Important Travel Safety Tips for Seniors
When you travel abroad, the last thing you think will happen is something bad. Maybe you have been planning your trip for months and you are so excited that you forget one of the most important precautions to take before you leave. No one wants to think about travel safety tips for seniors—focusing on the aspects seems better—but you always need to be prepared.
It could be mistakes like the one I made before I left for Nepal: forgetting, until three weeks before I left, that I needed to update my vaccinations. You could find yourself in the same position as I did with two options: one, don’t get vaccinated and risk becoming life threateningly ill, or two, get seven vaccinations in one week. I chose the latter, received six shots in my arms and couldn’t lift my arms over my head for four days.
So what steps can you take to make sure that you stay safe while abroad and have the best time ever? Let's take a look.
Update your Vaccines Before you Travel
Like I mentioned above, I would rather get six needles than be sick while on vacation. Still, so many people get sick while abroad and most of the time it can be avoided by a simple visit to a travel clinic before you leave.
You can book your appointment at a travel clinic in your area and, while there, a medical professional will ask you which countries you are traveling to. Next, they will provide you with the information on the appropriate vaccinations to travel in that area.
If you are unsure whether you are up to date on some of these vaccinations, you can contact your family doctor. You should try to visit the clinic at least one month before your planned departure date to avoid the conundrum I found myself in.
You can also avoid getting sick by following dietary restrictions that you may not have to worry about at home. If you are traveling to countries in the Caribbean, South America, Asia, and Africa, it is generally good practice to avoid having ice cubes put in your drinks and eating fresh veggies because the water used to clean them may not be safe.
In some countries in these regions, you may also want to avoid eating meat because the chances of contracting E. coli or salmonella are much higher due to low food preparation standards. There are some medications that you can ask your doctor for that will also help to protect you against stomach illnesses, but it is always advised to follow these precautions.
Keep Your Passport and Valuables Safe
It is extremely important to keep your passport and valuables safe while you are traveling because they are your way home. It is a good idea to carry at least one photocopy of your passport stored in your luggage. I never want this to happen, but if your passport was stolen, having a photocopy of it makes the process of getting an emergency one through the American Consulate office much easier.
Petty theft, unfortunately, is a very common crime in tourist areas around the world, but it is easily avoidable. While traveling, I always keep my passport in hard to access places. This usually means burying it at the bottom of my backpack, hiding it in the zippered pocket inside of my purse, or in the zippered pocket inside my jacket. These locations are very hard for a thief to access, and are also good places to keep your wallet or additional cash.
Avoid carrying your passport directly on you if possible. Instead, lock it inside the safe in your hotel room.
Medication is always a fun thing to deal with when traveling, mainly because it takes up space in your carry on and you should never pack it in your checked luggage. Why not? If the airline happens to lose your luggage and you have to take your medication there aren’t many solutions available. So, always carry your medications in your carry-on, in their original, labelled packaging.
While the TSA does not require passengers to have their medications in the original labelled containers, other countries can be much more strict. This is why it is best practice to just keep your medication in their prescription bottles for travel purposes and not in a pill box. You can always separate them into the pill box when you get to your destination.
RFID Blocking Wallets and Bags
One last safety concern that I want to talk about is one that may not be on a lot of travelers radar, but should be taken into consideration. With all of our credit cards, debit cards, and even passports having microchips (also known as RFID), it is very easy for criminals to use technology that can steal this information from us without having to steal the physical card. All they have to do is be in close proximity to you!
This can be an all too common occurrence in big tourist destinations where criminals know there are people with more money. So how do you keep yourself safe from something like this?
Well, there are now wallets, purses, and even backpacks that use special materials in the manufacturing of their products to prevent that sort of technology from working. They are known as RFID blockers. You can buy products like these off of Amazon for as little as $15 and they will keep you safe from scammers while traveling. In addition to this added security, a lot of the bags come with additional measures like zippered pockets on the inside that will help keep your valuables safe.
Traveling is such an amazing experience. Unfortunately, there are certain things that can really make a trip go wrong if you don’t take the proper precautions. By following our travel safety tips for seniors you can travel with more peace of mind, and keep yourself safe. In turn, you'll have the experience of a lifetime that you deserve!