Senior Travel

Safe and Budget-Savvy Travel Tips for Seniors

By Sheila Olson 3/18/2019 6 minutes

Are you feeling some wanderlust but not sure how to make the most of your travel budget? It can be hard to discern who’s offering a good deal and who’s a scam artist. On top of that, when you’re away, you can feel more vulnerable while surrounded by strangers and without your home turf. Below is advice for planning a getaway without going broke or falling victim to fraud.

Make Careful Plans

Scheduling a vacation is exciting, but it’s very important not to let the anticipation of getting away lead you to snap decisions. When making travel plans, Medicare suggests researching travel-related businesses carefully to avoid getting into trouble. Check web addresses as well as phone numbers and mailing addresses before investing in tickets or making reservations. Also, it’s smart to check with the Better Business Bureau as well so you can ensure the company you’re thinking of using is valid and reputable.

You should also prepare your home before departing for your trip. Unplug appliances that don’t need to stay turned on, adjust your thermostat to 85 degrees in warm weather or 55 degrees in cold weather, and avoid buying food that will expire while you’re away. These precautions will cut costs and allow you to feel less worried about your home during your vacation.

Booking Flights

If you can, try to book a nonstop flight to your destination. It reduces your risk for missing a connection, and you avoid transferring luggage. Ask for an aisle seat as well, especially if the flight is lengthy. This way, you can avoid navigating around other passengers and seats if you wish to stretch your legs or need something during the flight. If you have a disability concern, some airlines allow you to select special options on their webpages at the time you book your flight, while others require you to make a phone call. You can always request a wheelchair from the airport itself, and USA Today notes that you can call ahead to reserve a chauffeured buggy for easy transportation through the airport.

Be forewarned, however, if you’re booking flights via the internet: some airlines appear to offer senior discounts, but pricing is actually the same as for other travelers. Examine pricing carefully to ensure you get the best possible deal. Be especially careful of any websites claiming to offer free tickets. This is likely a phishing scam as there is no such thing as free airline tickets, and you are best off avoiding clicking on anything claiming otherwise.

Planning Your Itinerary

Sometimes, figuring things out as you go is part of the fun, and sometimes it’s preferable to buy tickets and make reservations in advance. Throughout booking your trip and while away, Retired Brains recommends requesting senior discounts. Depending on what you’re plans are, another idea is to plan an all-inclusive trip, such as to a resort or cruise. One note of caution: You should make sure the atmosphere is what you expect before making arrangements. Spending your vacation with college kids on spring break might not be what you have in mind.

Sharing Your Itinerary

Once you complete your reservations, print and save your travel itinerary and share the information with a trustworthy family member or friend. Make copies of any related insurance information, as well as visas, passports, medical information, and emergency contacts. That way, if you run into any trouble while you’re away or paperwork is lost or stolen, you have someone you can connect with who knows your details and can help from home. And when it comes time to pack, keep those documents on your person, and pack your medications in a carry-on bag so you ensure you have them with you.

While You’re Out and About

Being away from home can be an absolute blast, but you want to make sure you always know where you are and how to get back to your main location. Money Crashers recommends keeping your phone on you at all times, and use the GPS function to help you navigate in unfamiliar locations. Be alert to common travel scams as well, especially if you go abroad.  Don’t let anyone touch you or try to sell or give you something on the street, and ask for fare prices in advance of boarding a taxi or shuttle bus.  

Getting away should be exciting, not fraught with worries. Make your plans carefully and be cautious when traveling. You can enjoy a safe trip and stretch your dollars by playing it smart.

Sheila Olson

Thank you for this post. I found it helpful. I will check back later for more great content. I also found some good information here Anyway, keep up the good work and I'll check back later to read more amazing material.