Among older adults, studies have linked travel to lower stress levels, and a more active mind and body. Travel is central to quality of life, perhaps more so for older adults because it “enables older people to remain socially connected to the world around them,” according to the Tsao Foundation on aging.
If you’re older, you may be eager to devote more time to travelling and fulfilling opportunities missed during your youth. But there’s often more prior planning involved than in previous years to stay safe and get the most out of the experience. Here’s some tips for senior travellers on how to plan the next trip and stay comfortable while travelling.
If you give the airline advance notice, you’re more likely to receive the help you need. Be aware of your need for essentials like extra legroom, faster boarding, or wheelchair assistance in the airport. You can put in requests online or by calling the airline or airport.
If you have issues such as hearing loss, be sure to explain to gate agents and other workers that you need them to speak louder and clearly. Also, ask for updates on gate announcements you may miss due to your hearing. If you are at risk of a fall in some situations, ask for luggage assistance and transport within the airport.
Spare your feet by wearing shoes with ample arch support and breathability. Also, trekking poles are just as useful for strolls in the city as they are in the wilderness for better balance and momentum. Invest in quality roller luggage to save your back and keep your carry on to a light, padded shoulder bag. Be mindful of the time you are not on your feet. Avoid sitting for overly long periods on your flight or in the car to avoid discomfort and conditions such as deep vein thrombosis. Booking an aisle seat may be particularly helpful.
There are various types of travelling companions, depending on your needs. One companion stays by your side if you have travel anxiety or want company. This person can make travel arrangements and handle other logistics. Another type of travel companion can help you navigate transit by driving you to the airport, carrying suitcases and guiding you through check in. You can also hire medical travel companions to help manage medication and personal care. If you have a serious medical condition, you can hire an in-flight nurse.
Try to anticipate situations that could cause undue anxiety and stress; you’re on vacation after all. Give yourself extra time to get through long lines. Avoid inconvenient situations by always having what you need at hand, which could mean packing your medications in your carryon and making sure you have your toothbrush and an extra change of clothes in case your luggage is lost by the airline. Take advantage of the flexibility of retirement by travelling during the shoulder season, which can mean less crowds and more temperate weather.
Another way to avoid stress is to plan for emergencies by purchasing travel insurance. If you’re travelling outside of your home province, you should know that your government issued health insurance may not fully protect you. Emergency medical benefits offered by Allianz Global Assistance may help fill coverage gaps in the event of medical and dental emergencies. Also, certain illnesses may be covered under plans with trip cancellation and interruption benefits, so you may recover non-refundable expenses if you must cut your trip short or reschedule. We also offer 24/7 assistance by travel experts who can connect you to local services, start claims and take care of other needs.
Every year, millions of travellers trust Allianz Global Assistance to keep them safe with straightforward benefits, quick claims, and diligent service. Get a quote today to learn how we may protect you on your travels.
Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.