With the arrival of summer people everywhere are gearing up to go on vacation. Although fun, traveling can stress out the best of us. For older people especially, traveling can be a major source of anxiety. Whether you are looking to travel domestically or abroad, for a short time or for several weeks, follow these guidelines to ensure a safe vacation.
Written by Max Gottlieb
1. Schedule a Visit to your Primary Care Physician
No matter how close the destination may seem, it is always a good idea to schedule an appointment with your regular care doctor. Ideally, plan ahead and schedule the appointment in advance just in case any issues do arise. Even if you didn’t plan ahead and it’s a last minute travel decision, it’s still a good idea to stop by your doctor’s office. Let the doctor know where you intend to travel and what you plan on doing so they can make recommendations for you to stay safe. Some international destinations require vaccinations so be sure to ask about those when you see your doctor.
2. Make Sure you are Properly Vaccinated
Make sure you are properly vaccinated. This goes for international and domestic travel. Older people’s vaccines tend to wear off faster, so a booster or an additional vaccine is sometimes needed. Travelers are exposed to more people than when they’re in their usual routine and we all know contact with more people ups the risk of disease transmission. The most effective way to prevent diseases such as the flu, measles, shingles, and tetanus, according to the CDC, is to make sure you are current on your vaccines.
3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This is good advice for all travelers, but especially important for seniors. It’s crucial to be aware of your surroundings. In order to stay low-key, especially internationally, don’t wear or bring expensive jewelry or belongings. Seniors look like easy targets to thieves due to age-related limitations. At night, it’s a good idea to have a companion. When in crowded areas, make sure you know where all of your belongings are on your body.
4. Prescription Advice
In order to make it quickly through customs or airport security, carry your prescriptions in the original bottles. If the prescription is for a scheduled drug make sure to bring along a copy of the prescription just in case. Also, it’s wise to pack extra medication that will last beyond the duration of the planned stay. Always pack medication in your carry-on rather than a checked bag because if a checked bag gets lost, it can be difficult to find prescription refills.
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Max Gottlieb is the content manager for Senior Planning. Senior Planning is a free service dedicated to helping the elderly and disabled find care, secure benefits, and move if necessary.