That said, you know a few things change as you age, among them agility. Cons see you as an easy target, and you can’t stay in those nasty backpacker places that hipsters love. Comfort takes first place. Still, physical limits have solutions, and we have some here sourced from the best: two senior expert travelers who have seen it all.
So, how can you stay safe while having fun on the road?
1. Travel Insurance Is Mandatory
Younger travelers can take chances with this, but you cannot. Being older, you are probably on medication, and you would hate to be stuck in a foreign country without it. Insurance will not only cover you for illnesses and possible emergency evacuation (should you need it), but it will also take care of canceled flights if something deters you from traveling as planned.
2. Guard Your Meds
If you are on any medication, you want to guard it the same way you would your travels documents. When packing, you want to have the medication in a hand luggage for easy retrieval. We recommend that you also check the generic name of brand-name medication and possibly find out which places you can get it at your travel destination. That way, you are assured of finding an alternative prescription if something happened to the pack you are carrying.
3. Vigilance Is Key
Thieves make out senior travelers, and they target them anywhere, including inside a hotel. You want to avoid being a target by not leaving clues of when you are out of the hotel. Hanging the ‘clean my room’ tag on your door lets anyone know that you are out giving them enough guts and time to make their way on and probably steal your valuables.
Since the room has to be cleaned, anyway, you could leave a message at the front desk before you set out. Also, remember to lock all your relevant documents, medication, jewelry, and money in the hotel’s safe.
4. Share Your Itinerary
If you are a solo senior traveler, let others know where you will be. You might want to have the number of the manager at the hotel you are staying as an immediate contact or any other person that could quickly come to your aid if anything happened. Of course, you will loop them in so that they know they are your next of kin during the period you stay with them.
5. Watch Your Diet
Travel does this amazing thing! It exposes your palate to all cuisines. As much as you want to try that Penang’s asam laksa in Malaysia or Burmese biryani, your sensitive tummy may not be up to it, and so you want to take things slow. That doesn’t mean you should stay away from varieties of cuisines (food makes travel more adventurous), but you should introduce new foods slowly to see how your body reacts to it.
Also, bear in mind that some types of food may interact negatively with your medication. You could Google the cuisine of your travel destination and get clearance from your doctor before you leave home.
6. Do Not Be Showy
Life has been good, and you have worked hard for that gold-studded watch that you treasure so much or that high-end Canon that you bought specifically for travel. Still, you want to keep the nice things at a minimum to avoid attracting a keen pick-pocket. If you are staying in a high-end beach resort for the entire trip, you can wear as much bling as you like because you are not exposed to thieves, but you will be a target (thanks to your age too) when you move from one part of the country to another.
7. Comfort Is Much Better
The older you get, the more comfort becomes more important than the latest fashion trends. Moving from one place to another leaves you spent, and so you want to wear the most comfortable clothes and shoes for those kinds of trips. Save the fancy heels for dinners and other social events back home, and buy yourself a pair or four of flat shoes for the road.
The same goes for clothes and jewelry. You don’t want to be the older guy struggling with heavy bags through the airport or on their back all day, so pack wisely. Utilize the laundry services in your hotel so that you don’t have to bring too many clothes. You can afford it.
8. Take A Break
Gone are those days when you could roam the entire Europe in a month! It’s good to slow down and take it all in. Take Africa, for example. There are too many things to do on safari, and so many different cultures to appreciate that you can’t allocate a month to 5 different countries.
Younger travelers move from one country to another just to mark them off their travel list, but you know better at your age. Being to a country means immersing yourself into the lives of the locals and truly appreciating their culture. So, stay a little longer in Liberia and kick the ball with kids there, then light a bonfire in Samburu with the locals and listen to their traditional folklore. Your soul will be much richer when you leave.
9. Give Back
Not necessarily handing out money, but you could promote local traders by buying those nice souvenirs for your grandkids. Anyway, how else are you going to convince them that you were in some parts of Africa if you didn’t bring back those animal carvings that are so unique to the continent? Local communities make most of these items, and the money you spend could go towards educating the next generation scientist or athlete. More food for the soul!