One of the most popular activities for seniors, over age 50, is travel. Whether you are an experienced globe-trotter or traveling for the first time, it is good to research and plan as much as possible in advance.
It is always recommended travelers see a doctor for a pre-travel visit, ideally 4-6 weeks before traveling when possible. Consider any physical limitations when making travel plans as well as recovering from jet lag and motion sickness. Your physician may prescribe medications for traveler’s diarrhea or altitude illness.
Check out all sources of senior travel package discounts for all facets of your journey transportation, accommodations, or restaurants.
Make several photocopy sets of essential documents – passport, driver’s license, Medicare and insurance cards, travel tickets and itinerary, boarding pass if secured in advance, and physician prescriptions. Keep one complete set in carry-on baggage, and one set to family at home. Request copies of prescriptions and/or statements of medical conditions from each physician and medical treatment center to keep with you.
For domestic flights, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) states: “Effective January 22, 2018, air travelers with identification that does not meet the REAL ID Act requirements and whose state does not have an extension must present an alternative form of identification in order to board a domestic flight. Examples of acceptable forms of identification include U.S. military or dependent ID, DHS trusted traveler cards, airline or airport-issued ID, passport book or passport card, or federally recognized tribal- issued photo ID.” For more information on this topic and documents required for international travel, visit the website for U.S. Department of State: https://travel.state.gov.
Keep your essential documents and money with you in a money belt or passage wallet on your body, tucked inside your clothing, instead of a purse or wallet in back pocket. This simple security step will help prevent losing or stealing.
Air travelers over the age of 75 qualify for expedited security clearance and will not be required to remove shoes or jackets. Airports sometimes have designated security lanes for special needs or disabled travelers, with no waiting. Ask about these services when planning.
Medications & Health Aids
The best suggestion is to keep all medications in carry-on bags in case of lost luggage. There may be an exemption from the typical carry-on allowances for liquids. Carry all medications in one bag and pack them in a separate container such as a Ziploc. They will be screened separately and will not be confiscated. Keep medications in their original, labeled containers and pack a few extra days of supply in case there are travel delays.
When traveling with a portable oxygen machine, check in advance to see if the airline requires any special medical forms signed by a medical doctor. Coordinate wheelchair assistance in advance of travel. Coordinate in advance with airline if assistance is needed to the jetway or all the way to airplane seat.
Traveling and seeing the world is safer than ever before and with a little planning,
seniors can safely visit almost any destination. Bon voyage!