There are some particulars about senior travel that people over 50 should keep in mind. The urge to travel may be heightened by the fact that you’re either in retirement or not far from meeting that life milestone. However, travel is a much different ball of wax from the days when you hurriedly packed a duffle bag and set off, maybe without a particular destination in mind. The major difference here is one of strength and stamina. Whether we want to admit it or not, we just can’t do all the things we did as young adults.
First, let’s be honest. Are we really up for spending nights in a sleeping bag on a wooden floor? Maybe we could do it for a while, but let’s not kid ourselves that we would like it. Would we really feel safe and comfortable about having only the pocket change we have on our person? Would we actually survive on ramen noodles and what food we could scrounge up from street venders? Can we even remember the days when there were no ATMs or internet calling available? Get the point? We want to travel, but we are at a stage in our lives when a certain amount of creature comfort and security are at least minimally necessary. Very likely, those needs involve putting aside enough money for airline seats above economy class where today they have crammed so many seats into the plane that you find no room for your knees.
Next, luggage and documents are a larger problem for seniors than they used to be when we were young. Keep luggage to a bare minimum. Before checking your luggage at the ticket counter and after retrieving the same at the arrival point baggage claim, struggling with a lot of bags can be a major problem. What’s more, airports the world over a rife with ne’er-do-wells who don’t see older people in such struggles…they see bags and purse snatching opportunity. If at all possible, pre-arrange a lift to the hotel you’ve selected in a hotel shuttle. As for your documents (passport, tickets, reservation forms), a front pants or skirt pocket is about a safe as possible. Don’t even consider the old fanny pack. That just screams “take me!”
Finally, let’s consider what we pack. When loading your suitcase if you even think “I might need this” put it back in the closet. Only pack things that you will definitely need. A good rule is three full changes of garments—1 to wear, 1 in reserve, and 1 in the laundry. No matter if you’re a billionaire, packing sensibly is the thing to do. With today’s fabrics, you can take along things that can be rolled up rather than folded. This process conserves space in your luggage as well and doesn’t wrinkle the clothes.
Experienced travelers will tell you that the above tips will make your senior travel easier and much more enjoyable.