Q:  I have not traveled since the pandemic, but I think I am ready to go on a trip. I am much older now and worried about the stamina needed to travel. How can I plan a trip that I will enjoy and will not exhaust me?

A:  Traveling can be an amazing experience. It gives you something to look forward to and provides new adventures and experiences. To ensure a successful trip, assess your current abilities and plan the right trip to suit your needs. Build in a backup plan in case you find it is too tiring or need to slow down the pace of the trip.

First, think about where you want to go. Do you have a special destination you have always dreamed about? Or are you looking for the right place that has the aspects you want in a trip, such as the beach, cities, food, or nature. Consider who will make the best travel companion and will enjoy the same things you want at the pace you want.

Some find using a tour group can help reduce the stress of travel. A cruise may be another good option where you can stay in one room and visit many places at once. There are even tour companies, as well as cruise companies, that cater to older adults and retired people. If possible, look at options that cost more but also provide more convenience, such as paying for direct flights, better seats or accommodations.

If your travel dates are flexible, you can often get better deals. Consider insuring your trip if you are worried about your health, and pick a destination with medical facilities available. If traveling internationally, research the health care insurance options before you go and purchase additional international insurance if needed.

It takes a lot of energy to get to your destination. Know that ahead of time and do not plan much for your first day so you have time to recover, rest and acclimate.

Look at the pace of your day at home and consider what is realistic while traveling. Are you able to do much walking or will it be easier to plan to visit local sights on a tour bus. Do not assume that you will have much more energy on a trip then you do at home. Set yourself up for success with a plan that is realistic. Make sure to prioritize what is most important on your trip so that you do those things first.

Think ahead about how you will stay healthy while traveling. If you have a chronic condition to manage, be sure to understand what you need to bring with you and how you can manage your condition while away. Always take medications for extra days just in case there is any delay getting home.

If traveling by plane, understand the rules ahead of time on what you can bring on the plane and what you need to check in baggage. Get up and walk the aisles on long flights to keep your circulation moving.

Stay hydrated, bring any vitamins or supplements you usually take, and be in touch with how your body feels.  Carry emergency contact information, insurance cards and important medical information with you. Provide your itinerary, as well as copies of your important papers, to a close family member or friend at home.

Traveling has so many benefits to our emotional, cognitive, and physical health. If you have not traveled in a while, then take it slow and build your confidence back. Do not worry about doing it all in one trip. Take it slow and find a destination that will bring you joy. You are never too old to travel with the right planning, accommodations, and outlook.

Martha Shapiro can be reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at mshapiro@seniorconcerns.org.



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