Before taking off
Determine your capabilities
Are you safe to travel? Having a check-up with your GP before planning or departing your trip, is an excellent step towards making the right decisions on what to do and where to go on your holiday. Making sure you’re healthy enough to travel, is the first important step. There are a few challenges with travelling as we get older, so be sure to ask your GP for tips on how to manage these. For example, knowing how to prevent swollen feet, our body’s capabilities and/or how to alter our medications with a change of times zone.
Ask your travel agent for a senior-friendly holiday
Whether you decide to take an all-inclusive cruise or individually pick out each of your activities for your holiday, be sure to ask your travel agent for the services and companies available that may cater for your needs. Elements such as wheelchair assistance, arranged seating or shower railings are just a few things you may need to consider. Once you have determined your needs, be sure to voice these to your agent so they can do their best to find something sufficient for your holiday and health and safety needs.
Planning your itinerary
Travelling, new environments, cultures, activities and different time zones can all prove to be very tiring for the body. Sufficient rest days for jet lag or to break up a trip between activities are necessary in ensuring you manage the longevity of your holiday.
If you know you have particular dietary requirements, be sure to let your accommodation and travel agent know so they can arrange meals accordingly or recommend alternative eateries. In many countries, it can be hard to know what to eat and very tempting to try exotic street foods. However to avoid an upset stomach, stick to trusted restaurants or organised meals with your accommodation or tour group.
When picking your travel insurance, be aware of all your medical conditions. Booking insurance that does not include all your medical and holiday needs could make for an unwanted financial and psychological stress whilst holidaying. Be sure to shop around for the best travel insurance for you as there are many organisations and deals to choose from.
Ensuring that you have enough medication to last you the trip is vital. Be sure to pack enough medication for each day, as well as spares. Also, pack spare scripts, a GP letter with your list of medications and consider packing your medication in your hand luggage for access mid-flight and in case your luggage is lost. Please also ensure (if travelling overseas) that your medication is legal and accessible in that country.
Once you have decided on where you’d like to go, be sure to check with your GP if you require any booster or new vaccinations to protect you while on your holiday.
Comfort comes first! Put your strappy, healed dancing shoes aside and step into a supportive, cushioned and adjustable shoe that will keep you on your toes the entire journey of the trip. When looking for travelling footwear, make sure your shoes are well fitted, climate appropriate and fixate with velcro or lace, especially for those outdoor actitivies. Any shoes that could cause trips, slips, blisters or discomfort should be avoided. Adjustable fixation will allow your shoe to be loosened with swelling and tightened for support.
If you’re still unsure about what to wear or buy, please consult your local podiatrist for recommendations. Or read our story on how to pick the best walking shoe.
Seeing all the sites is a must, but getting around may not be as easy as you might imagine. Depending on your capabilities a sufficient walking aid may vary from a standard walking stick to a wheelchair, four-wheel walker or a motorised scooter. Once you have determined what you need, be sure to have the necessary equipment hired at your destination in advance or if possible arrange to take it with you. Other things to consider are exit row, isle or disability seats to allow extra leg room and quicker access to the bathroom facilities.
If flying, your airline can arrange a wheelchair and/or buggy ride to and from your flight to your next mode of transport.
Make sure to create a checklist of all the items you need to take and which of those need to be packed in your hand luggage. List your vital items at the top and ensure you triple check these before you step aboard or leave your home. A common checklist can include:
- GP letter
- Money/Travel Cards
- Emergency contact list
- Compression Stocking
Bon Voyage, Adios, Au Revoir and have fun.
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