If you’ve always wanted to see the world, but never found yourself with the means and opportunity to travel as much as you would like, you probably looked forward to retirement. But traveling as a retiree is different from traveling as a student, when backpacking sounded fun and you didn’t shy away from sleeping in hostels or at campsites. Likewise, it’s different from traveling as a professional, when time was your most valuable commodity and paying for convenience was often sensible. Travel for senior citizens means being sensible about your health, aware of your safety and conscious of your budget. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be rewarding if you follow these tips.
Look for senior discounts
If you plan carefully, traveling on a fixed income doesn’t have to mean making sacrifices. Most of the companies you’ll deal with, from railroad services and airlines to hotels and resorts, know that retirees are a major part of their clientele and offer senior discounts accordingly. You can find a comprehensive list of travel-related senior discounts on the AARP website.
Keep track of any medications
If you have any medications that have to be taken at a particular time, traveling to a different time zone can get complicated. Talk to your doctor about when to take which medicine. Then write down a schedule that includes all your medications and when you take them, ask your doctor or pharmacist to review it, and keep it in a safe place. Not only will this help you keep track of what to take when, but it can help you remember the full name of a medication if you run out or lose it.
Request assistance ahead of time
These days, flying can mean standing in line for an hour or more at a security checkpoint. Then, when you get to the front of the line, you’ll need to present any mobility aids for inspection and walk through a metal detector without them. If you can’t do that, you need to call the TSA Cares hotline at least 72 hours before your flight to request assistance.
In fact, mobility aids can get in the way whether you’re traveling on a plane, a train or a ship. Fortunately, most travel companies offer assistance for senior passengers, but they aren’t always able to help without warning. Visit their websites or call ahead of time to arrange for assistance.
Think about your carry-on
The next time you board a plane or train, look around. You’ll notice that the younger a passenger is, the smaller his or her carry-on is. That’s because a carry-on is supposed to contain everything you’ll need if you’re separated from your luggage. A traveling student can get away with just a change of socks and a toothbrush, but some of us need a bit more.
Besides your phone and wallet, your carry-on should include all your medications and medical supplies, a change of clothing, toiletries, a snack and something to do. To help you pack, imagine getting to your layover and finding out that your next flight has been delayed for several hours. Think about what you would do and what you would need.
For many people, retirement is when they finally get the chance to see the world. But it takes a bit of planning to make your post-retirement travels worry-free.