One of the perks of getting older is having more time to devote to recreation and traveling.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are roughly 52 million people who are age 65 or older in the United States. With a $1.6 trillion total net worth, seniors spend more on groceries, pharmaceutical items and travel and leisure than any other demographic.
Age does not have to restrict one’s ability to travel, and with age comes experience and more opportunities to enjoy travel. Before taking off for parts unknown, men and women over 50 can take steps to ensure their excursions are as safe as they are memorable.
1. Consider risk. The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 taught the world that situations can change rapidly. Before booking any travel, weigh the risks and the benefits of a trip. Determine if COVID-19 is spreading where you live or at your destination. Older adults have a higher risk for severe illness caused by the virus. Until you are vaccinated, it may be best to wait to travel.
2. Use senior-friendly services. Seek out travel services that offer the best perks for older adults. Many travel providers no longer offer senior discounts, but they may offer other benefits, such as early boarding or assistance with traveling from gates to baggage areas.
3. Get travel insurance. According to Liz Dahl, co-founder of Boomer Travel Patrol, a website featuring expert advice geared toward the Baby Boomer demographic, travel insurance can be essential for older travelers. Older travelers may be more at risk of falling or getting sick and some may need extra medication if travel is interrupted or delayed. Travel insurance can provide extra coverage for a relatively low price if something goes wrong.
4. Don’t advertise your absence. It may be tempting to upload photos of your beachside vacation to social media as you are immersed in paradise. Unfortunately, seniors tend to be targets for thieves because they are seen as vulnerable. Don’t make the job easier by advertising you are away from home. In addition, have a neighbor periodically pick up your mail and set lights on timers to give the impression you are home even when you’re not.
5. Share your itinerary. Keep loved ones apprised of your general travel itinerary, especially if you are traveling solo, recommends AARP. Keep a mobile phone on you at all times.
6. Pack copies of important documents. In the event paperwork is lost while traveling, request copies of prescriptions and/or statements of medical conditions from each physician and medical treatment center so you have a second set. Keep copies of your passport, driver’s license, insurance cards, travel tickets, and other documents as well.
Seniors have the ability to travel much more than other age groups. Make the experience enjoyable by focusing on safety.