If you were to ask a soon-to-be-retiree what their plans are for retirement, they would most likely say travel. As baby boomers, they’ve been planning for this exciting transition for quite some time and are looking forward to marking off some of those bucket list items.
According to the travel survey that AARP conducted, baby boomers are expected to take at least four trips in 2019. Although more and more seniors are continuing to work past retirement age, there will be plenty baby boomers that retire sometime this year so they can set off on their adventure.
In fact, according to the same survey, 31% of the baby boomers traveling abroad had their trips booked by September 2018. For the domestic travelers who are still in the planning stage, 88% of then have even nailed down their first destination.
If you’re a baby boomer that plans on taking any kind of trip this year, check out these ten tips for traveling.
1. Visit your doctor
Before setting off on your adventure, you should schedule a checkup with your primary care provider, especially if you haven’t had one in a while. Checking in with your doctor will ensure that you are physically ready for your trip.
Also, if you’re traveling internationally, check with your doctor about any vaccinations you might need before your travels. You might even schedule a follow-up appointment when you get back to the states, just to be on the safe side.
2. Refill your prescriptions
While you’re at the doctor’s office getting your checkup, be sure to ask for any refills you might need. Once you have your refills, it’s a good idea to bring along the the number of pills you need for your trip plus a few extra in case of delays.
You’ll want to also leave some of the medication at home waiting for you. This ensures that you will have a back up waiting for you if you were to lose your prescription while on your trip.
Always keep track of your medicines by either carrying them with you or locking them in a safe.
3. Put your medications in your carry-on
If you take medications on an hourly or as needed basis, be sure to store them in your carry-on bag rather than your luggage if you’re flying. If you are traveling by car, do the same. Put the prescriptions in an easy-to-reach spot in the car rather than in your suitcase that’s in the trunk.
Having your prescriptions in a convenient locations can guarantee that you will be able to get to them quickly if needed.
4. Visit a mechanic
In addition to getting your own checkup, get a checkup done for your car as well. If you’re traveling by car, it’s important that your car is up to date on all maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations.
If you set off on a road trip and break down on the side of the road, that could not only potentially ruin your trip, but it could also end up costing you hundreds or even thousands in towing and repair services.
5. Create a vacation fund
According to AARP’s travel survey, baby boomers will spend roughly $1,650 on each trip they take in 2019. Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, that number could easily double. That’s why you will want to have savings set aside for all your vacation needs.
A vacation is much more relaxing when you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of it. If you are constantly worrying about how much money you have available for your trip, you are bound to be stressed the entire time.
Instead of having the constant thought of your bank account in the back of your mind, create a vacation fund that you add money to every month leading up to your trip. Remember to include an allowance for souvenirs too.
6. Pack in advance
Nothing is worse than waiting last minute to pack. Rushing around the house to make sure you have everything you need is a sure way to forget something important. Instead, pack in advance to ensure that you remember both the things you need and want to bring.
Another reason why you should pack in advance is so you can weigh your luggage before going to the airport. We all know that there are usually weight limits for luggage when traveling by plane, so instead of having to figure out a way to lighten your load when you are already at the airport, weigh your luggage to make sure you are under the max weight limit.
7. Check your health coverage
Most baby boomers are enrolling in Medicare right now, so it’s important to know how Medicare will cover you during your travels. If you have Original Medicare, you can see any doctor in the United States that accepts Medicare.
However, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will likely travel outside of your plan’s network and may have pay for the entire bill yourself. This is just another reason why you should get a checkup at your doctor prior to traveling; so, you don’t have to spend your vacation at the doctor spending more than you have to for medical services.
If you are traveling internationally, Medicare plans usually only cover medical services in the case of an emergency. If you’d like health coverage for non-emergency services, you can speak to your travel agent about short-term health insurance.
8. Map out an itinerary
Create an itinerary for your trip with your destinations, scheduled activities, and information about where you’ll be staying. Once you have finalized your itinerary, make a copy to give to your adult children.
Although this tip is mostly about safety and making sure someone knows where you’ll be during your trip, it also helps you, the vacationer, to keep track of where you’re supposed to be and when you’re supposed to be there.
9. Make copies of your travel documents
Along with your itinerary, make copies of your travel documents to give to your adult children. It’s always good to have copies of important travel documents in a safe area in case you need them.
Here’s a bonus tip for you. To keep track of all your important travel documents that you’ll need at the airport, purchase an expandable pocket folder. These are great for organizing your tickets, reservations, and IDs.
10. Protect your information
Scammers and con artists love to target seniors and tourists. Be overprotective of your belongings and personal information. If the hotel you’re staying at includes a safe in your room, use it. Don’t leave any valuables out in the open or even hidden in the room, lock them away or keep them on your person at all times.
Take it from someone who has been on the other side of a theft: it is better to be safe than sorry. Just because your cash is hidden or put away somewhere you wouldn’t think the room service attendants would go, lock it up.
Enjoy your vacation
Above all else, enjoy your vacation. Be happy that you have the means to go on trips because not everyone has that luxury. Whether your trip is meant to spend time with family, relax, or just get a break from day to day life, enjoy it.