Guest post by Jean Cherry
Do you have the “travel bug”? As a senior, having more time and money can enable you to see the world. But as you get older, packing for a vacation can get a bit more complicated.
By taking some extra steps to prepare for travel, your trip can be uneventful in a good way. Even if there is a health issue along the way, planning ahead will help so you have the right information at your fingertips.
Use this handy checklist to ensure you’re ready for a healthy trip:
1. Visit your doctor. Check in with a doctor four to six weeks before traveling. Discuss any illnesses or medications you are taking to make sure treatments are up-to-date, and you are healthy enough to travel. Make sure you have your doctor’s phone number and your medical insurance card in case of emergencies. Consider buying supplemental travel health insurance in case of injury or illness when traveling overseas.
2. Get vaccinated. Find out what the appropriate vaccinations are for the location you’re visiting. If traveling internationally, visit a travel clinic with expertise in specialized vaccines. Ensure you have received all your routine vaccinations. A flu shot may be just the ticket when you’re sitting next to another passenger who is coughing into the air on the plane!
3. Include the basics. Pack clothing depending on the weather for the location you’re visiting. Be sure to pack clothing that can be layered in order to adjust to changing temperatures and include cold weather options. You never know if it is going to be hot or cold outside, in the airport or in hotels or buildings where you’ll spend your time. Be sure to pack all of your favorite toiletries as your options may be limited once you arrive at your new location. A travel pillow can also help make traveling more comfortable.
4. Manage your medications. Pack all medications in carry-on luggage along with a complete list of what you’re taking. This way, if your checked luggage gets lost, you’ll still have your medication. Bring medications in original containers with a copy of the prescription, and pack some extra doses so you’re prepared if you experience travel delays. Don’t forget to bring treatment for pain, allergies, or indigestion. Do you have any medications that require special handling such as refrigeration? Make plans ahead of time to ensure they’re kept at the appropriate temperature throughout your trip.
5. Know your limits. Book excursions that match your physical abilities. Give yourself some extra time to recover from jet lag or motion sickness if needed. The altitude and climate may be different from what you’re used to, so give yourself some time to adjust. Bring any assistive devices for mobility, such as a wheelchair, cane or walker, and determine if the areas you are visiting are handicap accessible.
6. Remember the must-haves. Double check to see that you have these necessary items before you walk out the door. A wallet or purse, phone, keys, a passport or driver’s license, camera, and chargers/converters. You may also need other electronic equipment to carry-on, such as a laptop, tablet or E-reader, in addition to their corresponding chargers.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, reserve accommodations that are accessible for persons with disabilities, and ask for special dietary considerations for meals if needed. Planning ahead will help your travel adventures go smoothly and create memories that last a lifetime!
Jean Cherry, RN, MBA, writes on behalf of Walgreens and enjoys applying her previous home health experience to share tips with seniors who are preparing to travel. Seniors can find a variety of mobility scooters at Walgreens.com to help assist them in their adventures.