Safety is always a top priority when travelling. Travel plans and routes should be laid out properly to ensure a good well-being, especially when travelling with older people.

Pre-trip Planning for Seniors. Recommended steps to take before travelling with seniors:

  • Seek advice from with your travel agency. Some of them may offer services that accommodate the needs of travelling seniors.
  • Familiarise with the medical facilities and medical equipment rental available in your destination.
  • Learn about the geographical and demo-graphical factors such as climate, language, and culture. Buy a guidebook and read it before you go.
  • Make arrangements for wheelchairs, healthcare equipment, guide dogs and seating needs well in advance.
  • Arrange to have a travel health insurance with pre-existing illness coverage.
  • It is advisable to go on a package tour if you have any health concerns.
    Pre-trip medical check-ups for seniors

Suggestions include:

Going through a complete medical check-up before travelling, especially if you chronic conditions like heart disease or hypertension, or if you have recently undergone surgery or experienced a heart attack. Report all your health concerns such as dietary changes and the possible impact of different eating habits on your specific condition. Diabetics will need proper instructions on how to safely continue their medications to fit a different time zone. Getting flu and pneumonia vaccinations before you go on your trip is advisable. Getting a complete round of vaccinations is recommended if you are planning to visit areas where infectious diseases are present. Consult your dentist before the trip and visit all the healthcare professionals you regularly consult.

Regular Medications for Seniors

Some medications that are legal in Australia may be illegal overseas. Consult the Australian embassies in your destination countries to check.
Take enough regular medication with you to last the entire trip. The prescription medication you use, you may not be able to access overseas if you run out. Therefore purchase extra prescriptions and bring a signed notice detailing each medication. Ask you doctor to list any pharmacy counter medicine to bring along.  The dosages of some medications may be different overseas to the brands you are familiar with. If you need a syringe to administer your medication, take enough syringes to last the trip. In case you need urgent help, a medical alert bracelet or pendant that contains your medical would be very helpful for proper diagnosis. Your doctor should be able to advise you on the options available.

Your Luggage
Suggestions include:

  • Make sure your carry-on bag contains all essential items needed for the duration of the flight.
  • Items such regular medications, painkillers, antacids, and band-aids should be included in your medical kit.
  • Travelling while on medication could make you forget taking your medicine on time so it is advisable to use a pillbox with compartments for different days of the week.
  • Pack a spare pair of glasses and bring a pedicure kit for any minor foot problems.
  • Declare and label any custom instruments you have such as a heart monitor
  • Taking suitcase with wheels can be very convenient

Taking Care of Yourself While on Holidays
Suggestions include:

  • Give yourself time to recover from jet lag. Jet lag effects may be lessened if you fly west instead of east.
  • Drink bottled water to be safe especially if you are unsure of the water supply.
  • Don’t forget to include plenty of rest breaks on your itinerary. Avoid filling it up with exacting activities.
  • When bathing in communal showers, wear thongs to reduce the risk of infectious skin diseases.
  • Seniors cards may get you ticket discounts at museums and other attractions.
  • Diarrhoea may reduce the effectiveness of your medications. Consult with a doctor if you have diarrhoea for more than one day. Your Australian embassy can provide you with a list of doctors.

Safety Suggestions for Travelling Seniors
Senior citizens are usually easy victims of thieves and pickpockets. Suggestions include:

  • Avoid travelling at night.
  • Don’t display your expensive jewellery.
  • Bring a wheelchair, walking frame or walking stick if required, to assist in fall prevention that can lead to serious injury.
  • Wear a belt under your clothes that can keep valuables such as traveller’s cheques and credit cards safe.
  • A dummy wallet can be very helpful in the event you get mugged. If you get mugged, you can hand over the dummy wallet and avoid further distress.
  • Always keep the Australian embassy contact information with you the whole time. If your destination does not have an Australian embassy, find out which other country’s embassy for assistance.

Important Reminders

Consult your doctor for a complete check-up before going on a trip, particularly if you have a chronic medical condition. Ask your doctor for a letter of explanation if you are taking large amounts of medication with you. Get a travel insurance with pre-existing illness coverage.
Arrange to go on a package tour if you have any health concerns.