Important Travel Tips for Seniors

Although all travelers should plan carefully to ensure health and safety, older loved ones have a few extra concerns to consider.

Pre-Trip Preparations

  • It’s a good idea to consult with your travel agent for suggestions – many tour operators specialize in accommodating the needs of elderly loved ones and traveling seniors.
  • Take time before your trip to research local medical facilities in the areas you’ll be visiting.
  • This is applicable to anyone going on a trip – take time to research factors such as culture, language, and climate. Purchase a guide book and read it before you go.
  • Organize any equipment or special accommodations you will need beforehand, including seating needs, wheelchairs, and guide dogs.
  • Should you have significant health concerns, it’s best to arrange to go on a package tour.

Consider a Pre-Trip Medical Check-Up

  • This is particularly necessary for seniors who have pre-existing health issues. We recommend consulting with your doctor for a complete medical check-up before departing on your trip. This is especially important if you have hypertension, coronary heart disease, or have recently suffered a heart attack or undergone surgery.
  • Be sure to discus any particular health concerns you may have, including dietary changes (and how different eating habits may affect your condition).
  • Should you have diabetes, you’ll want to discuss safely staggering medications to fit a different time zone with your healthcare professional.
  • Make sure you are up to date on all current vaccinations, including pneumonia and flu shots.
  • If you are intending to travel to areas where infectious diseases are present, ensure you are fully vaccinated.
  • Visit any other healthcare providers you consult with regularly, including optometrists and dentists.

Medications & Traveling

It’s critical that older individuals plan and travel carefully, taking account for any pre-existing medical conditions to ensure they are well managed. Here are a few specific suggestions that are related to medicine.

  • Make sure you bring enough medication with you to last the entire trip –many drugs are not available overseas.
  • Bring a written and signed note from your doctor that details your prescriptions and the medicines you are bringing with you.
  • Should you purchase medicine overseas, the dosages may be different than the brands you are familiar with.
  • We recommend bringing enough syringes to last the length of your trip.
  • If you plan on traveling overseas, obtain and wear a medical alert bracelet or some form of identification that contains medical details of your condition should you need urgent help.

Packing and Luggage

  • We recommend using a suitcase with wheels, it’s easier to handle.
  • Pack a spare pair of glasses.
  • Pack a pillbox with different compartments for different days of the week – being away from home may disrupt your usual routine and you want to avid forgetting to take medicine.
  • Pack a medical carry on kit of necessary – these items should include your regular medications, painkillers, band-aids, and antacids, whatever else required.

Extra TLC for Seniors on Vacations

  • If possible, plan another day or two to recover from jet lag.
  • Be sure to drink bottled water only.
  • Avoid seafood, undercooked meats, peeled raw fruits and vegetables, food buffets, unpasteurized dairy products, and street vendor meals.
  • If the weather is hot, anticipate many rest breaks and avoid following a jam-packed itinerary.
  • Be aware that senior cards and identification may not just provide benefits within your own home state—sharing these cards at attractions and museums may get you a discount or cheaper entry.

Additional Safety Suggestions

  • Be mindful that many pickpockets and thieves consider older people easier targets. To avoid trouble avoid traveling at night.
  • Do not wear or display valuable jewelry.
  • Credit cards, traveler’s cheques and other valuable items should be worn under clothes, on a belt, or next to the skin.
  • Consider carrying a fake or “dummy” wallet containing a small amount of cash. Should you be confronted by a mugger, hand over the dummy.

We hope you find those travel tips helpful – please browse our other senior care articles and resources and be sure to share with friends and family. From Better Health for Women, we wish you safe and happy travels.