Traveling expands your horizons, allowing you to become immersed in different cultures, savor new cuisines, cultivate friendships, and deepen your relationship with your travel companions; you might even pick up a few words of a different language.
However, the key to a stress-free travel experience lies in careful pre-travel preparation and planning. As the upcoming holiday season approaches, you may find yourself traveling to reunite with family and friends or embarking on a vacation to parts unknown. To ensure your trip is filled with positive moments, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the essential dos and don’ts of senior travel.
Do: Plan Ahead
Whether it’s the destination, duration, transportation, or lodgings, it’s crucial to plan ahead. Wise travelers track flight and hotel prices, with many booking 10 or more months ahead of their trip. This means during the summer you might want to begin booking your winter holiday vacation and vice versa. Preplanning not only allows you to get a better price because you booked early, it will also allow you to create an effective itinerary that makes the most of every vacation day.
Research must-see landmarks, must-do activities, and must-eat foods for your vacation destination. This doesn’t mean you have to visit all the tourist attractions, but you also don’t want to miss iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, especially when vacationing in a renowned destination like Paris for the very first time. Planning in advance allows you to determine less crowded times for visiting a popular attraction. This is a great way to save time and energy.
Be sure to take note of operating hours and open days so you don’t accidentally visit when the venue is closed for the holiday season. Also, consider hotel proximity and transportation options to ensure you’re not traveling excessive distances from point A to point B. This will help you arrange for closer accommodations to prevent exhaustion at the end of the day.
Do: Prioritize Health and Wellness
When traveling during the winter, it’s crucial to practice good hygiene habits and prioritize your health. This will help you avoid getting sick before or during your trip. Here’s how to set yourself up for a healthy holiday travel experience.
Before Your Trip
- Make an Appointment With Your Physician. During this appointment, discuss your travel plans with your physician. He or she may perform a checkup and advise on necessary precautions such as shots, vaccinations, taking medications, getting refills, and avoiding certain foods in a new locale.
- Set Medication Reminders on Your Phone. If you haven’t already, schedule medication reminders on your mobile phone’s calendar app. When crossing time zones, your phone should automatically adjust to the local time, so be sure that you have accounted for this when setting your reminders.
- Pack Medications in a Carry-On Bag. This will ensure you have your medications on hand at all times, especially in the unfortunate event your luggage is delayed or lost.
During Your Trip
- Carry Your Medications With You. Transfer your medications to a smaller bag like a purse or backpack. This will guarantee you have them wherever you are.
- Be Consistent With Taking Medications. Time changes and travel fatigue can wreak havoc on our medication schedules. Ensure that you continue to take yours consistently when you arrive.
- Wash Your Hands Frequently. The best way to avoid getting sick on a trip is to practice good hygiene. This includes washing your hands with soap and warm water. Be sure your hands are clean before eating or touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.
- Stay Hydrated and Get Lots of Sleep. Properly hydrating your body can help you stay active and ready for adventure around the corner. Also, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep so your body is well rested after a full day of adventure.
Do: Pack Smartly
Utilize every inch of your luggage to make sure what you want to bring fits in fewer suitcases. Try to limit the number of outfits you pack. Focus instead on bringing versatile accessories that can transform your look from day to day. The less you pack the less you have to carry during transit transfers.
Do: Be Aware of Safety Concerns
Whether you’re traveling internationally or locally, prioritize your safety. Research your destination beforehand, to be aware of unsafe areas or regions prone to thieving and mugging. Check the United States Travel Advisories to find up-to-date information on countries experiencing political instability, civil unrest, or increased criminal activity. For added caution, U.S. citizens or nationals can register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and be easily contacted in case of emergency. You can also ask your travel agent for advice or consult friends who have previously visited your vacation destination.
Packing light will help you travel in ease, especially if you are far from your hotel and or navigating multiple cities in a day. Dragging big, heavy suitcases or backpacks in crowded areas or while rushing to catch a last-minute train can be exhausting and can make you vulnerable to pickpocketing or experiencing an injury. Choose comfort and convenience instead of opting to overpack.
Don’t: Ignore Health Concerns
If you are experiencing current health conditions that can affect your ability to travel, consult your physician as soon as possible. They can advise if it’s a good idea to travel or if you should postpone to a later date. Also ensure that you know where the nearest medical facility is at your destination in case there is an emergency.
For those who meticulously plan every moment of their itinerary, remember that it’s perfectly fine to schedule breaks and take things at a slower pace. Instead of rushing to another museum, leisurely stroll through a local neighborhood admiring the holiday decorations, talking to locals, and enjoying a rich cup of coffee and flaky pastry at a nearby cafe. Adventure can still be experienced when you slow down and appreciate the moment.
Don’t: Forget to Have Fun!
Now that you’ve planned and packed for your trip, it’s time to let loose and have fun. If you’re traveling with grandchildren, it’s a great opportunity to have one-on-one time with them; see the world from their point of view. If you’re traveling with your friends, you can also take time to do things you don’t get to do on a regular basis together. Even if you don’t stick to the pre-planned itinerary, you can still go with the flow to have fun!
Discover Your Next Adventure at Beacon Hill
It’s easy to travel when you live at Beacon Hill. Community living enables you to enjoy all of your adventures with added peace of mind. There’s no need to have someone check on your home while you’re gone. Just let the front desk know your plans and enjoy a worry-free vacation.
If you’re eager to embark on adventures with a group of like-minded individuals, consider moving to a senior living community like Beacon Hill, where you will find plenty of neighbors who share your passion for travel. To learn more about the Beacon Hill lifestyle, contact us.