Paula Bowlan, program coordinator for independent living at The Village at Gainesville, has been taking seniors on new adventures for almost a decade. Paula says, “Often, seniors feel overwhelmed by the prospect of travel.” She’s heard it all before. “Who will I go with?”, “I’m the primary caregiver for my spouse. Who will help them?”, “What if I need to drive a long distance?” and “How will I carry my luggage?”
Paula has committed her career to breaking down these barriers to travel. Drawing on years of experience, she has created several tips that any senior can use to continue to have great life adventures, no matter his/her age.
Group Travel. Consider finding a group travel company for your next adventure. These companies provide opportunities to socialize with the other travelers throughout your trip and may offer great senior discounts!
Mark Your Luggage. Take the stress out of lost luggage. Denote each piece of luggage, carry-ons included, with a bright, distinctive piece of fabric tied to the handle.
Do Your Research. Make sure you know if your destination requires a special visa, a different currency or will be in a different time zone. You may need to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip to avoid any issues upon your arrival. If your medication is time sensitive, make sure to convert this schedule to the new time zone of your destination. Depending on your destination, you may also need a converter to plug in electronics.
Make a List and Check it Twice. Create a detailed packing list broken down by day. Consider inclement weather and the proper shoes based on how much you will be walking. Keep medications with you rather than in your checked luggage. Include tip money on your packing list for drivers and porters to make sure you have the cash you need.
Ask Questions. This experience is yours. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reach out to the hotel, cruise staff or airline to make sure you have what you need, whether it’s assistance walking, a dietary request or questions about the layout of your room. Request these accommodations early.
Have Backups. If you are traveling internationally, make a copy of your passport in case it is lost or stolen. Make sure you have copies of your prescriptions in the event you leave your medicine behind and need to have the prescription filled at your destination.
It’s never too late to say ‘yes’ to adventure – whether it’s taking the trip of a lifetime, learning a new skill or exploring your backyard. If you’re interested in making adventure as simple as saying ‘Yes,’ you may want to consider if a move to a senior living community may be right for you.