Our travel safety tips for seniors will ensure you get the most out of your trip and return home safe and sound with a slew of wonderful memories. As a senior, being retired opens so many doors for mind-blowing experiences that you might not have had the chance to enjoy as a working adult or full-time parent.
Your golden years offer you an incredible opportunity to explore the world, relax with your partner or spouse, pursue new hobbies or activities, and plan fantastic adventures. And while your retirement years will certainly give you the time and the freedom to explore, you might also experience physical limitations or concerns about travel safety.
Luckily, with a little bit of preparation—and consulting our list of senior travel tips—you’ll be more than ready for your upcoming adventure.
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Safe travel is always of the utmost importance—but there are a number of extra travel safety tips for seniors that will help you plan ahead for a comfortable, safe, and memorable trip.
As you prepare for your upcoming adventure, the following travel safety tips for senior citizens can ensure that you have a safe and comfortable trip.
One of the best travel tips for seniors is to be aware of online scams. Sadly, there are a plethora of scams that look like great opportunities to travel on a budget—however, some of these offers are scams and might put you in a dangerous or less-than-ideal situation.
Scammers work primarily online, over the phone, or via email to offer fake deals to vulnerable travelers. Remember the old adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” If you’re ever unsure if your deal is a scam, ask a friend or family member for their opinion. And if you’ve been contacted by a hotel or by an airline, don’t simply respond directly to their message or phone call. Instead, find a number from a reputable source, such as their website, and reach out to them that way.
Next, one of the most important holiday travel tips for seniors is to make sure that you share your itinerary with your family members and loved ones. Print all of your travel documents and share your itinerary with someone you trust.
If you’re visiting friends or family on your travels, make a backup copy of your itinerary and send it to them in advance so they’ll know exactly when to expect you—and when to worry if they don’t hear from you.
Plus, make copies of your travel insurance, your passport and visas if you’re traveling abroad, your emergency contacts, and any important medical information. This way, if your flight is canceled, if your passport is stolen, or if your luggage is lost, you’ll have everything you need to navigate your trip—and you can also reach out to your travel insurance company with all the information you need to get help.
Wondering about travel safety for seniors? One of the best senior citizen travel tips is to avoid advertising yourself or your trip.
Seniors can be an easy target for thieves if you bring a lot of valuable items or fancy jewelry while you’re traveling. If you stay in a hotel, you can also fall victim to theft. To adequately protect your belongings, don’t put the “clean my room” sign on your hotel door. These signs tend to be open invitations that a room is empty. Instead, try calling the front desk or stopping by on your way out to ask that someone come clean your room while you’re out.
Additionally, make sure to use the security chain on your door whenever you’re in the room, ask for a room near the elevator, and stay away from the ground floor rooms where you might be more vulnerable to window break-ins.
Plus, before you head out of town, don’t advertise your absence — especially on social media. You don’t want your home to look unattended as it might leave you vulnerable to break-ins or burglaries. Keep a light on or ask your neighbor or family members to check in every few days and make sure it looks lived in. It’s also valuable to stop your mail. When mail piles up, it’s a green light for thieves that no one is home.
Buying travel insurance is one of the best holiday travel tips for seniors—and it’s one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from any unforeseen medical expenses. While travel insurance is important and helpful for travelers of any age, it’s truly essential for older travelers. Although you may be in great health, you’re still at a higher risk of falling or hurting yourself, getting sick, or even running out of medication if your trip is delayed or extended.
Travel insurance typically costs an extra $100–$200, a price that’s well worth the investment. If you’re traveling abroad, your Medicare insurance won’t be valid, and paying out of pocket for any unforeseen medical expenses can come with a hefty price.
The safest way to travel as a senior is to plan ahead so you can anticipate your needs and know fully what to expect. Although there will almost always be curveballs and surprises during a trip, you can minimize your vulnerability to the unexpected by preparing in advance.
This includes knowing routes at your destination, bringing your own food and snacks, and watching Youtube videos or reading books about where you’re headed. Having a deeper knowledge of the area you’re visiting will provide you with insights and prepare you for a safe adventure.
One traveling tip for seniors is to visit your healthcare provider before you plan to travel. Having a conversation with your medical professional will help you understand what precautions you should take to ensure a safe and comfortable trip.
This might include getting extra medications while you’re traveling and discussing the most appropriate time to take your medication if you’re undergoing a time zone change. As you get ready to leave for your trip, remember to pack all of your medication in your carry-on. This ensures that in case of delays or lost luggage, you’ll still have access to all of your medications—and you’ll feel confident and safe.
Depending on your destination, you may need to get specific vaccinations or booster shots. Talk with your healthcare provider well in advance of your journey so you know exactly what to expect.
Many seniors may have sensitivities, dietary restrictions, or just a sensitive stomach and digestive system. As you travel, you might want to completely disregard your dietary needs, throwing caution to the wind to eat like you’re truly on a vacation. But prioritize your health—and give your body the nutritious, nutrient-rich foods it needs for fuel.
For most seniors, this might mean limiting heavy, spicy, or cheesy items and opting for a green salad starter and a nutritious lunch or dinner entree. As you consider what culinary options are available at your destination, consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that any medications you’re on interact appropriately with certain foods.
Once you’re officially on your trip, try to prioritize healthy eating and hydration whenever possible so you can feel your best. On your flight, avoid alcohol and drink water instead. Drinking alcohol—even just a glass of wine at cruising altitudes—is extremely dehydrating. Try to bring a water bottle with you and fill it at one of the kiosks once you’ve completed security at the airport.
Another great way to stay healthy and prioritize your well-being is to carry healthy snacks with you. Nuts, dried fruit, granola or energy bars are all great options. Although many airlines do offer snacks, they are often sugary or highly processed—opt for a healthier option by bringing your own snacks from home. (Just don’t forget to pack them in your personal item so you don’t have to retrieve them from the overhead bin!)
Once you’ve reached your destination, be aware of any possibilities for food poisoning or ingredients that might upset your stomach. To reduce your risk of food poisoning, avoid food buffets, seafood, undercooked meats, and raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
Older adults in particular are predisposed to a higher risk of experiencing deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). This condition occurs when blood clots form in your veins and block healthy blood flow. The risk of DVT is heightened when you sit still for a long time on an airplane or a train.
For seniors traveling for long periods of time via plane or train, consider getting an aisle seat so you can take frequent walks up and down the aisle or stretch your legs out frequently. Some research also suggests that wearing compression socks can help prevent this condition from occurring. For your comfort and safety, wear loose clothing, avoid alcoholic drinks, and consume plenty of water to prevent dehydration. You can also try to avoid sitting with your legs crossed and perform foot and leg stretches when seated (having an aisle seat is particularly helpful to give you a little bit of extra space—and the opportunity to stand up and stretch without disturbing your seatmate!).
As always, consult your medical professional for clarity on the best course of action for your health—and ask for any additional health travel tips for seniors to help maintain and support your wellbeing as you travel via plane or train.
Perhaps the most important travel safety tip for seniors is to ask for help when you need it. Traveling can be stressful for anyone—and when you’re a senior, it might feel even more overwhelming.
Ask for Help: Remember that as you travel, there are always people available to help. From asking a flight attendant for assistance with your luggage to asking a concierge for the best route to a specific neighborhood, don’t be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it. If you’ve undergone a long airplane flight or even a train ride, traveling can be hard on the body. Take it easy on yourself and ask for help.
Transportation Services: There are many services available for seniors when traveling. Take advantage of these services for your comfort and your safety. For example, if you need a wheelchair or a walker, don’t be afraid to ask. Many airlines even allow you to put in a request for one when booking your flight.
You can also enroll your trip with the government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling or living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Enrolling with STEP provides you with important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in case of an emergency, and helps family and friends get in touch with you in the event of an emergency.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Everdays encourages individuals to seek advice from their own investment or tax advisor or legal counsel.