For many of us, travel ranks highly on our bucket list for retirement; whether that means exploring everything your own country has to offer or striking out internationally.
Chris Grice, who heads up the travel and insurance divisions at National Seniors Australia, has a few tips for ensuring your jet-setting experience lives up to expectation.
“Underpinning every exceptional trip – every cultural high and restful moment – is a bit of core planning and really solid insurance.
“That doesn’t mean abandoning spontaneity, but it does mean you’re protected personally and financially for many more adventures in the years ahead.”
Chris says there are a few key things to consider before you hop on your next plane, train or automobile.
Tip 1: Timing
“There are pros and cons to every life stage. Take advantage of not being locked in to high days and holidays for your adventures and choose the best season to visit your destination.”
You won’t just win on price, but you’ll also be able to tailor your trip to accommodate local events and even your own climate preferences. No coordinating holidays to suit school timetables or co-workers!
And, Chris adds, before you book anything, it’s always worth asking if there’s a special rate for seniors. “Discounts aren’t always well advertised, but they often exist”.
Tip 2: Accessibility
Even if mobility isn’t an issue, fatigue is something everyone suffers when travelling. “Prioritise your accommodation on the basis of its transport links,” Chris says.
“If you’re planning to hire a car, make sure you’re actually allowed to do so before you book anything. Some countries have upper age limits – often not renting to anyone over 75 – and can apply surcharges or request doctor’s notes for older drivers.
“If you’re booking a package, make sure you’re clear on the level of activity throughout – that means how much walking you’re likely to do, as well as how full your itinerary will be. You might want to request ground floor rooms in your hotel and ask for assistance in the airport so you can easily make any connections.”
Tip 3: Insurance
While insurance is something every traveller should have, for cancellations, lost luggage and unforeseen events, Chris says that older holidaymakers need to be extra vigilant when it comes to securing quality coverage.
“Sadly, seniority often brings a host of new medical challenges. You need a policy which accommodates any pre-existing conditions and will cover unlimited overseas medical expenses. It can also be useful to have built-in support in the event of medical emergencies, including locating your nearest medical facilities, arranging evacuation home, and coordinating with embassies.”
“Our own, National Seniors’ travel insurance policies automatically cover a number of common medical conditions but, if yours isn’t automatically covered, in many cases you’ll be able to get optional cover by applying to add them. Crucially, to ensure that you’re fully covered for all eventualities, you must declare all medical conditions when purchasing a policy. If the worst happens, your insurance could be your saviour – never skimp on it.”
Tip 4: Health
The last thing you need is a pair of broken glasses or lost medication – build in contingencies in case of a hiccup.
“Spare glasses, hearing aid batteries and a full prescription of your routine medications – and handy over the counter products – are an absolute must,” Chris advises.
“If you’re flying, make sure you keep them in your hand-luggage. If you’ve ever found yourself trying to mime over the counter of a French pharmacy, you’ll never again forget Ibuprofen! Leave medicines in their original containers and, if you’re travelling internationally, ask your doctor for a list of their generic names (rather than the particular brand you use), so there can be no misunderstanding. It’s even worth checking with the relevant embassy that you’re legally allowed to bring your medicines into the country – find out more at smarttraveller.gov.au.”
“Pack lightly but thoughtfully, including layering options and comfortable shoes. Make sure your luggage is easy to manoeuvre – ideally with wheels; you don’t want to start or end your holiday with pulled muscles or blisters.”
Tip 5: Do it your way
There’s no ‘right’ way to travel or, truly, ‘must see’ destination – only those that are a ‘must’ for you. Enjoy every moment, at your pace and on your terms. Which is where tailored travel comes in.
Phil, from NSW, finds that booking through National Seniors Travel ticks all his boxes.
“It’s very affordable and the consultants understand what you want as a senior person. It’s not that the packages are ‘old’, but they do make sure you don’t end up on drinking trips through Europe!”
To find out how National Seniors can help make your travel dreams a reality, with tailored insurance for the ultimate peace of mind, call 1300 88 37 50 or visit nationalseniorstravel.com.au