As we age, how we travel is likely to change. Sometimes as you get older or travel with the elderly, you realise there are a few extra concerns when it comes to planning a trip that’s safe and fun, at home or abroad.
Here’s a look at how travelling changes as you get older and how you can help yourself, or those around you, enjoy the experience whilst staying healthy (see my guide on eating healthy whilst travelling here).
When you’re younger it’s more common to jump head first into a new destination and explore as much as you can. Of course, it’s an adventure! As you get older, you may want to slow things down and see a few key sights whilst you’re away and have manageable chunks of activity.
When this is the case, it’s worth speaking to a travel agent or getting advice from a local whose aware of your needs, from limited mobility to medications. Always be aware of where you can get medical help abroad and the right numbers should you need help. If you’re a european citizen, order an EU travel card for easier checks across countries in the continent.
If this sounds like someone you will travel with, help them through the process and see if they need extra support.
Depending on your needs at any age, consider getting yourself thoroughly checked by your GP or doctor for any health concerns. If you already have a known diagnosis, make sure you’re aware of how this works whilst travelling and that you have enough medication for the length of your trip so you can relax.
Importantly, don’t forget to discuss the medical details if you have a chronic disease such as hypertension. Keep the dietary changes in mind and seek help from your doctor on what foods you must avoid. If you have diabetes, get advice on how to adjust your medication in a different time-zone.
If you have no known medical conditions, you still need to check the health warnings for the destinations you’re visiting and schedule getting all of the required injections in good time before you leave.
Something to consider that might not immediately come to mind is checking that medication needed for the trip is legal in your destination; it may be legal in the UK but you need to check it’s status where you’re going.
To do this, check with your GP, research online and contact your home embassy in the host country. Sometimes, the medication is simply not available in the country you’re visiting, especially if you go further into remote areas. It would be preferable to keep all the medications for the trip with you, so plan out the dosage and store them securely.
Packing for your trip
Carefully planning out your luggage can keep you comfortable even if you’re going on a longer flight. To reduce stress and save time at the airport, always make sure you’ve got a light hand-carry bag with all the things you might require at a moment’s notice (this is the same for train and car travel).
Think about keeping a small medical kit and first-aid kit to hand (check for any banned items for flights eg. liquid mls). If you have time specific medications, consider getting a pillbox even if you can manage them at home because it’s good to have certain reminders, especially if you normally have a nurse or helper who is not going along.
If you wear glasses, keep spares with you.
Going to new places and trying new delicacies, or just simply letting go, can make it easy to deviate from any diet plans. It’s important to strike the right balance and be mindful of what you should and shouldn’t be eating.
If you have allergies or food that doesn’t agree with you, it’s inadvisable to ever consume it and could ruin any trip if there’s a chance it could make you feel unwell in an unfamiliar setting.
I hope this post is useful whether some of the points apply to you, or someone you know, or are planning to travel with. This article was written with insight from Chris Palmer who regularly shares advice on elderly care. In particular dementia and supporting your elderly parent. You can find more by Chris on: https://www.agespace.org/.
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