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So You Want to Go on Vacation… Make the Most of Your Trip with These Tips

So You Want to Go on Vacation… Make the Most of Your Trip with These Tips

Gather up the sunscreen, those new walking shoes, the phone charger, the travel-sized toothpaste and throw them into your already too full luggage. It’s vacation time!

Taking a vacation, no matter how far from home, comes with some degree of stress. Invariably, you end up forgetting something or plans change due to unforeseen situations. For anyone traveling, especially seniors, the more you plan for the unexpected, the more relaxing your trip. And isn’t that what you want from a vacation?

Here are some things to remember while planning for and being on vacation.


  • Visit your doctor for a checkup before you leave.
  • Check with your doctor to see if any of your medications might cause a reaction to any food you may eat.
  • Make sure you have a list of all your medications with you at all times. Please note that some meds may not be available in other countries so know what alternatives may be suitable and list those as well.
  • There are mobile apps for maintaining medication lists and setting pill reminders – CAREZONE and COMare a few. Some apps are free. We recommend visiting your app store to read the descriptions of available apps along with customer reviews so you can make the best choice for your needs.
  • Plan for breaks in your travel schedule so you can rest.
  • If you wear hearing aids, don’t forget to bring spare batteries.
  • Medicare, in most cases, does not cover medical care received outside the country. Please check with MEDICAREfor details.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You may be walking more than normal.


  • Use a wheeled carry-on bag and pack your medications and other necessary items in it.
  • If you’re on a long flight, don’t forget to walk up and down the aisle to prevent blood clots.
  • Need a wheelchair or assistance? When you book your flight, request a need at that time.
  • Aisle seats may be easier for you to get in and out of so book early.
  • Talk with your doctor to see if your medical devices will set off metal detectors. You may request alternative search options if needed. Documentation from your doctor stating that you have a medical device may also be helpful.
  • Check with your doctor to see if any of your medical conditions cause issues with the changing altitudes and how to handle those issues.


  • Leave your travel itinerary with family or loved ones including flight numbers and hotel contact information. Update them if there are any changes to your itinerary.
  • Contact your bank to let them know you are traveling.
  • Don’t travel at night.
  • Don’t wear flashy jewelry.
  • Carry valuables underneath your clothes.
  • Don’t advertise your absence from your hotel room but by putting up a “Please clean my room” door tag.
  • Always use the security chain on your hotel door.
  • Consider traveler’s insurance. Check with your current insurance policy to see if it covers anything. If not, the web offers several sites that talk about traveler’s insurance for seniors such as TRAVEL INSURANCEand SENIOR TRAVEL. However, you may feel more comfortable in speaking with your insurance provider for their recommendations.
  • The U.S. State Department offers the free Smart Travel Program if traveling to a foreign country. When you enroll in the program, the U.S. Embassy can contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Visit the state department’s WEBSITEfor details.


  • Airline discounts really depend on the airline. Also, the discount you receive may not be the best deal. Discounts are usually taken off the full-price. Internet-only fares, advanced ticket purchases, or reduced price tickets may be a better price. It’s best to do your due diligence by trying different airlines and a combination of dates to see what the best price is for your trip.
  • Discounts on train travel are available in the U.S. and Canada. For European trains, check with the train to see what’s available and for any restrictions.
  • When traveling abroad, some countries may require you to purchase a senior card to receive discounts.

For additional information and tips, visit these resources:
Rick Steves
Aging Care
Better Health