Type of Trip
Consider very carefully just how long you can go away. Your health may be a consideration in this factor. Consider also the itineraries involved and the climate.
Always read the details and general information carefully in your trip brochures. Check what activities and costs are included as there may be a lot of optional extras that can be costly. Off-season rates can be a bargain but the weather might not be so good so determine which is more important for you.
There are a range of senior travel companies out there that you can join for your next vacation. Many of these will have people on them that are on their own as the reality is that couples aren’t always able to travel together or they are single, divorced or widowed.
It is wise to have a level of fitness but the choice is also yours to be as relaxed or as active as you please. If a tour indicates there is hiking involved you will find the guides travel at the speed of the group so you are never pushed too far.
If you are considering a package, find out if there is a tour director going with you the whole way, if there are health services available (eg. on cruises), what the accommodation is like, are rooms or buses air conditioned or simply air cooled (an open window) and the cancellation and refund policy. Answers to these questions should help you make an informed choice about the choice of package.
If you are traveling you will need a passport with a validity more than six months and some countries will require a visa. Check with the tour operator or your travel agent for details. Make photocopies of all documents including your airline ticket, driver’s license, credit cards and passport and take one copy and leave another at home.
Make sure you leave your affairs at home in order with an up-to-date will, insurance documents and a power of attorney with your family. That way you will feel secure about traveling and are prepared for any emergency that may occur while you are away. Give your family a copy of your proposed itinerary and any contact numbers so they know where you are. Let them know of any changes to these plans.
If you are concerned about leaving your home unattended put some measures in place to protect it. Get a house sitter, do a home exchange or have someone visit regularly to collect the mail and water the plants.
Always take out travel insurance before you leave on a trip. If you have a particular health condition, you will need emergency helicopter evacuation and other sickness, luggage loss or theft abroad covered.
When you’re at home or work it’s easy to manage your environment to suit your health needs. When you travel it’s different. If you have any back problems make sure you pack light and take a sturdy suitcase with wheels. Avoid lifting the case as much as possible or if you have to, keep it close to your body, bend your knees and don’t twist with it. If you are traveling in a vehicle, stop every hour for a short break to stretch and walk around. This is easy if you are driving the car or on a train or plane where you can get up and stretch. If you’re on a bus you can still stretch your neck, swing your arms or even flex your legs. Always see a doctor before engaging in any travel to check what medications and vaccinations you might need and your fitness for the exercise.
Hotels and sleeping arrangements
Most hotel beds are better than they were a decade ago, although in some parts of the world they can be a bit different to what you are used to. It’s a good idea to bring along the pillow you use at home or a travel sized one. Always ask for ground floor rooms so you don’t have to lug your bags up flights of stairs.