Mature Living Special Section: Tips for traveling safe

Published on Thu, May 19, 2011
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 Statistics are proving that 70 really is the new 50. According to the U.S. Travel Association, mature travelers ages 65 or older represented 21 percent of all leisure travelers in 2010.

From taking a trip with their grandchildren across country to living out their dreams in exotic destinations, today’s seniors are choosing to enjoy their golden years traveling.

Staying safe and being prepared when traveling is more important than ever for this age group. Here are some special considerations for senior travelers looking for a hassle-free travel experience.

Pack carefully

When packing for a trip, it’s important to be prepared. Packing a comfortable pair of shoes, a hat and sunglasses to protect  your face, clothing that you can wear in layers and any necessary personal items.

Include multi-purpose items, such as a scarf, which can also be used as a makeshift beach blanket, are always smart to pack and limit the weight of your suitcase.

If you are taking an extended vacation, inquire about laundry options close to where you’ll be staying.

Visit your doctor

As a senior, your health is very important, and no one ever wants to get sick or injured on vacation. Schedule a checkup with your doctor before any major trip to discuss the activities you plan to do, and get written prescriptions for any medications you may need.

Keep your prescriptions in their original containers so that they can be identified properly. If you plan to travel out of the country, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for immunizations.

Get protection

Whether traveling 50 miles or 5,000, prepare for the unexpected by purchasing a membership from a travel and medical assistance company. Insurance options typically available include services such as emergency medical transportation to the hospital of your choice, transportation home, worldwide physician referrals, a 24-hour nurse helpline and emergency travel assistance.

Program benefits often include pre-travel destination and health information, lost-luggage assistance, worldwide legal assistance and even covering the cost of transporting grandchildren or a traveling companion home if you need to stay in the hospital.

Plan carefully

When planning your trip, stay organized and compile any contact information and travel reservations to keep in a folder to ensure you don’t have any problems. You might also include emergency numbers and family contact information in this folder as well.

Whether driving or flying, it’s smart to gather maps ahead of time so you don’t get lost. If you are traveling out of the country, make sure your passport is up to date several months ahead of time, as getting a new passport can take weeks or longer.

With a little planning, seniors can travel without worry and enjoy the best of their golden years exploring the world. For more information about safe travel and medical assistance memberships, visit