Senior Citizen Travel

Senior citizens now spend 20% of their lives in retirement as opposed to only 3% a few decades ago. With this added time, the need to get out and see what the rest of the world is doing becomes a reality for them. Because of issues with mobility and other considerations that might include availability of medications or health care in a foreign country, it is important to take a good look at every aspect of senior travel. Having limitations does not mean that you need to stay home and never see the other wonders of the world. In this article we will discuss senior travel - the considerations, issues and what seniors need to know when visiting a foreign land.

What Travel Involves

Surveys show that when seniors travel, they tend to shop intensively. Although this is fine, there is a big letdown when your time is up and you haven't seen the Taj Mahal. Always take the time to explore the culture and the lifestyle and the surrounding country side. Local customs and many other wonderful things can sometimes be off the beaten path, and you don't want to miss this. After all, why travel just to shop when you can do enough of that at home? One of the best tips for seniors traveling is to be patient and keep an open mind. This will open many new vistas for you.

Practical Considerations

Always be sure to take comfortable clothing with you when you go. You need to also be aware of the climate where you are going. It makes little sense to take heavy sweaters and pants to a country such as India or Australia, where the weather is hot and humid. Your travel agent can be a big help here. Never carry credit cards when traveling, but instead rely on traveler's checks. This is important in many countries where pickpockets abound. And believe me, there are a lot of them! A lot of cash is not a good thing to carry either. Be sure to take extra things to replace what might be lost or broken, such as eye glasses, contact lenses and enough medications to last the entire trip. Authorities on the subject say to take twice the amount of money that you had planned on taking. This is probably good advice. Before you leave, be sure to have in place someone to watch over your home and pets, if you have any. There are house-sitting services available that are very reputable.

Some Other Things

It is a good idea to exercise more in the weeks preceding your trip. The best way to see any country is by walking, and if your legs are not up to it, then it ruins the whole vacation. Take along your digital camera, but be sure to have a memory card in it that will hold a lot of pictures. Most OEM cards are only good for 15-20 pictures, and a good memory card can be had for around $39.00. This will give you enough memory to take over 250 pictures.

Another good idea is to have least two emergency phone numbers with you in case something happens. Although you may be interested in the local cuisine, be sure to follow any dietary restrictions you may have. Being sick while overseas is no fun. If possible, try to have another couple go with you. This not only saves money, but gives you the opportunity to share fun and sights with old friends.

Setting Up The Tour

Always use a reputable travel agent when you plan your vacation. A lot of horror stories are told about people who have taken a fly by night travel agent's advice and ended up in a world of trouble in some foreign land. There are a lot of travel agents that have an online presence, and you can usually get very good deals in the process. Just be sure you know what they are really offering, and read all the fine print when utilizing this service. A good bet is to ask others who have used these online services, and ask which ones they recommend.

Because so many seniors are traveling now, it is a good idea to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Be cautious when arranging a tour, and never jump at the first offer that comes your way. It is a very good idea to research the culture of the country you are going to so as to not insult a local custom or taboo. Each country is unique, and it is your responsibility to know as much as you can about it. Plan well, follow these simple tips, and your next vacation will be a happy and fun time for you.

Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to He writes on a variety of subjects, and excels in research.