Summer is a great time for enjoying the outdoors and exploring new places. Traveling is a great way to learn new things, expand your horizons and experience people and cultures different than your own. The best part about traveling? It’s not restricted to specific age groups. There are many senior friendly travel options available today; whether you are interested in traveling with a group or have specific health conditions to consider, there is a perfect trip out there for everyone!
But where do you begin? We spoke with Certified Travel Agent and Founder of Simply Juicy Travel, Eileen O’Keeffe Clancy, in order to put together some summer travel tips for seniors that will not only help you make the decision-making process easier, but also enable you to be a more efficient traveler.
Where To Go
For The Traveler With Medical Conditions
Consider booking a cruise. Cruises are senior friendly travel options, allow you to see more than one place during one vacation and provide you with the comfort of keeping the same room while you travel from place to place. Many different cruise lines now offer a wide variety of special accommodations for specific health conditions, such as dialysis for people with kidney failure, oxygen for those suffering from pulmonary diseases and amenities for those who are vision or hearing impaired.
For The Traveler Who Doesn’t Want to Fly
If you feel comfortable driving on your own, there are lovely road trips you can take, no matter which region of the country you live in. If you live out west, any of the National Parks--like Yosemite, Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon--are a guarantee for breathtaking scenery and senior friendly travel opportunities. If you live in the south, visiting the Florida Keys, Charleston, South Carolina or Savannah, Georgia all have a great mix of historical sight seeing and R&R. For folks in the northeast, Maine is a great summer destination for seniors, boasting many charming towns and possibly some of the country’s best lobster.
For The Traveler Who Wants to Include The Whole Family
Multigenerational trips are on the rise, according to O’Keeffe Clancy. “Seniors may be at a point in their lives where they have the time, funds and desire to reconnect with busy children and grandchildren in a truly memorable way,” says O’Keeffe Clancy. “Exploring a new destination together can provide just the opportunity each needs to open up new pathways, and create stronger bonds in their relationships.”
For The Traveler Who Wants to Leave The Country
Believe it or not, there are senior friendly travel options for those who want to vacation abroad. There are plenty of tour companies that offer organized trips for seniors, including seniors who have limited mobility. And Europe isn’t the only foreign region seniors should set their sights on; Australia, Canada and Africa all have a lot to offer when it comes to senior friendly travel.
What To Pack
What good would summer travel tips for seniors be if they didn’t include the essentials you need to pack before you go?
- Comfortable Shoes. Well-fitting, comfortable footwear should be a prerequisite at home or away, but it is especially important to bring comfortable walking shoes while traveling. A vacation is not the time to break in new shoes or experiment with avant garde footwear.
- Important Documents. Bring copies of your itinerary, passport and driver’s license and leave them in a safe place while you are traveling. Should your bag or wallet go missing or get stolen, having copies of these important documents on hand will help expedite the process of getting temporary identification, especially while overseas.
- Sunscreen. The sun is incredibly strong, especially during the summer months. Summer sun safety is incredibly important as you age because your skin becomes more susceptible to developing melanoma, a potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer. In order to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, be sure to apply SPF 30 or higher at the start of each day and to reapply after two hours of direct contact with the sun.
- Medications. A vacation might seem like a break from reality, but that doesn’t mean you can stop taking medication while you are away. Stick to the same routine when it comes to prescription pills, so that you don’t run the risk of missing any doses. And if you are going to be flying on an airplane, be sure to bring copies of your prescription or the prescription bottles (rather than a pill box), so that you can avoid trouble with the TSA during the security check.
- Your Medical Guardian. If you have limited mobility or certain health conditions, a Medical Guardian medical alert device can provide you with peace of mind, keeping you connected to help in an emergency. As an added bonus, Medical Guardian medical alert systems can come with you while traveling in the U.S.!