Senior years travel: A guide to looking after your health

You’ll need to put some additional thought into the planning to make sure you stay fit and healthy.

Our senior years often mean retirement, which is an opportunity to break free of the working world and focus on enjoyment. For many, this may include traveling, whether it’s a dream vacation with the entire family or a solitary escape for some much-needed peace and quiet. However, it’s important to remember that age has a habit of making average actions that little more challenging, so you’ll need to put some additional thought into the planning to make sure you stay fit and healthy.

Before departure
Effective early planning is the key to staying healthy while traveling. Begin by booking a general health check with your doctor, who may have specific advice and recommendations on areas to avoid. As well as this, you can inquire about any vaccinations you may need, like your tetanus shot which should be updated every 10 years.

If you take any medications, make sure you pack enough for the entire journey. Speak to your doctor for a refill if you believe you’ll run out before you return. Additionally, you should take any important medical records, especially if you have any chronic illnesses or allergies.

No amount of planning can prevent unforeseen accidents from happening, whether it’s to do with old age health complications or not. To avoid being hit with expensive bills, it’s a good idea to take out extensive travel insurance.

During your trip
Once you arrive at your destination, it’s important to take measures to safeguard your health. For example, you can drink plenty of water, eat healthily, and keep up with any exercise routines. Also, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times to avoid unnecessary accidents and injuries.

If you use specialist equipment like hearing aids, it’s a good idea to take a spare just in case it gets damaged. As well as this, we recommend cleaning it regularly and keeping it out of the water. When you arrive at the hotel, let the front desk know about any specialist equipment because they may make adjustments to make your stay more comfortable.

Common senior traveler health challenges
While traveling can be a fascinating experience for seniors, there are many challenges to be aware of to guarantee an enjoyable experience. For example, mobility issues like osteoporosis and arthritis may cause issues getting around, making it important to plan for accessibility well in advance. Other common senior traveler health challenges include:

Infectious diseases. Seniors are more susceptible to diseases like yellow fever, malaria, and diarrhea, so it’s essential to get fully vaccinated and take necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites and other points of contact.
Access to medications. Some medications may not be available in the country you’re visiting, so speak to your doctor before heading out to make sure you’re stocked up.
Chronic health conditions. Seniors are more likely to face chronic health conditions, so it’s essential to keep up with medication routines and other health and well-being activities.
Altitude sickness. Sickness, nausea, headaches, shortness of breath, and dizziness are all symptoms of altitude sickness, which can happen on flights. Drink plenty of fluids, take anti-sickness tablets, and wear suitable clothing for flying.

Managing anxiety and stress
Traveling will be fun once you’ve arrived and settled into the new environment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not stressful, especially for seniors. Some common factors contributing to stress and anxiety include unfamiliarity, health concerns, loss of control, and mobility issues.

If you’re experiencing stress and anxiety at any point during your trip, it’s important to get a handle on it. Luckily, there are plenty of great strategies including planning ahead and being flexible. Further, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can take a step back to have a much-needed break. If nothing appears to work, don’t be afraid to reach out to a loved one for a little support.

Tips for traveling with grandchildren
A trip with your grandchildren can be a special experience for everyone involved, but it’s important to make preparations to keep everyone safe and entertained. For example, you should choose a destination that caters to both children and seniors because everyone needs to have a good time.

When children are involved, things don’t always go according to plan, so it’s important to be flexible. For example, you may have an activity planned for your grandchildren that they don’t enjoy, and it could spark negative behaviors. To get a handle on the situation, you may need to switch up the plan and do something else.

Your trip will be more expensive when traveling with grandchildren, which means budgeting will be more of a concern. A great way to reduce expenses is going self-catering and packing lunches for day trips; children get hungry quickly and the cost of eating out will soon add up.

Resources for senior travelers
You may need additional support to stay safe while traveling, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Here are a few examples of organizations that can help out:

Elderhostel. This nonprofit organization offers educational travel programs for seniors. Popular topics include culture, arts, crafts, and history.
World Nomads. Travel insurance company specializing in adventurous travel. They also offer great coverage for seniors.
Transitions Abroad. A website packed full of resources for anyone who wants to travel, live, or work abroad. There’s a dedicated section for senior travel including volunteer opportunities, destination guides, and travel insurance.
AARP. A Nonprofit organization offering a wealth of resources to seniors, including guides, discounts, and insurance support.
Road Scholar. Another nonprofit organization offering educational travel programs for seniors.

To complement the fantastic resources outlined above, a quick Google search will bring up an enormous library of resources that will help you and your loved ones stay safe while traveling.

Traveling in your senior years, whether it’s with your grandchildren or on your own, is an incredible opportunity that can do wonders for your physical and mental health. However, it’s important to spend time planning to take care of your health; we hope the tips and resources outlined above will point you in the right direction.

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