The Danish author Hans Christian Anderson once said, “To travel is to live” – and most of us would strongly agree!
Travelling is not only fun, evidence shows that it’s also good for your mental health. Getting away helps to reduce stress, boost happiness, enhance creativity and increase resilience. Importantly, it also helps keep you active and allows you to see things from a different perspective, which can inspire you to live a better life on your return home.
Retirement is a wonderful time to explore the world – whether you jet off to far-flung places or visit unseen destinations closer to home. However, to enjoy your holiday and experience the benefits, careful planning is required.
In this article, we’ll share 8 tips to help you travel comfortably, safely and happily in retirement, so you can enjoy every moment of your next holiday.
1. Research Before You Go
The key to a smooth holiday as a senior lies in your pre-trip planning. Find out about the climate so you can pack appropriately and thoroughly research the local landmarks, shops, services and accommodation options.
If you’re travelling overseas, make sure you have a good understanding of the language and culture. Buy a guidebook, speak to your travel agent and check reputable online resources such as www.smartraveller.gov.au for up-to-the-minute advice, tips and insights.
2. Documents and Other Requirements
For those travelling overseas, give yourself ample time to organise any necessary documentation such as your passport and visas. It’s a good idea to make two copies of your important documents, keeping one with you (in a separate place to the original), and leaving one at home with a family member. This can be a huge time and sanity saver if something happens to the originals while you are holidaying. Find out if you need vaccinations and organise these as early as possible to avoid any last-minute panic.
3. Manage Your Medications
If you’re taking regular medications, make sure you arrange a supply to last your entire trip. It’s also a good idea to get a letter from your doctor explaining what the medication is, how much you have with you and stating that it’s for your own personal use.
If you’re travelling within Australia, find out if your prescriptions can be easily filled while you’re away, or if it’s best to organise a full supply before you go. It’s generally better to take your medications with you when holidaying overseas, as there can be a difference in the quality and strength of medicines available in certain places. While you’re in transit it’s a good idea to carry a small supply with you in your hand luggage, just in case your bags are delayed.
4. Organise Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a must if you’re heading overseas, as medical services can be expensive. Look closely at your level of coverage to be sure it provides adequate cover if you’re injured or fall ill. Some countries have reciprocal health agreements, which allow Australians to access urgent or emergency treatment overseas, so find out if this applies before you go.
If you’re travelling locally or interstate, check the availability and location of medical services in the area during your pre-trip planning. Write down important phone numbers and keep them with you just in case.
5. Pack Smart and Travel Light
When packing your bags, write a list of what you need and stick to it. Having too much luggage can be difficult to manage which can really slow you down. Choose suitcases with wheels and backpacks that are the right size for carrying your everyday essentials without being too heavy.
If you’re hitting the open road with your caravan, you can carry a lot more. However, it’s worth spending a little extra time to pack carefully to help you stay organised and find what you need easily.
6. Looking After Your Health
While you’re away, you want to enjoy every minute of your holiday, so be sure to look after your well-being. Don’t overdo it and know your limitations. For example, if you have bad knees, avoid walking long distances or through rough terrain. Remember to take your medications and if you feel like you need a day of rest, then skip the planned activity and put your feet up.
Be mindful of what you are eating and drinking, and if in doubt about food hygiene, avoid it. Research some recommended eateries in the area before you travel so you have a few go-to places and are not just trying your luck and hoping for the best!
7. Staying Safe
As a traveller, it’s so important to be smart with your money and take your personal safety seriously. Don’t take valuables with you unless absolutely necessary and carry your money discreetly in a safe place. Find out about current advice and warnings, local laws and places to avoid before you go.
If you’re travelling solo, take extra care. Book your accommodation in advance, share your itinerary with friends and family and keep in touch regularly so they know you are safe.
8. Be Flexible with Your Itinerary
While it’s wise to plan your journey before you go, be prepared to be flexible as things can and will change once you arrive. There are certain scenarios you can’t plan for from your armchair at home, including the weather, local traffic and your energy levels.
Travelling with a positive mindset allows you to be open to new opportunities as they arise, which gives you the best chance of experiencing an amazing and memorable holiday.
Final Word on Travelling in Retirement
Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a relative newcomer to travel, many people experience their best holidays during retirement. With the freedom to travel anytime without the restrictions of work and a lifetime of experience under your belt, you’re in the perfect position to enjoy every moment.
Travelling as a senior does present some challenges to ensure you stay safe and in good health throughout your journey. However, when you research and plan thoroughly, you can avoid potential issues that may hold you back. So, if you feel there is an adventure or two in you in the new year, start planning your next travel destination today!
Over to You
Do you have some travel tips or favourite destinations for retirees you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them – simply post a comment below.
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