By Sharon Wagner
Traveling safely — whether it’s to a different city or a whole new country — can be an issue for many seniors, who just want to take advantage of the freedom they have in their retirement years. It can be difficult to ensure your health and financial security when you’re away from home, and many seniors fall prey to scammers and fraud during travel that can leave them vulnerable to theft and issues that could have a lasting effect on their savings.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do as a senior to ensure safe travel, no matter how far from home you are. Start with a good plan is key, as this will allow you to find the right help with booking your trip, and it will also give you time to pack and save spending money. Working out a budget is also important, and you’ll want to be realistic about how much you can spend.
Choose an Inexpensive Destination
There are many inexpensive destinations to choose from, especially if you’re staying within the US. Many areas cater to tourists above the age of 55, making it easier than ever to book a trip that won’t break the bank. Do a little research to find the best place for your travel needs, and look for bargains on everything from your entertainment to your mode of transportation.
Check with the BBB
One of the easiest ways to avoid potential scams when traveling is to check with the Better Business Bureau before making any decisions about travel agencies, rental companies, and hotels. They can help you stay away from potential issues and keep your money safe and sound at the same time. This is especially important when you’re booking things online, as there are many websites that look legit but are actually fraudulent.
It can be difficult for many seniors to stay comfortable while they’re traveling, especially if there are health or mobility issues present. Wear loose, layered clothing to avoid becoming overheated and to prevent clotting issues when sitting for long periods of time. You can wear compression socks to help stimulate your circulation, which is often employed by those living with diabetes.
Food and snacks usually take up a big chunk of the budget when it comes to traveling, but you can avoid overspending by packing your own. Look for small, healthy snacks that can be eaten throughout the day — such as mixed nuts, dried fruit, raw veggies, and cheese and crackers — and book a hotel room that has a kitchen area so you can prepare some meals there rather than eating out. Not only will this help you save money, but it will also allow you to eat healthy meals while you’re away from home. Look for a grocery store that’s in the area but away from touristy spots, as this will save you quite a bit of money.
Ask About Discounts for Seniors
Don’t be too shy to ask for discounts! Many businesses offer special deals to seniors — from reduced parking rates to a percentage off a hotel stay — but they may not automatically add it to your bill. Look online for some of the most popular senior discounts available for your age range, and keep these in mind when booking your trip.
Taking a trip can be great fun, especially if you’ve recently retired and are looking for new ways to explore your free time. Keep in mind that there are many ways to stay safe and save money, starting with a good plan to ensure that you aren’t left with a nasty surprise on your credit card bill. With some careful preparation, you can take the trip of your dreams.
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