Seniors are registering for cruises and travel adventures in increasing numbers. Cindy Antrician, Public Affairs Manager for AAA Allied Group in Dayton, Ohio, notes that, “We are all living longer, healthier, more productive lives, and we are seeing many more ‘multi-generational’ groups traveling with grandparents. We all have the need to experience new places and learn about new destinations. Seniors nowadays have more income that they are willing to spend on enriching experiences and memories. They have worked hard all their lives and feel they deserve to travel while they still have their health.”
So, where and when do these seniors travel?
Sarah Rosenberger, Travel Consultant at Central Travel and Ticket (Spring Meadows office) agrees that grandparents (and great-grandparents) are “traveling like crazy,” because many of them have the time and the money (and the curiosity) about the rest of the world. “They really value travel,” she insists, “and they are willing to go everywhere. I’ve had seniors traveling to Egypt and Cuba, as well as more regional spots. They really see travel as a learning experience.” Cruising is always great for seniors because travelers have a floating hotel, restaurant, hospital, and entertainment venue in one place, with exotic ports of call to explore as you step off the ship. “‘Small ship cruising’ is becoming very popular,” Ms. Antrician explains, but she recommends that seniors considering such vacations should check that the ship has elevators and a doctor on board in case of an emergency. Patty Hicks, Regional Travel Sales Manager for AAA Club Alliance in Northwest Ohio, has several recommendations for seniors considering travel. “Many seniors are looking to travel to the beautiful and historic cities in Europe. But they must remember that the streets in many of those cities are made of cobblestone and are very uneven, preventing luxury buses from getting to the heart of these major cities. Walking tours may traverse uneven streets over several blocks to get to major attractions. Seniors need to be in good physical condition and should check with their doctors before they travel to make certain that they are fit to travel. Seniors should have a list of the medications they are taking, in case some meds get lost. Place medications in a carry-on bag or purse instead of a checked bag, which could get misplaced.” She also recommends Travel Insurance which protects travelers from unforeseen circumstances that could force seniors to cancel or interrupt trips.
Both travel experts advise that travelers of any age use reputable websites, and be wary of sites that ask for large deposits or full payments up front, or if the details of the itinerary seem sketchy. Both recommended traveling with a group, or with at least one companion. The companion helps with the expenses as well as sharing the experiences, conversations, and memories, and can also serve as an advocate if an issue comes up. Long-time world traveler and travel planner Rick Steves has a website full of good advice for senior travelers. Among his suggestions: Keep a copy of passports and airplane tickets; take extra hearing aid batteries; take extra glasses; include a magnifying glass for maps; take a full supply of prescriptions in original containers; check how your health insurance works overseas—Medicare is not valid outside the U.S. except in limited circumstances. He recommends checking on the availability of evacuation insurance, which will pay for moving a traveler to a hospital in the case of emergency. Watch for senior discounts (museums, restaurants, taxis, etc.) and senior activities (dances, parties, speeches, etc.) to participate in the life of the senior residents. There are so many places to go and so many sights to see…hope these tips help you to plan.