By Karen Abby
One of the real joys of retirement and enjoying your senior years may come in the form of travel. Travel is broadening and many senior citizens save for a lifetime to enjoy a lifestyle of travel once they are retired. The image of becoming a world traveler in their senior years is one of those dreams that kept them going when life was tough in their working years so they certainly deserve to hit the road and enjoy the fruit of a lifetime of work.
If this is the kind of retirement fun that you have in mind, it pays to plan ahead so you travel smart. Being prepared for a long trip makes sense for anybody but if these trips you will be taking are to be the dream trips you want them to be, you do not want to see those vacations turn into travel nightmares.
A big part of smart traveling is planning well in advance what you are going to need on the trip. But it may be even more important to know what you are NOT going to need. By packing light, you make the chore of pulling large pieces of luggage through the airport less difficult. And if you are going to be staying in several places on the trip, packing light means less repacking as well.
It will take some experience as to what works for you in a travel situation to know how to pack. You may wish to build a special travel wardrobe of garments that wear well under stress, do not wrinkle and can be rinsed out and used again on the road thus extending their usefulness and cutting down on excess clothing. Another way you can cut down on the bulk en route is to not take very much with you that can be bought when you get there. By not taking a lot of toiletries, you cut down on the problems with airport security and the chance of toiletries leaking in your bags.
Smart traveling for senior citizens also means having your prescriptions all up to date and well documented. Make copies of all prescription for drugs, eyeglass, and other documents that you may need to get refills on the road should you lose or run through your medicines. It is a good practice to carry onset of copies with you and one set in your suitcase or travel bag in case you become separated from either one you have a back up. In addition file copies of all of your travel documents with a loved one so even if you lose everything, you can still get your documents sent to you or by email or fax.
Alert your local pharmacy so if they need to consult with a pharmacy where you are going, that phone call will not catch them by surprise. These kinds of precautions eliminate panic in the event of a problem while traveling.
Similarly make sure your itinerary and copies of your passport and credit card numbers are kept in secure places and on file with a loved one. Go through your wallet and think about each card and important document you have and how you would handle having those cards canceled and replaced should you lose your wallet or purse. By keeping those important numbers where you can get to them quickly, you can move fast to cancel credit cards and get replacements virtually immediately from your hotel should you get robbed or lose your valuables while traveling.
By thinking ahead like this and staging in your mind every possible problem and planning how to respond, you eliminate the chance that your trip could be stopped and your fun brought to an end because of a difficulty. Then when things do go wrong, you just shift to plan A-B-C or D and you are right back in business.
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