1) Visit your physician before you leave
A visit to your doctor is a must before you travel anywhere. Your doctor will conduct a thorough health check-up to ensure that you are in good condition to travel. If you plan to visit foreign places, you might also need certain vaccinations before you start traveling. Your doctor is the best person to advise you on the precautions you need to take before and during traveling.
2) Get a timetable for your medications
Let your doctor know about your travel plans and ask if any change in timetable or dosage is required. If you are going to cross time zones, it is imperative to make a new timetable for any medications you might be taking. This is very important because a change in the time zone could alter your health considerably. You can also ask your doctor to give you a list of foods you need to avoid so that they do not interfere with your medications.
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3) Carry all your medicines and hand sanitizers
The places you visit might not have medical shops that sell the specific drug that you need. Always carry enough medicines and some extra ones in case of emergencies. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is best while traveling on a crowded bus, train or plane. Use it before eating and also in between to prevent unknown and unnecessary infections. If you are flying, carry them in your carry-on bag to avoid loss or damage.
4) Research about the place you are visiting
Even if it is for a wedding, make sure you know the climate and nearby areas of the place. This way, you can carry appropriate clothing and also plan short excursions with family. In case you are going to an unknown place, look for senior-friendly hotels with lesser stairs, elevators and wheelchair ramps. You can also research the nearest hospitals or medical facilities, in case of any emergency. Some tour operators also specialize in older adults’ travel and they consider all your needs.
5) Take travel insurance
If you are traveling by air, rail or you have booked your tickets through private travel agents, make sure you have opted for travel insurance. It helps in any case of missing luggage, theft, or any type of mishap during travel.
6) Do not overpack
Make sure you pack your luggage wisely. Stuffing things you might not even need may only increase the burden of carrying an extra load around. Always consider the possibility of having no coolie or helper at the destinations you are traveling to and pack with minimum but necessary items.
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7) Take frequent breaks
In the case of road travel, it is imperative that you should take frequent breaks and stretch/exercise your legs. Sitting for long periods of time with your legs dangling down can lead to a serious issue of blood clots forming in your veins and blocking the blood flow. This condition is more common in older adults and is called Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Take walks in flights after certain intervals. Try getting down at railway stations when traveling by train.
8) Keep yourself hydrated
Many people make the mistake of drinking lesser water during traveling as they are afraid of frequent urination. This is a problem more common during road travels. Older women especially tend to drink lesser water during road travels as they might not get proper facilities for relieving themselves. This practice, however, leads to dehydration and fluctuation of serum electrolyte levels, making you weak and unfit for travel. Always carry water with you and drink regularly, even if you are not feeling thirsty.
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9) Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
Older adults should avoid the intake of coffee, tea, soft drinks, alcohol and smoking and use of other tobacco products during traveling. These items cause dehydration and might make you edgy and nervous.
10) Plan your itinerary wisely
A holiday packed with plans is likely to drain you out completely. Plan your itinerary in a way that you have enough rest between events. In case you are traveling abroad, factor in a day or two of rest to overcome jetlag. Do not forget to carry your camera, though!
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11) Eat well
Visiting a new place always opens exciting new food possibilities. If you are a food-lover, this could be heaven for you. However, older adults should take into account their weakened immunity and other medical conditions before trying out new foods. Avoid eating seafood, uncooked/undercooked/raw foods, peeled fruits and vegetables, and unpasteurized dairy products. Avoid eating at open food buffets and do not eat street foods. Drink bottled water.