Tips for Traveling Abroad
It’s summer and traveling season. Here are some tips to keep you safe and help you have a great time. for more information tune into my travel videos under the Video section of the website.
While traveling is supposed to be a relaxing time, it can create stress and take a toll on your body. Ensure stress-free air travel on your next getaway with these tips for seniors:
BOOKING YOUR TRIP
When booking your trip, make any requests you may need, such as expedited boarding, extra legroom, wheelchair assistance, or onboard oxygen. Your airline can typically accommodate air travel requests from seniors if you give advance notice.
PACKING YOUR BAGS
There are different size and weight restrictions for checked and carry-on luggage, so weigh your suitcase before getting to the airport. Leave valuables and extra items at home; travel as lightly as possible so you won’t be burdened by extra weight.
PROTECTING YOUR DOCUMENTS
Make extra copies of any documentation you may need, such as your ticket, boarding pass, itinerary, passport, driver’s license, Medicare or insurance card, or prescriptions. Keep a “spare set” of documents in your luggage and make sure a friend or a family member has a copy, too.
GETTING THROUGH SECURITY
Alert security if you have anything that may require alternative screening. Wear comfortable shoes that you can easily slip on or off. And always keep your medications in your carry-on bag to avoid confiscation. Some airlines will grant family members an “escort pass,” allowing them to accompany older passengers through ticketing and security as well as see you off at the gate.
WAITING FOR THE PLANE
Once you get to your gate, verify that your plane is still scheduled to depart from there; if it has changed, ask for assistance. Always keep your carry-on items with you and take them with you if you get up to walk around. If someone is meeting you at your destination, call them as you’re boarding to let them know your actual departure time.
FLYING ON THE PLANE
Dress in layers to prepare for unpredictable temperatures. If your flight is lengthy, move around occasionally to reduce the risk of blood clots.
When traveling abroad always arrive at the airport 3-4 hours early and leave plenty of time to get to the airport because you never know what the traffic conditions will be. There could be an accident, congestion, you name it. My recent trip home from Paris, France, I arrived at the airport 4 hours early, checked my bags and stood in the customs line for nearly 3 hours, then had to go through security and almost missed my flight. Yes, I sprinted to my gate as they were calling my name and I was the last person on the plane. Things work much more efficiently in the States than they do abroad.
Never, ever, ever take or pack anything of value in your luggage. Even if you lock your bag, airline personnel has access. Always carry on your valuables, that includes medications ( in case your bag is lost – this happened to me in Israel and I had to go to a pharmacy and get my medications, not a pleasant experience). Carry on your jewelry, and keep your identification with you at all times.
Take clothing that is wrinkle free or the wrinkles will steam out while you are in the shower. I recommend taking Downy Wrinkle releaser with you since clothes get wrinkled in the bags. DO NOT take nice clothing when you travel. Only take items that you don’t care if they get stolen or ruined. Why? On my recent trip home from Paris, a direct flight mind you. I arrived home and no bags. They delivered them the next day and to my dismay, half of my clothing was missing. Yes, they had cut off the locks, and went through my bag and helped themselves to my nice, expensive clothing. Live and learn.
Be aware of your surroundings – Many foreign countries have bands of gypsies or gangs that will surround you, distract you and steal your wallet, or they will come up behind you and slice the strap to your purse and they are off. This happens often on public transportation systems. Leave your expensive jewelry at home, dress down so that you are not a target.
Always have copies of your identification, credit cards, itineraries etc and leave some cash in your hotel room so that if something happens to you, you have cash to get you by and you have copies of identification information to share with the authorities. Leave copies of your itinerary at home with family along with a copy of your passport, drivers license, and credit card information. Happy travels.