Senior citizens can get a lot of good deals and discounts on just about everything from transport to entry into famous attractions. Some airlines even offer a concession on seats, so make sure that you ask when making your booking. Whether or not they look their age, most places will ask to see identification in order to process a discount, so don’t forget to take something with you as proof of age and status. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a lot of great deals!
Travel insurance is a major issue to bear in mind when travelling with older friends or family members. Premiums for elderly travellers, even if they are in good health, are higher than ever, and if the person concerned has a serious health concern, such as heart disease or diabetes, it may be that they are refused cover for travel insurance completely. You need to know about this when planning your holiday, so find out about travel insurance as early as possible.
Elderly travellers will need to be much more careful than you would be when it comes to eating and drinking in a foreign country. The older we get, the weaker our immune systems and kidneys become, and your older companions will find it harder to fight off infections. Stomach bugs will in turn have a harsher effect on them, so make sure that they are drinking clean, safe water and avoiding the usual things such as ice in their drinks, salads and peeled fruit that may be contaminated with unclean water.
While immunisations are very important for anyone planning to visit certain countries, it’s even more vital that older travellers have a proper consultation with an expert at a dedicated travel clinic and get the medication they need. They may need to take some existing medication with them, as perhaps they have pills they need to pop every day. Set a timer when crossing time zones to help remind them when they need to be taken, and make a record of the generic name of the drug in case the medication gets lost.
Needless to say, older people get tired more easily and will find the process of travelling more exhausting than you do. Imagine yourself in twenty or thirty years time and make sure you plan for lots of rest stops and ways to break up long journeys. Don’t forget that flights can be more tiring than you expect and it might be worth checking straight into a hotel at the airport upon arrival to recover and get a good night’s sleep before moving on.
Pack together so that you can help them plan what’s suitable for them to bring on the trip. It also means that you’ll be able to offer to carry things they’d like to bring but cannot manage by themselves.
Think carefully in the planning stages about what type of holiday will suit your older companions. They may not have done as much travelling as you, and they may be less prepared for a very active holiday, or one involving lots of different stops. Cities can make good destinations, especially for disabled people, as there will be more facilities and Western-style standards around to make their stay more comfortable. Consider the time of year you travel, too. Your older travel mates will be more sensitive to extremes of temperature than you.
Whatever you do, make the most of spending time in the company of older people to relax, put your feet up and not put too much on the agenda for each day. Maybe there’s something you can learn from them!