Prescription Drugs and Older Adults. 2019. Found on the internet at https://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/data-note-prescription-drugs-and-older-adults/
2. National Research Council U.S. Committee on Air Quality in Passenger Cabins of Commercial Aircraft. The Airliner Cabin and the Health of Passengers and Crew. Environmental Control. 2002. Found on the internet at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207472/
Healthy Aging Team
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Older Adults and Healthy Travel
If you are an older adult considering international travel, learn what precautions to take to stay safe and healthy during your trip.
Before you travel
Check CDC’s destination pages for travel health information . Check CDC’s webpage for your destination to see what vaccines or medicines you may need and what diseases or health risks are a concern at your destination.
Make an appointment with your healthcare provider or a travel health specialist that takes place at least one month before you leave. They can help you get destination-specific vaccines, medicines, and information. Discussing your health concerns, itinerary, and planned activities with your provider allows them to give more specific advice and recommendations.
Tell your doctor about
- Any chronic medical conditions such as hypertension and asthma.
- All destinations that you will be visiting
- The types of accommodations where you will be staying such as hotels, hostels, short term rentals, boats, camping etc.
- The purpose of your trip such as to visit friends and relatives, business, or adventure travel.
- Timing and length of your trip.
- Planned activities, such as climbing at high altitudes, scuba diving, humanitarian aid work, or taking cruises
- All medications that you are taking.
Make sure you are up-to-date on all of your routine vaccines . Routine vaccinations protect you from infectious diseases such as measles that can spread quickly in groups of unvaccinated people. Many diseases prevented by routine vaccination are not common in the United States but are still common in other countries.
Some routine vaccines for older adults include pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, zoster or shingles vaccine, and an annual flu shot. Learn more about what routine vaccines are recommended for adults .
Take recommended medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribes medicine for you, take the medicine as directed before, during, and after travel. Counterfeit drugs are common in some countries, so only take medicine that you bring from home and make sure to pack enough for the duration of your trip, plus extra in case of travel delays. Learn more about traveling abroad with medicine .
Keep a paper or electronic record of your medical history with you during travel.
Cruise Ship Travel
Travel Topics of Interest for Older Adults
- Chronic Health Issues
- Blood clots
- Motion Sickness
Cruises are popular among older adults. However, cruise ships can create an ideal situation for diseases to spread. Common diseases that spread on cruise ships include norovirus, that can cause diarrhea and vomiting, and respiratory diseases like influenza and COVID-19. To help prevent getting sick, make sure to wash your hands often, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. Wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
If you feel sick before your voyage, reschedule your trip. If you feel sick during your voyage, report your symptoms to the ship’s medical facility and follow their recommendations.
Plan for the Unexpected
Get travel insurance. Find out if your health insurance covers medical care abroad. Travelers are usually responsible for paying hospital and other medical expenses out of pocket at most destinations. Make sure you have a plan to get care overseas , in case you need it. Consider buying additional insurance that covers health care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will be traveling to remote areas.
There are different types of travel insurance such as trip cancellation insurance, travel health insurance and medical evacuation insurance. Learn more about travel insurance .
Enroll with the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) . Check for and monitor any travel advisories for your destination. Enrolling also ensures that the US Department of State knows where you are if you have serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties while traveling. In the event of an emergency at home, STEP can also help friends and family contact you.
Learn basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit . Learn the numbers for emergency services in the destination you are visiting.
If you traveled and feel sick, particularly if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider and tell them about your travel.
If you need medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care During Travel .
- Travelers with Chronic Illnesses
- Travelers with Weakened Immune Systems
- Traveling with Medications
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Travel tips for seniors: plan safe travel at any age
With a little forward planning and flexibility, travel for older adults can be hassle free. A safe and unforgettable trip is within reach – read on for our travel tips for seniors.
14 August 2023 • 5 min read
8 travel tips for seniors: Making elderly travel more enjoyable
Travel is one of the best ways to feed your soul, and thanks to modern innovations it’s become more accessible than ever before. With so many unforgettable travel options at your feet, it’s no wonder so many seniors are taking to the sky and exploring the wonders of the world.
These days, there’s no need for age to put a dampener on travel plans - but before you set sail on your next adventure, there are some important things you’ll need to take care of. We know that holiday to-do lists can sometimes get a little overwhelming, so take comfort in these travel tips for seniors. After all, nobody wants to deal with unnecessary headaches when exploring fascinating new places.
1. Check travel alerts
Checking travel alerts and Smart Traveller 1 for where you are heading makes good sense for any traveller – seasoned by experience or not. This will help you anticipate any health or weather events that could impact your plans. An additional travel tip for seniors is to see if Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with your destination country. In the event of safety or health concerns while travelling, you’ll know whether you can access essential healthcare services without incurring significant costs or delays.
2. Minimise the amount of luggage you bring
Depending on where you’re travelling to, a large amount of luggage could seriously limit your movements. What’s more, it’s just not worth increasing the risk of serious fatigue or injury. A great travel tip for older adults is to pack light. Of course, this will mean something different for everyone, and depends on your travel destination and season. Just ensure you’re considering how you will transport your luggage through airports, train stations and other bustling travel hubs.
3. Open the lines of communication with loved ones
Plan how you will stay in touch with family and friends while travelling – from chat and SMS, to regular phone calls, video chats and more. Maintaining social connections will help you stay connected overseas while giving your loved ones peace of mind that you are safe. Alongside friends and family, it could be worth informing your regular care provider (for example, your GP) of your travel plans and learning the best way to contact them while overseas if needed.
4. Protect your valuables
Secure, on-person storage options like money belts and RFID-blocking pouches for your passport can help keep your money and other valuables protected while travelling. You might also like to take advantage of your hotel room’s safe to hold the bulk of your valuables while you are out and about sightseeing.
5. Know how to avoid DVT
Did you know that 30,000 Australians develop blood clots in their legs (known as deep-vein thrombosis, or DVT) or lungs every year? 2 And the risk is higher for older people and those travelling on long-haul flights. When it comes to travel for older adults, make sure you protect yourself with preventative steps like wearing compression socks during the flight, and wherever possible make it a habit to move around regularly on long flights.
6. Organise your medication well in advance
We recommend booking in a visit with your doctor prior to your trip to explain how long you will be gone so you can sort out the medications you will need in advance. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination and realising you’ve forgotten something as crucial as medication! One last pre-flight travel tip for elderly jetsetters: do a stocktake of your medications the day before you fly out.
7. Book accessible accommodation
If you’ve done plenty of travelling over the years, you are probably an expert at booking your accommodation months ahead of time. But as you get older it’s also important to check on your hotel’s accessibility. Travel for seniors with limited mobility is made so much easier when you know your accommodation will have the services and accessibility support to make your stay a comfortable one.
8. Bring a doctor’s letter with you
Depending on your age and mobility, it could be a worthwhile step to bring along a doctor’s letter on your travels. While this particular travel safety tip for seniors won’t apply to everyone, it might just save you from one less stress on your trip. For example, if you have a specific medical condition, the note can be helpful to responders in case of an emergency, or it can prove to customs officers that the medications you are carrying are necessary. The note could also ensure you get special accommodations if you have mobility issues.
Travel insurance for seniors: What do I need to know?
Travel insurance can help you prepare for the unexpected. But as you get older, the policies that apply to you may change and lead to some confusion over exactly what is and isn’t covered. Here’s what to keep in mind while shopping around for the right type of senior travel insurance.
Pre-existing medical conditions
As we get older, insurers may see some lifelong medical conditions, such as asthma, as posing a higher risk to your health. For this reason, some insurers may stop automatic cover on certain conditions. Be sure to disclose all pre-existing medical issues to your insurer – that way they can run a health assessment and let you know what you’re covered for.
Risk of injury while travelling
Travel for older adults comes with the increased risk of aged-related health issues and injuries, and premiums can change as you get older. You may be required to take out a comprehensive plan rather than basic cover. This will give you cover on a number of fronts, including overseas emergency medical costs, trip cancellation, luggage cover and alternative travel expenses if your flights are delayed.
Is there an age limit for travel insurance?
Lots of people believe that travel insurance isn’t even an option for older travellers – especially those aged 80 and over – making travel for senior citizens much riskier.
However, this isn’t always the case. Medibank aims to make our comprehensive cover available to as many people as possible, so see what you’re eligible for on our senior travel insurance page.
Senior travel checklist
With travel insurance ticked off the list, there are just a few things left to consider before departure:
- Vaccinations: Consult your GP 6–12 weeks prior to departure to see exactly what vaccinations are recommended for your chosen destination. Be mindful that some vaccinations will require more than one dose or could take several weeks to take effect.
- Medical facilities: Familiarise yourself with the nearest medical facilities in the areas you’re planning to visit, especially if you have a known condition that requires regular medical attention.
- Pack smart: Do some research into the country you’ll be visiting, with a focus on climate and culture to ensure you pack the right clothing, toiletries and medical supplies. Purchase ahead of time, as buying essentials overseas can be pricey. We also recommend bringing a mini medical kit that can be carried day-to-day.
The benefits of Medibank Travel Insurance for seniors
Exploring every corner of this amazing planet is something that should be just as accessible for the young as it is for those enjoying their golden years. Armed with these travel tips for seniors, you can plan the perfect getaway and protect yourself while travelling with the right level of travel insurance.
If you choose to take out a policy with Medibank, you will also gain access to our 24/7 emergency assistance line. Our friendly team can help if you need support finding appropriate medical treatment, if you need to organise medical evacuation, or if you require assistance replacing lost travel documents and credit cards. Get a quote for Medibank Travel Insurance or refer to our Combined FSG/PDS for further information.
COVID-19 Travel Insurance Benefits and inclusions
Whether you're planning a trip within Australia, or heading overseas, our COVID-19 travel insurance benefits can help you relax and enjoy your much needed break.
Important things you should know: Limits, sub-limits, exclusions and conditions apply. This is general advice only. Medibank Private Limited, ABN 47 080 890 259, an Authorised Representative, AR 286089, of Travel Insurance Partners Pty Limited, ABN 73 144 049 230 AFSL 360138 arranges the insurance on behalf of the insurer. The insurer is Zurich Australian Insurance Limited ABN 13 000 296 640, AFSL 232507. Please consider your own needs and the Combined FSG/PDS to decide if this product is right for you. For information on the Target Market and Target Market Determinations , visit medibank.com.au/travel-insurance/help/
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Senior Travel Tips for Travelers 75 and Older
Traveling well over 75.
Yet travel has more risks today, around COVID-19, crowded transport, and frequent delays and disruptions. Seniors 75 and older have challenges around their health and capabilities. Here’s what you and your family need to plan senior travel safely and in good health.
For Comfortable Senior Travel, Plan More, Spend More, and Pack Less
Many of today’s senior travelers are experienced, part of the first generation of backpackers and budget adventurers. Others are new to travel but want to take trips while they can. The catch is that “an adventure” looks different at 75, 85, or 90 than it did at 25.
To plan senior travel, consider where you want to go, what you want from the experience, and what you enjoy today. You may have liked traveling independently, but would senior travel groups where you meet new people while someone else takes care of the details be a better experience now? Be honest about what you can do and your concerns and limitations: this is the first step to finding travel solutions.
Budget for Travel with Comfort and Security
Older travelers often find that they value quiet, safety, and convenience. So, for your trip, budget 15 – 30% more than you would have in your younger days for increased comfort and security. Your boosted travel budget may be spent on:
- Choosing flights that depart and arrive during daylight hours, or that are more direct
- Booking a better level of flight class or lodging for quiet and comfort
- Being prepared to take taxis or Ubers
- Paying a “single supplement” for hotel rooms on senior travel tours or a cruise cabin if you are traveling alone
- Ensuring that you have travel insurance
See Also: Best Travel Insurance for Older Travelers
Pack Smart and Light
Pack lighter than you used to. As travel expert Rick Steves says, “On your trip you’ll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.” A good tip is to make sure you can lift each bag over your head into a luggage locker yourself. Check out his tips for packing lightly here. To be fashionable while packing light, check out packing tips and sample wardrobes from the mature style blogger Une Femme .
Use Technology To Track Flights and Luggage
Tech-savvy seniors can use apps to keep track of their flights, bookings, and more. Download your airline’s apps for flight updates. Save copies of your travel documents, and a spare photo of your passport, on your phone or in an online document space like DropBox. You can ask a friend or relative to set you up with this tech, but work to learn how to use it yourself. Giving your phone to a stranger is a security risk.
Tech can help with your luggage, too. Try an Apple AirTag or a Tile tracker in your checked luggage to track it. And invest in a portable charger – an external battery for your phone and other devices – to bring with you so your devices are always live.
Stay In Touch with a Contact
Finally, choose a contact from your friends or family in case of emergency. Give them a detailed copy of your itinerary, including dates, times, and booking and contact numbers for transport and lodging. If you need to provide any medical documentation for your travel, give them copies of that, too. It’s wise to give them the number of your main doctor or medical practitioners, just in case. You can send your contact check-in calls or messages to let them know you are OK and traveling on time.
For Senior Travel with Support, Go For Agents, Senior Travel Tours, and Cruises
Travel agents, senior travel groups, and cruises can all help seniors have the trips they dream of with less stress and worry. There’s also support for seniors at TSA and airports if you book it in advance.
Travel Agents Simplify Senior Travel
Travel agents are a great place to start for supported travel, for a solo senior, or for travel with friends or family. For a small fee, a travel agent can organize a convenient itinerary, linking multiple forms of travel and places to stay. Travel agents can also request carrier support and tell you what forms or IDs you must provide. Importantly, you will also have the travel agent as a backup if anything goes wrong.
Senior Travel Groups, Tours, and Cruises Give a Complete Travel Experience
Senior travel tours and cruises can seem like a cliché for seniors who want to see the world. Yet their efficiency and support have real benefits for older travelers.
Travel groups for seniors provide transport, guidance, and companionship. You will enjoy time with others who want to visit and experience similar activities you are interested in. If you have health or disability challenges, specialist tour companies can provide accessible travel experiences (here’s an example from New Zealand ). Search for “accessible travel” or “accessible tours” in the places you want to visit.
Cruises offer the convenience of staying and traveling in the same place, aboard a large, well-equipped ship. There’s more to cruises today than short shore trips and buffets. Many cruises are the best way to see places such as the shores of Alaska or the islands of the South Pacific. A large cruise ship is an excellent way for an extended family to travel, providing something for everyone. And on a cruise ship, qualified staff can provide physical and medical support, with nurses and a sick bay. With online reviews available, it’s easy to find senior travel tours or cruises that suit you and your travel personality.
Five More Ways Seniors Can Get Assistance During Travel
There is additional support available for older travelers. You may benefit from the following.
- In the USA, the TSA can provide expedited security screening for passengers 75 and older . Call the TSA Cares line 72 hours before travel at (855)787-2227.
- Skycap services in airports and redcap services in train stations can help you physically move luggage and get to transfers. You may need to book and pay for these services in advance.
- Most hotels have wheelchair-friendly rooms, which are also good places to stay if you use a walker.
- Online, you can find lists of hotels and lodging for travelers with low vision or blindness .
- The online resource Wheelchair Traveling has empowering advice for wheelchair travelers of all ages.
If you have serious medical needs or more than one disability, your best travel support is a friend or family member traveling with you. Hiring a medical travel companion for flights or other transits is possible.
Best Travel Insurance Plans for Seniors
For US Citizens Traveling Abroad
GeoBlue Voyager Plan
- For U.S. citizens up to age 95
- Coverage for COVID and pre-existing conditions
- 24/7/365 service and assistance
For Travel to the USA or Globally
Patriot Platinum Travel Insurance
- COVID-19 coverage up to policy maximum if you're visiting the U.S.
- Maximum limits up to $8,000,000
- IMG pays 100% of medical expenses in-network
When Traveling Over 75, Expect Some Checks and Limitations
Be aware that seniors over 75 may face some limitations as they travel. For example, you can’t rent a car in some countries in Europe after certain ages – 75 in Greece and Ireland, 80 in Portugal.
You may also be asked to confirm that you are in good health for certain types of travel. Cruises or long-haul flights are within their rights to ask you for a completed medical certification or fitness to travel form. Since 2020 a fitness to travel form is now required for seniors on many cruises . If you ask for assistance on a plane, it is very likely that your airline will ask you for this, too.
Completing a fitness to travel form usually requires a doctor’s appointment. You will be asked to complete this form within 7 to 14 days of travel. If you are asked to provide a fitness to travel form, carry a printout of this form with you.
Finally, if you are traveling with many medications, be aware that you may need documentation to bring these through customs. Travel with your medications in their pharmacy bottles, or in daily dose packages sealed by your pharmacist. This provides proof that they are your personal medications. Loose pills in a daily medication box may not be allowed through customs.
Read More: Traveling With Prescription Medications Internationally
Be Secure and Aware
Unfortunately, older travelers are targets for travel crime: scams, hustles, and bag grabs. Travelers who look frail or tired are vulnerable to this. Follow good travel safety practices. Avoid being out after dark, or if you are, go with companions you know and use secure transportation.
Many seniors over 75 have reduced hearing or use hearing aids. Reduced hearing makes it hard to hear in the loud environments of airports and train stations, and on planes and trains. You can miss announcements or not hear important things your travel companions are saying. Check with information desks, or ask your companions to repeat themselves, if necessary. And let your companions know to double-check with you about those important things.
Related: Safety and Travel Insurance Advice by Country
How Old Is Too Old for Travel?
With all of these concerns for travelers over 75, how old is too old for travel? This is a different decision for every individual, based on their own faculties and fitness. You may be deciding this for yourself. Or you may be helping a parent or relative decide.
It’s important to note that senior travel tour guides and airline stewards are not personal carers. In an example provided by USA Today , travel expert Kristen Veldman noted, “You can’t expect to ask a tour leader to nurse you as well, and be there for you 24/7 for medical care. Tour guides don’t have the time, skills, and knowledge for it.” If you are managing multiple health challenges and want to travel, bring your own support person for your own needs.
Is it possible to travel with mild memory loss or dementia? Professionals recommend that people with dementia always be accompanied when they travel, and that travel time be short, three to five hours. Caregiver.com has a list of considerations to decide if someone with dementia is well and safe enough to travel. Doctors advise that patients with dementia avoid long-haul flights due to the lower oxygen on planes leading to confusion on or after the flight.
To answer the question “Can I travel” for yourself or a loved one, consider your answers to these questions.
- Would you receive a fitness to travel pass from your doctor?
- Are you able to move quickly in an emergency on a plane?
- Can you see, hear, and remember well enough to manage your own medications and travel documents?
- Are you confident that you can deal well with travel delays or being questioned by customs?
Again, if there is any doubt, the best travel support is a friend or family member traveling as a companion.
See Also: Guide to Traveling with Disabilities
Senior Travelers Need Travel Insurance
All senior travelers need and should have insurance. The CDC formally recommends this to ensure that older travelers are safe, especially overseas.
For U.S. seniors, Medicaid and Medicare do not cover your health care if you travel outside the United States. Minor coverage is available through an extra Medigap plan – look for the phrase “foreign travel exchange.” But there is a lifetime benefit cap for expenses outside the U.S.
Older people sometimes hesitate about buying travel insurance. Excuses include, ‘’I never used to buy it in the past,” ‘’My kid did a semester abroad and didn’t need it,” and “My family will look after me.” With COVID-19 increasing risks around health, if you didn’t need it before, you need it now. And it’s unfair to expect your family to take on large expenses like hospitalization or rescheduling flights.
The saying, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel” is especially true if you are over 75. Travel insurance is more expensive for travelers aged 80 and above. This is due to the increased risk of medical events. But this cost is minor compared to thousands of dollars in medical costs.
Family members often buy travel insurance for elderly parents coming to visit them. This checklist can help you and your family get the most for your travel insurance dollar.
- Look for a plan with good trip cancellation and delay coverage.
- Also, seek a plan that includes COVID-19 related coverage. You may need to look for a more generous plan for pre-existing conditions.
- Consider the plan’s deductible — the amount you need to pay first. A higher deductible makes plans more affordable.
Prioritize, Plan, and Enjoy
Over 75, you may not travel the way you used to. And that’s all right. It’s also OK to have your later-in-life trips be about you and what you enjoy now. What’s vital is that you get what you want from travel, whether keynote experiences or time with family, without undermining your health and well-being. Understanding yourself and what you need, and making plans to get what you need, will bring you the good time you want from your senior travel.
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