Travel Tip Tuesday | Senior Travel Checklist

Travel Smart and Safe Checklist for Seniors

The joy of travel is something that many seniors look forward to. It is “me” or  “our” time because the kids are out of the house and we are retired or considering it. It is the stage of life when we start to think about downsizing and have the extra time and cash to start ticking off destinations on our bucket list. As baby boomers age, it is not surprising that there is an increasing number of older U.S. citizens traveling internationally. Before you head off to board a plane, train, or motor-coach for your vacation, check out these expert tips and recommendations that will help you to travel smart and safely.

Make sure to play it safe when traveling.
Make sure to play it safe when traveling.

1) Be Knowledgeable

Learn about your destination and its unique travel requirements. Tours of Distinction is an excellent resource to keep you in the know with the latest travel information and what the most current requirements and travel documentation are required.

2) Get Required Travel Documents

Make sure your travel documents including your passport are up to date. If you need a visa make sure that you have enough blank pages in your passport for the stamps. Confirm that your passport is valid six months beyond the end of your trip. If your passport does not meet this criterion, apply for a new passport immediately. Most countries will not let you enter if your passport is set to expire in six month or less.

3) Health and Medical Information

Consult with your doctor at least eight weeks prior to traveling internationally to find out if you need any health checks or vaccinations that may be required at your destination. Also, discuss your medication schedule if you are crossing time zones.  Remember that Medicare does not provide coverage overseas, so it is always best to get travel insurance to avoid unnecessary complications. If you have issues, consider purchasing additional health insurance that includes medical evacuation in the event that you need to return to the U.S. 

4) Prescriptions/Medication

Make a list of all prescriptions, over-the-counter medicine, and supplements that you take including the dose, what time you take them and what they are for. This list should include both generic and brand drug names. Knowing the generic name of your medication is important because it may be more recognizable generically in foreign countries. Always travel with medication in its original bottle. Take extra medication in case your itinerary changes and a copy of your prescription in case you lose your medication. Pack your medication in your carry-on so it doesn’t get lost.

5) Getting Around

If you have mobility issues and use a wheelchair find out if attractions, restaurants, hotels, and means of transportation are accessible. A great way to get around this is to use a knowledgable escorted tour company.

6) All About the Money

Notify your bank and credit card company that you will be traveling internationally so they don’t freeze your account because of a foreign transaction. Ask your bank if they have any international baking partners where you can confidently withdraw money. If ATMs are not widely available bring traveler’s checks and no more than two major credit cards. Never bring all your credit cards, especially the local cards you use daily on an international trip. 

7) In Case of Emergency

Leave your itinerary, emergency contact information, and a copy of your passport with a trusted friend or family member. Carry contact information for your family in the U.S. with you along with a copy of your passport. Be sure to pencil in your emergency contact information in the emergency contact section of your passport. Tape your name and address on the inside cover of your suitcase. If you are going to a destination where there is unrest make sure you know the contact information for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

8) Beware of Scams

Never disclose your personal information to someone you don’t know via the internet. Most scammers operate via the internet, email, or phone. Never send money internationally to someone you don’t know. All scams have one end goal and that is a monetary gain for themselves. If someone claims to be in distress overseas refer them to the nearest US consulate or embassy. At the end of the day, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t.

9) Information Sheet or Card

Keep an information card with you and one in your suitcase. This information card should consist of the following information: Name, Passport Number, Emergency Contact Name, Emergency Contact phone, Embassy/consulate phone, and Embassy/consulate address.