Solo travel, or traveling alone, is not a new concept. It has been all the rage among the young, but more and more seniors have grown fond of going on adventures alone in recent years.
There are many good reasons for seniors to begin traveling alone, but ensuring seniors are safe wherever they are is very important. By planning ahead of time, seniors can have a greater peace of mind, knowing they always have a safety net to fall back on when they hit a snag on the road.
Are you planning to help your seniors travel alone safely? We have put together a comprehensive guide with 7 to-dos to assist them on their senior solo travels.
Senior Solo Travels: A Guide for Care Providers to Assist Their Seniors When Traveling Alone
Should Seniors Travel Solo?
With more free time after retiring, many seniors see solo travel as a must-do on their bucket lists. Should seniors travel solo? It depends. Some people prefer to travel alone, but others find it more fulfilling to have companions.
Whatever it is, solo travel is all about rebooting seniors’ lives, allowing them to shake things up after a long, arduous working career. Several see traveling as a great way to try out things they have never done before due to busy schedules and obligations.
By traveling alone, seniors can reimagine their lives, expand their horizons, immerse themselves in new experiences and cultures, explore new interests, learn something new, make decisions independently, and gain more confidence along the way. Overall, solo travel is a good reason for seniors to break out of their comfort zone and rediscover happiness in foreign lands.
Tips for Care Providers To Help Seniors Have Safe Solo Adventures
Conduct A Pre-Trip Assessment
Assessing your senior’s overall health is the first step. Even if your parents nag that they can travel just fine on their own, make sure they are in good health and physically capable of traveling alone. The only way to find out is to undergo a full-body medical checkup at least 2 weeks before the scheduled trip. The physician’s counseling will give you a clearer picture of your parents’ health to determine whether or not they are ready to go a long distance without you. Getting flu shots and any other relevant vaccinations is another measure to keep your parents safe, especially if they plan to set off during flu season. Keep in mind that your seniors might be required to get certain vaccinations when traveling internationally. Check the website of the United States of Health and Human Services to be sure.
Create A Budget Plan
Even if your seniors have already set aside money for their traveling needs, a budget plan is necessary to keep their journey in order and prevent overspending. As things may not always go to plan, don’t forget to make an emergency fund to cover any mishaps. Help them create a list of expenditures and allocate the estimated costs for the following expenses:
- Transportation — Remember to budget for plane tickets, train tickets, bus tickets, parking costs, taxis, shuttle buses, public transportation, vehicle rental, etc.
- Accommodation — Research discounts and deals and go through online reviews to confirm their legitimacy. Traveling during off-peak seasons can help save lots of money on accommodations.
- Activities — Aside from free festivals and events, search for a list of attractions to do and their entry fees. Set aside some money for hiring a tour guide if your seniors aren’t familiar with the place or don’t speak the language. Prepare another portion to cover the deposit when renting a bike, a scooter, or a paddleboard.
- Food — Indulging in local cuisines and delicacies is another fun benefit of traveling. Unless your seniors don’t mind spending more on food, remind them not to eat out every day. Help them prepare snacks and light meals for quick eats on the go.
Take Out Travel Insurance
Travel insurance protects seniors from the unknown, whether they are traveling close to home or far away. Unexpected losses and events sometimes may cost an arm and a leg, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Aside from financial security and immense peace of mind, another benefit of having coverage in place is that it comes with full-service support. Dealing with inconvenience in a foreign land can be frightening. 24-hour support can be a huge relief for seniors, with a representative on the line day and night to assist them in sorting out problems related to their trips.
Plan The Destinations
Destinations are the center of travel plans. Discuss potential ideas with your seniors, help them decide their destinations, and suggest must-see sights and attractions. Of course, it is all about your seniors’ liking, but remember to keep your inputs neutral and only raise concerns when they insist on visiting a high-risk location. Check for travel advisories to learn more about the risks of each destination. Booking a cruise is a good start if you are concerned about their safety. Besides being a much safer alternative to on-land travels, a multi-trip cruise is perfect for older solo travelers like your parents to sail around the world while enjoying catered meals, world-class services, and exciting activities on board.
Prepare An Emergency Plan
An emergency plan is crucial for seniors’ safety and comfort when away from home. It keeps them safe when a disaster strikes. Plus, it helps them stay calm and provides a sense of control before help arrives.
- Remind seniors to stay vigilant during their trips and closely monitor their surroundings.
- Create a list of contacts, including family members, friends, caregivers, and primary health providers. Don’t forget to include the emergency numbers of the destination, including the consulate or embassy, emergency services, and hospitals.
- Share the travel itinerary with the contact list to ensure that all of them know about the travel plan, including flight details, accommodations, and planned activities.
- Establish a daily check-in routine to stay informed of their current traveling.
- Gather and secure essential information in a file, such as medical records, dosage instructions, current prescriptions, and pre-existing conditions.
- Make digital and physical copies of passports, IDs, medical insurance, and driver’s licenses.
- Research emergency evacuation plans of where they are traveling and inform them about it before the trip.
- Assemble a first aid kit for injuries.
Since most seniors are on multiple medications, managing their prescriptions is a need. You will never know what will happen during senior solo travels. Aside from stocking extra medicines, research and create a list of healthcare resources (pharmacies and hospitals) at their destination to prevent unforeseen events when they run out or lose their prescriptions. Contact their doctor for extended prescriptions if your parents plan to go away for a long vacation. Packaging medications in multiple places to ensure your parents can always reach for them when needed, including check-in luggage, carry-on bags, and backpacks.
Pack Communication Tools
Packing essential communication tools and tech gadgets, such as smartphones, laptops, Bluetooth trackers, and GPS tracking devices, is a smart way to keep your parents safe when doing senior solo travels. A smartphone is a handy computer that allows seniors to access a broad range of information with a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Let’s not forget that it can store many digital copies needed for their travel itinerary. Smooth communication helps to keep everyone on the same page, stay informed about the travel plans, and beware of any changes. Bluetooth trackers prevent valuable items from being stolen, while a GPS tracking device tracks belongings and notifies seniors’ families of their whereabouts.
If you have questions about senior solo travels or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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