Tips for Savvy International Senior Travel
The retirement years and beyond seem to be made for traveling. You have more free time and fewer responsibilities at home. Many seniors continue to cross international destinations off their bucket lists. Here are a few tips to help you get a head start on your overseas adventure.
Planning your trip
If you’re retired and have flexibility when it comes to the time of year that you travel, try to schedule your trip in the months from April through mid-June, which is also known as the “shoulder season.” You’ll avoid sweltering summer heat and jostling crowds of tourists. Most travel experts say you should try to purchase airplane tickets in the middle of the week when fares tend to be lower. You’ll also get the best deals when you buy airfare one to three months before your planned departure date.
Nabbing a Great Hotel
If you need accessible hotel accommodation for a wheelchair, book your hotel as early as you possibly can because those types of rooms sell out quickly. Travel writer Rick Steves says that if you’re looking to travel in Europe during the summer, you should reserve your accessible hotel room as early as December.
If you don’t need a wheelchair accessible room, remember that you can request a ground-floor room in your hotel so that you don’t have to deal with stairs if you’d rather not. If stairs are a problem for you, check out your hotel to find out whether it has an elevator or if it’s located on top of a steep hill that will be difficult to navigate.
Check with your health insurance provider to find out if you’ll be covered overseas. You may need to purchase special travel insurance; it’s well worth the cost to know that you’ll be taken care of you experience a health emergency when you’re in another country. Unfortunately, Medicare isn’t accepted outside of the United States apart from in a few very limited situations.
Take the full supply of your medications with you and be sure to carry them in their original packaging, in other words, don’t just count out two-week’s worth and stow them in a zip-lock bag. Airline personnel don’t like to see unidentified medication coming through security. If possible, bring a copy of your prescription in case you’re asked to show it by airport personnel. Put an extra pair of eyeglasses in your carry-on luggage, and if you wear a hearing aid, bring along extra batteries. It might prove difficult to find the type of battery you need when you’re outside of the US.
Savings for Seniors
Just like in the United States, you may be eligible for senior citizen discounts when you’re abroad. It never hurts to ask if there’s a discount available. Keep in mind that in some places, special discounts only apply to that country’s citizens. People who are over 60 can save on the cost of local rail travel in most countries when you purchase a senior card.
Seeing the Sights without Running Out of Steam
Sightseeing is exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting for people of any age. Traveling by subway and city bus can often involve navigating lots of steps. Plan to make it easier on yourself by taking taxis or renting a car. Bus tours can be a relaxing way to see a city while getting off your feet for an hour or two. Sightseeing in a museum takes a lot of legwork, so take advantage of the benches you’ll find throughout and soak up the art while you take a break. Or consider taking a boat tour to see the sights from the water. You might also want to check out the many travel tours that are catered especially for seniors. These tend to be more relaxed than other tours that are all go-go-go.
Some road-warrior seniors say that travel is their fountain of youth. It’s never too late to get out there to explore new places or revisit those favorite, faraway locales where memories were made.