Summer is a great time for travel, and a wonderful time for seniors to see the world. If you are an active senior, now is your time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The kids are grown and gone, you are happily retired and now you really should take time to enjoy yourself.
Whether you are flying across the country to see the grand kids or crossing a long-planned vacation off your bucket list, it is important to travel smart and save money when you can.
Planes are more crowded than ever, so it pays to fly on off-peak hours and days. The crowds are thinnest on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, so buy your tickets accordingly. You can avoid the crowds and save money by flying before breakfast, over the dinner hour or overnight. The tickets are cheaper and there are fewer people traveling – a win/win for any traveler.
If your flight is a long one, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. The coffee and colas served on planes can actually dehydrate you, so pick up a couple extra bottles of water at the airport before you board.
Long flights also present another danger – that of blood clots in the legs and ankles. Deep vein thrombosis is a real problem on long flights, especially transatlantic and transpacific trips where the plane is in the air for six hours or more.
The best way to protect yourself is to get up and move around. Space is limited in the cabin, but you can still walk up and down the aisles and stretch in your seat.
If you take daily medication, you will need to make sure all of your medication is in your purse, pocket or carry-on bag. The airlines work hard to get baggage where it needs to go, but there is always a chance you will arrive at your destination without your luggage. The last thing you want to do is hunt down a pharmacy in a strange city to replace your lost medication.
Be sure to research baggage fees before you leave to avoid unpleasant surprises at the airport. Check the weight of your baggage before you go and make sure it meets the airline’s carry-on limitations.
If you are driving to your destination, try to leave on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. That is when traffic is usually at its lightest, so you will make better time and have less stress. Plan ahead if your trip is a long one. Get a detailed map before you go, and download a good traffic app to your phone. It may be worth going out of your way to avoid construction delays and lengthy detours.
You will want to take advantage of any senior discounts to which you are entitled. Research your destination and local attractions, and always ask for the senior discount. If you are a member of AAA or AARP, you may be entitled to additional discounts that could save you even more money.
Last but not least, it makes sense to protect your trip with travel insurance. Having travel insurance in place can give you peace of mind. You will also want to check with your health insurance provider to make sure you are covered at your destination. If not, you can buy short-term insurance to protect you while on the road.
Health insurance is an important consideration if you will be traveling overseas, especially to a third-world location. Be sure to call your insurer well ahead of time to make sure you are covered for overseas travel. Not all policies provide such coverage.
Spending your retirement traveling and seeing the world can be very rewarding. As a senior, you have time to travel, and time to plan ahead and get the best prices. With a few common-sense safety tips, you can enjoy your travel adventures and have lots of fun with visiting your family and friends, and making new ones as you go.