One of the benefits of being retired is the ability to get up and go anytime you want. This flexibility can be a real asset when planning a vacation. You can avoid summer crowds and heat, everywhere from a local destination to Yellowstone National Park to Europe – while saving some money by traveling at off-peak times of the year.
Fall is a great time to travel to most places around the world. You’ll still likely have good weather without the hordes of people that can sometimes ruin a visit to a beloved tourist destination. And, many hotels and other tourist-centric companies offer lower rates during these seasons.
Here are some other travel tips to make your vacation more enjoyable:
Pack light. Nothing ruins the freedom of traveling faster than being burdened by too much luggage. Most travelers realize that can get away with less “stuff” while traveling and, if they’ve forgotten something, they can usually buy it at their destination. A good rule of thumb is to make a list of everything you think you’ll need and then cut it in half. Remember that part of the fun of vacations is shopping and buying things you can’t find “just anywhere.” So if you suddenly need a special outfit, go out and buy it!
Fly right. If you’re flying, consider checking all your luggage, except for essentials you’ll need on the flight. This way, you don’t have to hassle with overhead compartments and lifting heaving luggage into a tight, cramped space. Also, book an aisle seat. Too little legroom can be particularly problematic for seniors, and an aisle seat allows you to get up and move or go to the restroom more easily.
Fill your prescriptions. Make sure you’ve got enough of your prescription medications to last you through the duration of your trip – and a little extra in case you get delayed on the way home. Getting a prescription filled at an out-of-town – or out-of-country – pharmacy can be more of a headache than you want on your vacation. Leave your medications in their original containers to avoid any questions or potential delays from Customs agents. If you wear eyeglasses, take an extra pair. If your glasses get lost or broken, you want to be able to actually see the things you made such an effort to visit!
Claim your age! Many services and attractions offer discounts to seniors – sometimes all it takes is showing your driver’s license. If you have an AARP card, take that as well. Always ask businesses if they offer a senior discount even if you don’t see anything posted. Not everybody advertises offered discounts, and you may be able to reap the rewards.
Consider buying travel insurance. While this makes sense for almost any traveler, seniors have even more reason to benefit. Travel insurance can cover everything from trip cancellations and delays to medical coverage. For instance, if Medicare is your only insurance coverage and you’re traveling outside the U.S., you won’t be covered for any medical expenses, with rare exception. If you get sick or become injured abroad, travel insurance can help pay for these expenses. Because travel insurance comes in varying levels, be sure and research your options carefully.