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How Traveling Changes As You Age Thumbnail

How Traveling Changes As You Age

Summer is fast-approaching and that usually means fun trips and time to explore. Many of us love to travel whether that’s domestically, internationally, or simply visiting the beautiful Rocky Mountains in our own backyard.  No one is surprised that traveling changes as we age, but let’s dig deeper into the specifics of what that means for us.

Energy Levels:

You may not be able to walk 10 miles a day exploring a new city like you could back in your 30’s and 40’s and that is okay. Recognize that you may need more breaks, regular meals, and downtime. When planning your trip, select a day or two to be your “rest days” and use those to relax in between heavy walking and sightseeing days. Perhaps visit the local cinema or a quaint cafe. You may not be able to see it all and try to be okay with that. Quality over quantity is more important. Determine what is most important to you on this trip and make those things a priority.

Money: 

As you get older, you will find that spending a little extra makes a huge difference. This doesn’t mean you have to book the 5-star hotels and luxury plane seats but maybe splurge for that extra legroom. Now is the time to spend a little extra to make your trip more enjoyable, as long as you have the means to do so. Spend a bit more on a hotel with beds that will give you a good night’s sleep and on tours and transportation that will make your life easier.

Tours: 

So many retirees enjoy traveling with a tour, whether it’s just for the day or for your entire trip.  By traveling with a tour, you don’t have to take on the stress of planning the trip. You get to sit back and enjoy the scenery without having to know where to go or what the best sites are. You will also have the opportunity to meet like-minded people. Do your research when selecting a tour group to make sure it is right for you. Find a tour that goes at your pace, has a smaller group experience, and takes you on excursions that interest you. Some tours that our clients have enjoyed are Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT), Rick Steves Tours, and Road Scholar. 

Flexibility:

In retirement, you don’t have to worry about a high-stress career or having enough vacation time. You now have the option to avoid hectic holidays and peak travel times when making travel plans. With more flexibility, you can choose what days you fly based on price and convenience, not based on time off.

Plane Experience:

Traveling by plane can be difficult and take a toll on your body, especially now that we have to wear masks. Start your trip off right and try to limit the time you travel as much as possible by selecting the direct flight instead of the one with a layover, even if you have to pay a little extra. Avoid the budget airlines and pay for your seat whenever necessary; you don’t want to end up in the middle seat on a flight to Europe. If you have the means to do so, upgrade to the seat with more leg room or avoid coach altogether. Of course, some annoyances of flying can’t be avoided, but the more you can do to have a smooth and comfortable flying experience, the better your trip will be.   

Safety:

If you are traveling with a tour, a comprehensive safety briefing and resources should be provided. If not, it’s up to you to inform yourself about crime and security information, health and medical considerations, and enroll in the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  Carry an emergency card with your name, allergies, medications, and an emergency contact, ideally written in English and the local language – Google Translate can help! And, lastly, consider a trip insurance policy not just for your trip itself but also a medical/evacuation policy. These are less expensive than you’d think.

Preparation:

Leading up to your trip, stay hydrated and get extra sleep. Hydration can help with altitude sickness and jet lag. Talk to your doctor about medications that could help you along the trip, whether that is sleeping pills or pain medication. Bring your own snacks for travel. Although indulging in local cuisine is a great part of travel, the healthier you can eat, the better you will feel. To help with pain management, don’t forget your ibuprofen and heating pad.

Post-Pandemic Travel: 

Some of us may be traveling for the first time in two years, and you may feel a little rusty. Give yourself some extra time at the airport and plan for delays with parking, checking bags, and security. As the whole world wants to get back to traveling, there is expected to be a record number of travelers this summer. Prepare for additional costs as inflation is on the rise and travel costs have skyrocketed over the past two years. Find a protective mask that you will be comfortable in for long periods of time and make sure you bring some hand sanitizer. Remember to be patient and kind to airline staff as they are experiencing the universal staffing shortages too. Most importantly, enjoy your time traveling! You deserve a big trip after all this time at home!

Some of these tips may seem like no brainers, but proper preparation for a big trip can make the world of difference.  It’s a big world, and with so much to see, there is no time like the present to plan your next experience. Contact us at Amy Noel, Inc. to discuss your travel goals or to swap travel stories. Bon voyage!

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. 

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