After spending many years working hard to cover mortgages, car notes, insurance premiums and tuition bills, many seniors spend their “golden years” satiating the lifelong wanderlust to travel.
But like everything else in life, traveling requires some front-end groundwork to be enjoyable. Planning ahead is especially important if a traveler requires special accommodations. Even seemingly small details, such as getting from curbside to the gate at the airport, require a good plan.
First, ensuring proper identification is a must. Keep a photocopy of your passport, driver’s license, insurance cards, tickets and itinerary, along with any prescription lists and/or instructions from your doctor safely in a front pocket or purse. Authorities highly recommend against keeping duplicate copies in checked luggage due to the threat of identity theft.
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Another strong recommendation if you’re traveling by air is to have at least three days’ worth of all medications, despite the length of the trip, in case of lost or stolen baggage. A change of clothes is also not a bad idea, since lost luggage can mean lost clothes, and many Americans have learned the hard way that European stores don’t always carry their size. Also important: Be familiar with the current weather conditions of your destination and pack as lightly as practicality dictates. Even a small suitcase can start to feel heavy after climbing on and off planes, trains, and automobiles.
Other things to consider: purchasing travel insurance in case you get sick and have to cancel airline tickets and hotel reservations; calling your credit card company to let them know where and when you’re traveling so they can be prepared when unusual purchases pop up; making sure your health insurance will cover any medical expenses you may incur out of the country; if traveling out of the country with a cell phone, making sure you can use it to make calls; checking out any holidays in the country you may be traveling to which may affect what you do; and making reservations for transportation and entertainment well in advance of your travel dates.
Lastly, if you’re keen on exploring, get in shape ahead of time by walking. As one senior told me, “If you can’t walk and see things, there’s not much point in going.” And now, relax and indulge in what you’ve rightfully earned.