When it comes to going on vacation, the last thing most people want to think about is safety. The simple reason for that, is getting away from it all is supposed to be a carefree and fun experience. Still, the truth is that we must keep safety top of mind because we’re the only ones in charge of making sure we’ll get back home in one piece.
Unfortunately, one group that is often a target for predators and criminals is senior citizens. Because of this sad fact, I thought sharing some travel safety tips for seniors would be a good idea.
How Seniors Can Stay Safe While Traveling
Know before you go
Before booking any trip, learn about the destination you will be traveling to. Most destinations will be just fine, but there are some that could pose a threat to tourists. Your best reference for travel advisories and warnings that you should be aware of is https://travel.state.gov/destination. The website breaks down threats by four levels. These levels are:
- Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
- Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
- Level 3: Reconsider Travel
- Level 4: Do Not Travel
Obviously if a travel advisory for the destination you want to visit says “Do Not Travel,” something is either going on in that area or has happened that has deemed it unsafe. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to these travel advisories, as no vacation is worth risking your life over.
Try not to travel alone, and be mindful of your surroundings.
Predators and criminals are significantly less likely to prey on groups. The more people in your group, the better.
Regardless of how many people are in your group however, you want to keep an eye out for possible threats. Don’t go into dark alleys, and if you feel uncomfortable in an area, leave it immediately.
Enroll in STEP
STEP is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, and it is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It’s the best way to stay in contact with family and friends back home in the event of an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. It also helps you receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
Have all travel documents with you on your trip, and make copies of them.
Pickpockets are everywhere, and if you are the victim of one, you want to ensure you have extra copies of important travel documents. These are things like your passport, your flight information, and even your emergency contacts and the name and address of your hotel. Keep a copy of these things in every piece of your luggage. Odds are you’re unlikely to have all of your luggage and your wallet stolen, so having copies in everything helps ensure you have them.
Your passport must be valid at least six months after the date of your scheduled return. Many countries will not allow you to travel if your passport will expire within six months of when you are planning to leave. In fact, if your passport only has six months of validity, some countries will not even allow you to pass through customs!
You’ll also need to check and see if the destination you will be visiting requires a travel visa. While many places only require a passport for entry, others want more information, and to do a background check before they permit you to visit.
Medical Issues Can Also Be A Safety Concern
Get a medical checkup before you go
First, you want to check in with your primary care physician about where you’re traveling about two months before your vacation, to determine if you need any vaccinations. Some destinations require things like Typhoid shots and Hepatitis B and C vaccinations.
The other reason you want to check in with your doctor is to make sure you’re healthy enough to travel. The last thing you want is to get into a situation where you need medical attention in a foreign place.
Speaking of medical attention – if you require medications for travel, ask your doctor to fill them prior to your departure. Many of the medications you may be on might not be available in other countries, and if they are you have no guarantee they are up to the standards you’re used to or even the right dosage.
It’s also important to be aware that most health insurance plans will not cover you in a foreign country. You may need to purchase additional health insurance for coverage, and it’s a good idea to get travel insurance as well.
On another note, if you have trouble with mobility, or use a wheelchair, you’ll want to find out if the place you are visiting can accommodate you. Not every destination is as concerned with taking care of the disabled, or the lesser abled. Therefore, you need to know whether or not getting around will be possible.
When you’re ready to book your perfect getaway, I hope you will think of Ingenious Travel. We can help you create the best vacation for your needs and budget. Call Ingenious Travel at 888.695.0321, today!