Travel Safely as a Senior

We are going to hold off on making this purely an “age of Coronavirus” post. We are certainly in that age and it is meaningful, however, we aren’t writing *just* about that and instead looking to show smart ways to travel as a senior or if you are leaving a senior at home, whether during a pandemic or not.

Senior Safe Travel

To steal a little bit from whitewater kayaking: pretend you are worse than you are and prepare for worse than it’s going to be. To translate a little bit: even if you are the best kayaker in the world, you still need to plan for things going wrong and trying to be more safe than is necessary. This can be approaches to rapids or wearing more safety gear.

How this analogy applies is that it is common for people as they age to believe they aren’t as old as they are, that their cognitive functions and reaction times are still sharp, and that they can still see and hear as good as they could 40 years ago. Translation: I’m not old!

The problem that follows is in not preparing for trips and situations as if you aren’t as sharp as a 35-year-old often leads to very avoidable situations, such as getting lost, eating foods that make you sick, getting robbed, and getting into accidents. If you are 70, but prepare like you are 80, you’ll avoid so so many avoidable things.

The first thing we would recommend is some kind of medical alert device or wristband/pendant/watch/etc. You do not need to wear it where everyone can see if, if you find this to be embarrassing, but it is so critical to have one with you. Just like car insurance or AAA roadside assistance, you only want to have it if something goes wrong.

If you aren’t familiar with these products–and there are a lot of them on the market with variable pricing–and it can be hard to make heads or tails of this. One this page you are able to compare medical alert pendants side by side, and it’s a pretty good starting point to get familiar with all of the alert companies, their pricing, and their amenities.

Next, set up your smart phone to do all the things you need it to while on vacation. This will require a lot more effort if you are traveling outside of the country. If you need help, ask a young adult.

Essentially, you’ll want to program the addresses of every place you are staying or planning on visiting. Have all the applications that make sense for your trip, and use them several times before your trip so that you are comfortable.

If you have an iphone, use the Notes application to store your entire itinerary, including you lodging, air travel, etc. This application will always work, even if you don’t have cell or wifi service. You can show it to anyone to help you find your way.

Then share this itinerary with your family or close friends. If you happen to get lost or lose your phone, they know exactly where you are supposed to be and where you are headed. Then if you do lose your phone, you just need to get to a phone store and a new phone is ready with all the stuff from your old phone.

Group Travel

As you age, group travel becomes more and more necessary. It adds a level of security and safety and certainty. We don’t really have a dog in this fight, but here are 15 group travel companies that might be offering a trip you are interested in.

There are so many options these days that you likely won’t need to sacrifice you preferred way and modes of travel to fit into a group. There are many that stay for long periods of time in places, others that hit tons of spots, luxury, value, arts, metros, country, historical, etc. Find your dream.

Shoes

Silly as it might sound, as you age you need different shoes to help you both with balance and with planting. Harvard Medical School has an excellent, must-read piece on why you need to have age-appropriate shoes, especially when you travel, to avoid falling unecessarily. If you can at least remove your shoes as the potential problem, you can eliminate most of the reasons for falling. Falling can be so difficult on an aging body, even when you fall at home or in familiar surroundings. If you fall when in another city or country–especially where they speak a different language–it can be very scary. Make the choice to remove this problem area and increase your safety as you travel.


Gerald Taylor

I am a lifelong explorer and travel enthusiast. I've never been a certified travel agent, but I have multiple family members who were. I'm not necessarily plugged in to the latest travel vendors and exclusive packages, and I've never cared for the label "life coach," but I do think I have some wisdom to offer about how people can get the most of your their vacation time.

    • Volcanos and Penguins and Wine Oh My
      The 28 or so hours traveling here has proven to be more than worth itWhile the flight from Houston to Santiago was overnight and in the dark the three hours from Santiago to Punta Arenas were spent winging over the Andes. Amazing is a word overused i
    • The World Famous Tournament of Roses Parade
      No Rose Parade this year. But I have great memories. My only remaining wish or should I say dream is for my Cal Golden Bears to actually play in the Rose Bowl game on January 1. I last went to the famous Rose Parade when I was a kid 1959 to be exact
    • There's always a party in Laos
      Several days before leaving Vang Vieng we rose to find Roger Dave and Grandma behaving most peculiarly. The pups were lolling in the shade with heavy lids over bloodshot eyes they had no interest in ongoing events and were seemingly unableuninclined t
    • Namibia Day 8 Sossusvlei Deadvlei Sesriem Canyon
      We woke up nice and early to head out to the last big adventure and the one I was most looking forward to Sossusvlei We had a good breakfast on the terrace overlooking the desert with the owners feeding the local squirrels and birds and other such lucky
    • An extraordinary journey to....our HOMES
      No matter how much darkness life brings fight because darkness cant exist without lights. As long as were alive and trying well get through this hell.Jessica E. Larsen.Here we are on the cusp of ending another year and
    • A Cure for 2020 Going up in Flames
      Two things brought me back to Orlando for the third time in the past year the color pink and the chance to see whats been called Americas Team in person. On top of that I got to try some offbrand KFC that punished my body the next day so t
    • Trinidad History Museum Trinidad Colorado USA
      It was in the summer of 2016 when I visited the Trinidad History Museum and received a great tour. I got entry and a full tour of the Baca House and the Bloom Mansion for free. Now they have a small entry fee. I started with the main museum with the exhi