You’ve been planning your retirement dream trip for years. Now that those years of grinding at the office are behind you, you are ready to explore those places you’ve been saving for. While traveling is for all ages, the mature traveler might want to consider a few things before booking their ticket to Bora Bora. My 76-year old mom just booked her third trip to Costa Rica. Here are a few of her recommendations.
Retirement is an exciting time to plan a special trip. When planning a trip make sure you take into consideration your health concerns. Don’t take chances with your medication and plan for every contingency.
- Make sure your health insurance is up to date, and you have the appropriate coverage. Make a note of any insurance phone numbers you might need in an emergency. Ask an agent to walk you through the process, just in case.
- Purchase supplemental travelers insurance to fill in the gaps.
- Make a list of your prescriptions and take an extra week’s supply.
- Take a copy of your prescriptions and a letter from your doctor explaining the need for the medication.
- Make a list of emergency contacts, including your doctor’s contact information.
- Remember to adjust your meds to your new time zone. If you usually take your meds at noon and your new time zone is +5, you will have to adjust your med time to 5 pm.
- Pack silica packets in your medicine if you are going to a humid country.
- Don’t forget allergy medicines.
- Make sure you have enough inhalers if you are asthmatic.
- Check to see if you will need any immunizations.
- Make sure to bring along a sufficient number of personal care products to cover your stay. It may not be so easy to pick items up in a foreign country.
- If you have to buy over the counter medications, try to stick to the brands you know. (Check the expiration dates.)
- Pack antibacterial wipes in your carry on. Planes are very germy places.
- If you are prone to motion sickness bring Seabands, motion sick tablets, and ginger gum. All of these will help you combat the queaziness of travel.
Beating Jet Lag
Traveling can wear you out. Get a jump on your jet lag by considering the following.
- If you are concerned about jet lag, consider slow travel. Take a cruise or travel someplace in the same time zone. Remember going West causes less jet lag than traveling East. Book later flight if you are traveling West and an earlier flight if you are traveling East.
- When traveling, skip the alcohol, coffee, and sodas on the flights. They might be tempting, but water is the only beverage that will help minimize jet lag.
- Eat light and bring your own snacks. The sodium in your complimentary peanut and pretzel packs will cause your feet and fingers to swell.
- Wear warm, comfortable layers. Planes are chilly and drafty. If you are planning an extended flight bring a neck pillow for your comfort.
- The air will be dry on the plane so don’t forget to bring moisturizer and chapstick.
- Stand and stretch from time to time on your flight. Sitting for long periods can cause blot clots.
- If flying causes you motion sickness, don’t read on the plane. Try sitting over the wings.
Nearly half of all travelers experience tummy troubles at least once on a trip. Don’t let a few bad bites ruin your trip. Here are some guidelines on what to indulge in and what to avoid on your trip. With a little consideration, you can avoid the woes of tummy troubles.
- Avoid raw meat, shellfish, and vegetables. They put you at risk for infectious bacteria. So do raw eggs, fresh milk, and cheeses.
- Avoid ice cubes made from tap water.
- Avoid street vendor food unless you have a cast iron stomach.
- Avoid any food or sauces that have been sitting in the sun.
- Avoid lukewarm buffets. Make sure the food is piping hot.
So what can you eat?
- You can eat anything boiled.
- You can eat anything steaming hot.
- You can drink bottled beverages.
- You can eat bread and tortillas.
- You can eat any fruit or vegetable you have to peel.
- You can eat well done cooked meats and seafood as long as they are hot.
- You can eat boiled eggs
- You can eat pasteurized and refrigerated dairy.
- You can drink hot tea or coffee.
- Just to be on the safe side, wipe off your eating utensils before you eat. The cleaning water is not always safe.
- Use bottled water to brush your teeth.
- Pack water purification tablets.
- Pack Pepto-Bismol or Imodium-AD.
- If you do get hit an upset stomach, drink a glass of fruit juice with a pinch of salt and blob of honey to replace lost electrolytes.
Don’t Sizzle in the Sun
We all know the dangers of skin cancer. Protect yourself as you enjoy those glorious sunny days by following these reminders. UV rays reflect off certain surfaces, such as surfaces like water, sand, snow, and even concrete.
- Wear a hat to protect your scalp, nose, and ears.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Wear sunscreen and often reapply, even on overcast days. (Don’t forget the tops of your feet if you wear sandals.)
- Remember some prescription drugs may make your skin more sensitive, choose the right SPF.
- If you are prone to heat stroke, plan your activities for the mornings and evenings.
- Stay hydrated, replace the electrolytes you are losing. Save the cocktails for the evening.
- Wear light-colored breathable, quick-dry clothing.
Not only are many essential oils antifungal and antibacterial, but they are also convenient for warding off those pesky bugs. Essential oils are useful for repelling fleas, lice, bedbugs, chiggers, mosquitos, and spiders.
- Bring peppermint and lavender essential oils, combine them with your lotions, or dab a couple of drops on exposed areas.
- Put a couple of drops of essential oil on cotton balls and tuck them in your luggage to keep crawlies out.
- Stinging insects, like wasps and hornets, love sweet drinks and food. Make sure to look before you take a drink if you are outdoors.
- Avoid scented perfume, cologne or hairspray; bugs are attracted to them.
- If you are traveling to an area where you are at risk for malaria, talk to your doctor about chloroquine.
- If you are in an area that is tick prone, don’t forget to check your body, head, and clothes for them after an outing.
- Take some cash, but not a lot of cash and don’t keep it all in one stash. You don’t want a pickpocket to be able to steal all of your money in one swipe.
- Check with your bank about foreign transaction fees for foreign currency.
- Limit trips to the ATM. The fewer times you go, the fewer times you put yourself at risk for skimming machines and dubious lurkers.
- Credit cards are a great way to pay for services and goods. Credit cards are usually protected in the event they are stolen. You can also earn rewards if your card is set up that way. If you take two credit cards, don’t keep them both in the same place. If one is stolen, you will have the other as back up.
- Traveler’s checks are not as widely accepted as they once were. Check with your bank to see what options are best.
- What additional tips do you have for seniors? If you are interested in more traveling tips, check here.