Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~ Confucius
If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times, “I’m going to travel more when I retire!” Great! I’m right there with you! I’m not even going to add a “but” to that sentence to slow you down. What I am going to do however is ask you to take a few extra pieces into consideration as you make those lovely plans because traveling in retirement is a little bit different then in the years beforehand.
Some pieces will remain the same, such as a reminder to call your hotels to book them if you’re looking for the capacity to cancel or change your plans, and be sure to do some research. Just today, as I was making plans for a family vacation and thinking I had one hotel safely checked off the list, I went and looked at one more review. Good thing I did! This particular hotel does not have an elevator and it’s at the top of a steep hill! Not a good fit for my family at all. But here’s the part that really stumped me – that information was hard, hard, hard to find on the hotel’s website. Had I not read that review I’d be hearing about it for the next 5 years, for sure. Read reviews, ask others on message boards what they recommend.
Make a list or two. Make a list of places you want to see overall and then within that list what specific sites do you want to see? Now, rank that listing in 2 ways; once with the most physically demanding at the top and once with those locations that you really don’t want to miss at any cost. You can make choices based off of this list rather than the deal of the day or what your friend’s sister said she liked; spend your time and financial resources in the way you want to! I’m not saying you can’t do it all as you age but it will be a different experience as you age and find that climbing stairs or long plane rides no longer suit you or something along those lines.
Get travel insurance. Really. It’s tempting to think you won’t need it but just in case you do need it, it will be there. Please be sure to check your health insurance policy to see how much or if you’re covered out of the country. Get whatever you’re told over the phone in writing and put that in a safe but easy to remember place. Carry a copy with you, along with copies of your insurance cards, when you travel.
Regardless of where you’re traveling to it would be a pity to spend that time away sick with something easy to prevent. Travel is an excellent time to double down on prevention. This means being super careful to wash your hands all the time, taking a Pepto-Bismol before each meal (one tablet, studies show it helps reduce the risk of food poisoning), and staying hydrated. If you’re going to a country where there are food-borne problems be sure to heed the local warnings about not eating salads or the such; the locals don’t want you to get sick any more than you do. The saying goes in some countries, “if you can’t boil it, peel it or wash it, forget it!”
You may feel like 30 on the inside and you are surely in excellent health although the picture on the exterior may look somewhat different. Why in the world do I bring this up? Because I want you to remember that no matter how you feel on the inside, others who have less than charming intentions may see you differently. Please be mindful of your surroundings and your personal safety as you move about on this grand set of trips you’re about to embark on.
I wish you the very best as you plan your travels and can’t wait to hear where you’re headed to next! Please, do tell! Can I encourage you to visit our National Parks? They are amazing and beyond treasures. Best of all? As a Senior you can get a great pass that allows for super cheap entrance! https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm
Happy, safe travels to you!