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Hints for older travellers

Whether the travel bug has always been around or happened to bite a bit later in life, your retirement years are an excellent time to travel. Here are some travel tips to get you out and about for less, and in a safe and enjoyable manner.

Travel off peak to save

Visiting destinations during their off-peak or shoulder season presents many benefits to travellers — a smaller price tag, to be sure, but also cooler weather and fewer crowds.

Take your time

Alternate methods of travel can be more attractive on the hip pocket. Train travel has long been popular overseas. The many hassles of flying (from security checkpoints to the uncomfortable flight itself) can be avoided by riding the rails. Renting a car is another option for self-guided and self-paced scenic travel.

Travel with friends or family

Significant cost savings abound if you bring along your children, grandchildren or other travel pals. A triple- or quad-share cabin on a cruise can save you money and can also double as a fantastic opportunity for bonding and creating lasting memories together. Now that’s priceless.

Purchase travel insurance

Travel insurance is essential for older travellers who are more at risk of falling, getting sick or needing extra meds if travel plans change. Take the time to read the fine print, as some scenarios (eg. pre-existing medical conditions) may not be covered.

Don’t advertise your absence

Don’t put the “Clean my room” sign on your door as it is an open invitation to let people know that the room is empty. Engage the security chain on your door whenever you’re in your room. Ask for a room near the elevator (more foot traffic will deter thieves). Stay away from ground-floor rooms where window entry is possible.

Mind your meds

Take as much care with your medications as you do your money and passports. Never pack your meds in checked luggage and don’t leave them lying around your hotel room. Keep separate paperwork with the names and dosages of any medicines so you can try to replace them if needed, or explain them through immigration.

Keep the bling to a minimum

Carrying items like nice jewellery, gold watches and fancy cameras makes you a target for thieves. Unless you’re going to Richard Branson’s Necker Island, you might want to consider leaving the bling at home. Your smartphone will take pretty good photos nowadays.

Stay safe on your feet

Beyond wearing comfortable shoes to get through full days of walking and touring, wearing flats will help senior travellers stay steady on their feet.

Keep others in the loop

If you’re traveling solo, keep others apprised of your daily itinerary, including your hotel concierge. Keep a mobile phone on you at all times. Before you depart, print and share your travel documents with family and friends at home.