The holidays are a great time for traveling to visit family and friends. If you’re a senior, there are special considerations to take into account during holiday travel. You want to make sure you manage things like your medication, if you’re on medication, and dietary restrictions even on vacation. You should also take advantage of any discounts you have, as this could save you money. Pack light when it comes to gifts to avoid straining yourself. With a little preparation, you can enjoy holiday travel as a senior.
Method 1 Method 1 of 3:Making Arrangements
Choose the right time of day for travel. If you’re older, you may not be able to stay awake for late nights or get up very early in the morning. Choose travel times that work for your energy level to assure a safe trip.
- Mid-morning or afternoon departure times may work best if you’re a senior. If you’re driving yourself, plan to drive around this time of day. If you’re taking a plane, bus, train, or other mode of transportation, look for departure times around this timeframe.
Opt for non-stop flights when possible. As a senior, you may want to limit how often you move around while traveling. One way to do this is to look for non-stop flights. Layovers can cause extra strain from moving your bags and getting on and off an airplane multiple times.
- If you have to have a layover, minimize the amount of layovers and look for shorter layovers when possible.
Be on the lookout for senior discounts. Some airlines and other transportation options, like busses, may offer senior discounts. If you can get a senior discount for travel, this can save you a lot of money. While booking tickets, always check to see if an airline or other company offers senior discounts.
- Some senior discounts are misleading and do not save you as much money as they advertise. You can use websites like FareCompare to evaluate which discounts truly save you money.
Consider traveler’s insurance. Traveler’s insurance may be more worth it as you age. You may be more prone to certain injuries and accidents, so always opt for the traveler’s insurance offered by airlines and hotels.
- Traveler’s insurance can cover medical costs if you have an accident while traveling. For example, it can cover your medications if you go to a hospital out of state.
- Traveler’s insurance is particularly important if you’re on a lot of medications. Many insurance policies cover the cost of medications in the event they get lost when you travel.
Make sure to get the proper disability options. If you have any age-related disabilities, make sure you get them taken care of while traveling. You may need special accommodations for things like planes and hotels on your trip.
- If you’re taking a plane, check with the airline about how to alert people to your disabilities. Some airlines allow you to alert people of your disabilities online while booking your trips. Others require you to call the airport.
- If you need a wheelchair for the airport, make sure to book a wheelchair ahead of time. You can do this by booking online or calling the airport directly. After your flight, someone will bring the wheelchair to your gate.
Method 2 Method 2 of 3:Enjoying Your Vacation Days
Watch what you eat. If you have dietary restrictions due to your age, it’s easy to forget these on vacation. Many people want to unwind a little on a trip, but keep in mind dietary restrictions do not take vacations. Mind what you eat on your trip, including when you eat out at restaurants.
- Try to eat in more on your trip. Buy some food to have at your motel or wherever you’re staying. You have more control over food you prepare yourself, helping you manage restrictions.
- Be aware of dietary restrictions during holiday events. If possible, request family members make dishes that are compatible with your diet.
- Pack extra food. As a senior, you want to keep your energy up. Eating in the airport and on the road can get pricey, and you may not be able to find food that matches your dietary restrictions. Take some small snacks with you so you have something to eat between meals if necessary.
- Talk to your doctor before leaving for a trip about how to manage your diet. Your doctor can give you advice on what kinds of food to order at restaurants that are safe given your current health and any existing medications.
Keep up with your medications. It can be hard to remember all your meds on a vacation, especially if you’re in a different time zone. Make sure you pack any medications you’re on before a trip and remember to take them regularly, even while you’re traveling.
- Never pack medication in checked luggage, in case your luggage gets lost. Always keep it in your carry on.
- Keep paperwork on you listing your medications in the event you need medical assistance on your trip.
- If you’re traveling out of the country, make sure all your meds are legal overseas. You may need paperwork from your doctor to bring certain medications into a given country.
Use senior discounts when possible. While you’re traveling, make use of senior discounts. The holidays can get expensive, so opt to save money where you can. You can sometimes get senior discounts at places like hotels and restaurants. Ask about senior discounts while you’re traveling.
- For some discounts, like booking hotels, ask ahead of time when making the reservations. If you’re staying at a hotel, you can ask someone at the front desk for places that offer a senior discount.
- You can also simply ask when you reach a destination, like a restaurant, whether they offer senior discounts.
Do not buy too many souvenirs. It can be tempting to stock up on souvenirs to bring home to friends and family members as belated holiday gifts. However, you do not want too many items clogging your bag, especially if you’re a senior. Minimize your purchases on your trip to keep from straining yourself carrying things throughout the day and on your return trip.
Select comfortable shoes. You will likely be walking more than usual while traveling. Seek to stay comfortable and avoid strain when walking if you’re a senior.
- Opt for comfortable shoes. Things like heels can cause injury or strain when walking.
- Go for flats and tennis shoes instead to keep you steady on your feet when walking.
Method 3 Method 3 of 3:Avoiding Common Mistakes
Select gifts that are easy to pack. Packing a lot of gifts can bog down your suitcase, creating strain while traveling. If you are older, you want to minimize weight whenever possible. Opt for lighter gifts. Gift cards are often a great option, as you can simply keep them in your wallet when traveling.
Avoid peak travel dates. The holidays can get very busy. A crowded airport can cause unnecessary stress. Avoid traveling during peak days if it’s possible for you.
- If you are retired, see if you can travel on a weekday rather than a weekend. The airport will be less crowded on a Tuesday, for example, than it would be on a Saturday.
- If you’re able to take extra time to travel, book your tickets a while before major holidays. The airports will be more crowded, say, a week before Christmas than two weeks before Christmas.
Know alternate routes at your destination. If you’re traveling to a major city, know alternative routes ahead of time. Roads, subways, and buses may get very crowded during the holidays and you want to minimize the time you spend traveling.
- Research routes before you leave, looking for scenic routes that may actually be quicker on high traffic days. You can also look up places to stop along the way while you’re driving in case you need a break.
- It can also help to travel earlier or later in the day. This way, you may beat traffic and crowds.