Grand Junction has plenty of activities for seniors, but sometimes you want to venture beyond the community with a longer trip. Traveling helps keep you active and your mind sharp with new sights and experiences. Senior travel can require a little extra planning to account for mobility limitations, medications and other needs. From choosing the right destination to how to pack, these senior travel tips can help make your trip more successful and enjoyable.
You typically choose your travel destination based on your interests and what types of things you want to see and do while you're gone. However, seniors should also consider safety factors for their destinations. If you have limited mobility, especially if you use a walker or wheelchair, choose a destination that makes it easy to get around with those mobility aids. Choosing a location with a nearby hospital or easy access to medical care can keep you safe if you have a medical emergency while you're away.
During your planning phase, check with the hotels, airlines and other businesses you plan to use to see if they have senior discounts available. Sometimes you can get the senior discount while booking online, but some travel companies will only apply the discount if you call and ask for it. Even if you don't see a senior price option, it's worth it to call and ask.
It's always a good idea to get a checkup before you go on vacation to ensure you're in good health. This can be especially important if you have a chronic health condition or take medication regularly. Your doctor can verify that the condition is still under control and you're safe to travel. If you're traveling abroad, your doctor can tell you what types of vaccinations you need and make sure you get them in time for your trip.
Your packing list depends largely on your destination and the activities you're planning there. Pack as lightly as possible to make your suitcases easier to manage. Medication is often one of the biggest considerations for packing as a senior. Make sure you have more than enough medication with you in case your travel plans change or you get delayed on your way home. Your doctor can often approve an early prescription refill if you need extra for the trip. If you're flying, keep your medication in your carry-on bag. Include documentation about your medications and medical conditions in case you have issues while you're on vacation.
If you need mobility assistance or similar accommodations, contact the various places you'll visit on your trip before you leave. For instance, airlines often help transport passengers to their gates if walking long distances is difficult. You might call your hotel in advance to secure a room on the first floor or near the elevator. Some amusement parks and similar attractions have disability passes that allow you to avoid lines or use special entrances for rides. Research the available options at the places you plan to go and secure accommodations ahead of time if possible.
It's natural to want to pack in lots of activities, especially if it's your first time at your destination. However, you don't want to overdo it and end up missing half your planned activities. Start with a more conservative itinerary with lots of downtime to keep from getting overwhelmed. Have some backup activities in mind in case you still have energy and time at the end of the day. Your trip will be more enjoyable if you have ample time to do your scheduled activities.
Anyone can be a target of crime when traveling, but seniors may be more of a target if they seem vulnerable. Wearing an anti-theft purse or money belt can reduce your risk of being robbed. Research the neighborhood where you plan to stay to ensure it's safe, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Always keep your hotel room or vacation rental door locked and secured to prevent break-ins.
Whether you're traveling alone or with others, it's a good idea to give your travel details to a trusted family member or friend who isn't going on the trip. Give them your flight numbers, where you're staying and what's on your itinerary. You might agree to check in with them at designated times during the trip to verify that you're safe. Another option is to use a GPS tracker, which a loved one can monitor while you're gone.
Travel insurance can be financially beneficial for all ages, but it can be particularly helpful for older adults. There are different types of travel insurance that cover different things. Trip cancellation coverage can keep you from losing the money you paid for your trip if you can't go due to illnesses, medical emergencies or other covered situations. You can also get insurance that covers you while you travel and pays for things like medical emergencies and medical evacuations.