May 22, 2024

As a Boomer reaching retirement age, you may look back at your time backpacking in Europe right after college with fondness. Now that you have some time on your hands, you may want to enjoy carefree travel again. With time and money at your disposal, you can travel the US or travel the globe at any age, but health, terrorists, and the economy can potentially make your post-retirement trip a bit different than the one you took at 22. Traveling can be fun, but when you travel at 65 in this day and age, there are some considerations you must keep in mind, especially for foreign travel.

Age is no barrier to travel, but your health and condition may determine where you choose to go. Backpacking may have lost its appeal. If you can’t walk long distances or are confined to a wheelchair, you need to check how accessible your chosen destination will be. This information can be obtained from your travel agent or from web resources like Reids Guides. If you have dietary restriction or a sensitive stomach, make sure to check out the meal choices of your travel destination, eat wisely to prevent eating unsafe foods, and stick with bottled water.

Regardless of your general health, you need to be prepared for unplanned emergencies when you travel. Take along your medications and copies of prescriptions that include generic alternatives in case you lose your medication or run out, and carry a medical alert card if you have allergies, diabetes, or other health conditions a physician needs to know before treating you. Be sure to check your insurance coverage, especially for foreign travel. Some policies provide foreign coverage, while other policies may have limitations. You can prepare by purchasing a travel policy, which may include Med-vac services to get you home quickly in case of emergency.

The events of 9/11 changed travel forever. Those events and subsequent acts of terrorism have spawned invasive security checks and limitations on what you can pack and carry on flights, and have generally made airline traveling more inconvenient and stressful. Coupled with this, many airlines have added baggage fees, eliminated meals, and increased fares in an attempt to keep up with rising All of this means that you have to prepare more carefully for air travel than in the past, whether you are flying a few hundred miles to Las Vegas or a few thousand miles to China. Going by plane is the quickest way to get to where you’re going, so be sure to get the airline early, prepare yourself for some longer security lines, and pack light.

Once you arrive at your destination, you want to feel safe.┬áMake sure to research the political climate of where you are going in advance and do plenty of research about how to be safe in that country. Though you may want to travel inexpensively, pick a safe, secure hotel rather than the least expensive one. Leave your high-value jewellery at home. If you want to see how the “real people” live outside of common tourist areas, make sure that you travel in a group and ideally, with a local guide. Always have your passport with you, watch your purse or bag, and stay alert.