Now that the weather is getting colder, many older individuals are making plans to vacation in warmer climates to escape the snow, ice and frigid temperatures. While all travelers need to plan their trips carefully, travel for seniors isn’t the same as traveling when you were younger. Seniors need to take a few extra precautions to ensure their health and safety while they’re away.
- Consult with your doctor before you go on your trip, especially if you have heart disease, hypertension or a chronic condition, or you’ve recently undergone surgery. Discuss any concerns you have with your doctor, such as dietary changes or how you should handle your medications if you’re traveling to a different time zone. Consider getting your flu or pneumonia vaccinations before you go on your trip. If you’re traveling outside of the U.S., find out if you’ll need any immunizations for infectious diseases like cholera or typhoid. Some vaccinations must be given 2 to 12 weeks before your trip. So plan ahead.
- Make sure you have enough of your medications to last your entire trip. If your medication requires syringes, take enough syringes for the length of your trip as well. Keep your prescriptions in their original containers. If you’ll be staying several months at your travel destination, get written prescriptions for each medication, if you think you’ll need to have them refilled while you’re away. Have your doctor prepare a written and signed list of all your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, including their generic names. Wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant that contains your medical information in case of emergency.
- Call your medical insurance provider to find out what your coverage is for where you’ll be traveling. Keep your insurance policy and emergency numbers with you. If you’re traveling overseas, Medicare and Medicaid aren’t accepted. Consider purchasing travel insurance with pre-existing illness coverage, if needed.
- If you’re traveling internationally and need a current passport or visa (which is required in certain countries), start the application process at least four months prior to your trip. If you do have a passport, make sure it will still be valid six months after your trip. Take extra passport photos and copies of your passport and visa, in case your passport and/or visa are lost or stolen. Carry them separately from your luggage. Have the phone numbers and addresses for the American Embassy or Consulate and the police with you for each country you’ll be visiting. Contact them immediately if your passport or visa is lost or stolen.
- Pack your clothes and necessities in a suitcase with wheels to make travel easier for you. Put tags on the outside and inside of your bags with your name, address, phone number and email. Plus, pack an extra copy of your itinerary in your bag. Bring a small carry-on bag that has everything you’ll need during your travel time, including a medical kit, your regular medications and an extra set of clothing. Also, consider taking an extra pair of glasses.
- If you have a disability, contact the airlines, airports, rail or cruise companies before your departure time, let them know your requirements and make arrangements for wheelchairs, guide dogs, seating arrangements, special meals, or other individual requests. Book direct flights, whenever possible. Otherwise, allow extra time for all transfers between plane, train, and/or cruise departures.
- Pack lightly. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes while traveling. Wear compression stockings to stimulate your lower leg circulation when flying.
- If you suffer from foot conditions, like bunions or plantar fasciitis, wear custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics, to support your feet. These orthotics are customized to each of your feet – ensuring you’ll get the exact support each foot needs. Every step you take while traveling will be biomechanically correct, reducing your risk of foot pain. ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics are ultra thin and ¾ length, so they easily fit into any footwear you take on your trip.
- Guard against infections while traveling. Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Carry emergency phone numbers for your doctor and emergency contacts. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family members. Also, take the phone numbers of your travel agent, airline, train and/or cruise line companies.
So where are you headed? Florida? Texas? Arizona? Mexico? Or, some tropical island? With careful planning, your trip can be more enjoyable.
Put an ezWalker in your shoes and put a smile on your face. Remember … when your feet feel good, you feel good.