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9 Tips to Stay Safe When Travelling

Retirement can often open the door to exciting new opportunities – especially when it comes to travelling. Without the limitations of work or family responsibilities, many people take the opportunity to visit destinations they’ve been dreaming about for years.

Despite being capable and experienced, those over 60 should give their safety and health a little extra attention to ensure there are no unwanted holiday disruptions. Here are our top 9 tips to stay safe on your next trip.

1. Team up

From cruises to tours, there are a multitude of group travel options available these days that cater for almost any requirement. Group travel means a tour guide is always on hand to help navigate foreign cities, provide information about local customs or translate important information.
Group travel can also be a great way to meet new people, share experiences and reduce any anxiety you might experience in a new country. When joining a tour solo, ask your travel agent to schedule flights to arrive during daylight wherever possible, and have transport to your hotel arranged.

2. Plan ahead

It’s easy to get overexcited about a holiday destination, but don’t forget to consider the practicalities too. It’s worth thinking through your itinerary before you go, flagging anything that could be a potential challenge.

Exploring on foot is an essential part of any holiday, but certain destinations will involve a lot more walking than others, and there might not be alternative transport available. If you intend to get out into nature, ensure you don’t underestimate the amount of walking involved for your fitness level.

3. Pre-holiday check-up

Visiting a doctor on holiday is never pleasant, so it’s worth having a quick check-up before you leave. After getting the all-clear to fly, stock up on any prescriptions you may need for the length of the trip. Depending on the destination, travel vaccinations may be required as well.

It is important to note that certain medications may require a doctor’s letter to be transported through customs.

4. Ensure you’re covered

From pick-pocketing to medical emergencies, unfortunately incidents do occasionally happen on holiday, so a good travel insurance policy is vitally important. Medical costs can be exorbitant overseas, so ensure your policy provides full coverage in this area.

As there are a number of different policy options, it is worth having your travel agent walk you through the options so you can be confident you are fully protected. Always have a family member at home keep photocopies of your passport and insurance details, just in case.

5. Fly with confidence

Take care to stretch regularly on long flights and, If possible, request an aisle seat to allow for ease of movement. To arrive at your destination refreshed, keep well hydrated throughout the flight, and avoid alcohol.

As checked in luggage can sometimes be misplaced, keep any important medication and documents in your hand luggage.

6. Watch what you eat

Tasting new and different foods is an exciting part of any holiday, but be aware that hygiene standards might not be the same as you are used to at home. Ask your guide for restaurant recommendations, and always look for the busiest restaurant as the food is likely to be the most fresh.

Be mindful that a change in diet can lead to digestion issues, so don’t get too adventurous too quickly! It doesn’t hurt to pack some precautionary medication if you have a sensitive stomach.

7. Be aware of your surroundings

Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded areas like markets and busy streets where pickpockets may be operating. Be cautious when strangers approach, especially if they come very close and try to distract you, or make an unusual request. The best tool you have for identifying scams is your intuition.

8. Watch your wallet

Unfortunately, there is always the risk of theft while on holiday, especially in areas crowded with tourists. Try to keep your clothing conservative and avoid wearing expensive jewellery as this may make you a target for thieves. Only keep a small amount of money in an easily accessible purse or wallet and store extra money in an under-garment pouch of in your hotel safe.

When withdrawing cash from the ATM, it is safer to do so during daylight hours, and always take a buddy with you. Check your insurance policy for the safest way to store other valuables.

9. Relax and enjoy

Finally, make sure you have enough down time between activities to fully relax and recharge. Travelling is never without its risks, but with a little preparation and awareness, nothing need disturb your much-deserved holiday.