Although the golden years aren't exactly the same as they were in our 30's, there is still a lot left on the bucket list. Time to make plans as the birds fly south and the down comforters come out of storage.
Location, location, location as they say, is the most important. Whether you are looking for a warm spot like Sedona, AZ or Miami, FL, you want to choose the location that offers the best amenities for your particular needs.
Call ahead. If you plan to stay in a hotel/motel, determine what is the best room for you. Do you need a refrigerator for certain meds or foods you may need to bring? Do they have a downstairs room available if stairs or elevators are a problem. Is there public transportation or are shuttles or taxis accessible? If staying in a resort, be sure the food is affordable as well as conveniently located. Eating out three meals a day can be costly. Continental breakfasts can often mean that you may need only one meal out, when complimented with snacks throughout the day. Water is also an important consideration. You may have to purchase bottled water.
Transportation concerns range from traveling by air, rail or car. Is there wheelchair access? Walkers or canes can be a concern as well, so calliing ahead is a way to prepare yourself and your travel carrier. If you will need assistance on and off, advance notice makes sure your trip goes according to plan.
Heaven forbid you should have a medical emergency while traveling. But from experience, I can tell you, it does happen. Whether an accident or medical problem, it is best to have your insurance cards handy. If you have a specific provider, check the area's local hospital or your insurance provider to make sure they are in your network. Having this information ahead of time, allows you to be confident in an emergency that you or your loved one will be cared for.
These days cash is a challenge to carry. Think about using a debit card and keep track of your "swipes". This keeps the threat of theft down to a minimum and keeps you conscious of your expenditures. You can also load a Visa card with a pre-set amount of money. Be sure to take phone numbers to report a lost card, worst case scenario.
Packing is such a chore and we inevitably carry more than need. Try to pack light. Remind yourself that you will have to carry this at some point. Remember you are on vacation and other than bringing the essentials, you can purchase whatever you need when you arrive. A good pair of walking shoes and one pair of dress shoes, should you decide to take advantage of a night on the town, is really all the footwear you need.
Be comfortable but be smart. Will a lightweight jacket do? Are you going to be out in the weather other than to grab a taxi or jump on the shuttle? How many tops can you find to go with a pair of pants. Did you know that a turtleneck over a dress makes a new outfit of top and skirt? Find ways to combine and compliment, rather than carrying clothing you "might" need.
Planning ahead makes traveling golden at any age. Do you have any tips to share? Maybe a bad experience that taught you a valuable travel lesson? Let's kick a few things off that bucket list!
Images: Flickr by Muddy Funkster