All travel requires some level of planning, but for seniors taking to the road or sky this summer, a little extra planning can go a long way toward ensuring an enjoyable vacation. Before embarking on your next adventure, consider these tips to make certain you have all your bases covered, from health to happenstance.
1. Keep your health in check: Make sure your doctor checks pre-existing medical conditions before you take extended travels and carefully manage conditions throughout your vacation. Also, pack more than enough of your medications to last the trip, including any delays, and keep them in the original prescription bottles labeled with your name.
Keep in mind that sitting for extended periods of time, whether you are driving or flying, puts you at risk for developing blood clots in the veins of your legs. Be sure to stand up and walk for a few minutes every hour to minimize your slight chance of getting a blood clot.
Make sure you stay well-hydrated throughout your trip by drinking at least two to three liters of water per day. Staying hydrated during long flights can also minimize chances of getting a blood clot.
2. Lighten your load: Pack light when possible to give your legs and back a break from hauling luggage around town or between flights. If you have to bring a second bag, make it a small one that can easily stack on top of your roller bag.
However, it's wise to pack a backup for some of your most important items. If you're traveling with a family member or friend, make sure you each have a cellphone. Pack a spare pair of glasses if you've been known to misplace them in the past. Bring spare batteries for hearing aids if you think they may be running low.
3. Keep in touch: Whether used to confirm reservations or contact authorities in case of an emergency, a cellphone can be the ultimate travel safety net. Consumer Cellular (www.consumercellular.com), the exclusive wireless provider for AARP members, allows for the use of your home phone in an RV, hotel room or anywhere with access to a cellular signal. The carrier allows you to switch between plans without penalty at any time, so scale your service up or down for that month's bill to meet your travel needs, then resume your standard plan when you return.
4. Act your age: Seniors can often get discounts on attractions, events, meals and more by simply showing a photo ID or AARP membership card. Seek out discounts before you travel and make arrangements accordingly. Also, continue to ask about discounts throughout your vacation -- you may save a few bucks here and there.
5. Leave time for recovery: A vacation should be fun and relaxing, but intensive driving or time zone changes can leave a traveler feeling exhausted. When outlining your trip itinerary, consider that you may need time initially to rest from your travels or recover from jet lag.
Whether you're embarking on a weekend getaway or taking the trip of a lifetime, spend a little extra time to consider the unique requirements you may have specific to your age, health and capabilities. Follow these five simple tips for a smooth, stress-free vacation experience and turn travel into a revitalizing fountain of youth.