An estimated 100 million Americans are expected to travel over the upcoming 2017 holiday season. Senior adults will be among those who will visit family and friends in other places, or perhaps join them on a cruise or at a vacation destination. Whether making the trip alone or with others, seniors may need to plan ahead and take extra measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some tips to help things go smoothly.
Medications and Documentation
Remember to bring all medications and insurance cards. Refill prescriptions before traveling, and carry medications in their original containers in a carry-on or easily accessible bag. Please be aware that some foreign countries do not allow certain medications even if they are prescribed please review the website https://travel.state.gov for details. Take medication for a few extra days, in case there is a delay in returning home. Carry Medicare and insurance cards in a safe place. Photocopies are good to have, in case the originals are lost or stolen.
If booking a costly cruise or international itinerary, consider purchasing travel insurance. If illness or injury forces trip cancellation, pre-paid, non-refundable expenses can be reimbursed. Trip Interruption Insurance covers travelers who have to return home early. Medical Expense Coverage will cover injuries and emergency medical care when traveling abroad. Medicare and most US health insurance does not provide coverage in other countries. Emergency Evacuation Coverage will pay for expenses associated with air medical transport flights or medical flight escorts on commercial carriers.
Request airport assistance when flying, if needed. Pre-arrange special services such as a wheelchair when making flight reservations. TSA has special policies to help accommodate seniors. Those in wheelchairs can be screened without having to stand. Seniors age 75 and older don’t have to remove shoes. Request boarding assistance from the airline, when necessary. Travelers needing special help can board earlier than other passengers.
Plan ahead and travel at off-peak times to avoid heavy traffic. Book direct flights whenever possible. Layovers and flight changes can be hectic and stressful. Make sure enough time is allotted to reach the next gate. Don’t overpack. A lightweight bag is much easier to manage. Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination rested and relaxed.