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Smart Travel Tips for Seniors Traveling Alone

Traveling is a wonderful experience at any age. For seniors, the freedom to travel can be one of the joys of retiring. Of course, whether you want to take a series of short trips or a larger journey, planning it all out is crucial.

With solid planning, you can protect your wallet, stay safe, and feel freer to move about and explore the locales you're eager to visit. While spontaneity can be a welcome part of travel, preparation usually means you can make the most of your time away.

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01Purchase cancelable travelers insurance

senior tourist taking a selfie dardespot / Getty Images

Travel insurance protects you against a serious monetary loss if your plans have to be postponed or canceled. To make certain you have full protection, pick up an insurance package that allows you to cancel your trip for any reason. As the last years have proven, the unexpected can happen; with robust coverage, you can recoup what you have already invested if plans change.

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02Make sure your medications are accessible while you travel

Man taking prescribed medication PeopleImages / Getty Images

When you pack for your trip, take care to think about how you package any medications you need to bring along. Having enough for the duration of your travel is just one consideration to make.

If you travel by air, keep medicines in their original containers and in a carry-on so they're quickly and easily accessible if you need them.

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03Pack light for easier travel

Senior woman packing suitcase kumikomini / Getty Images

Traveling with lighter luggage can ensure there's less stress on your body during lengthy tours through airports and to and from hotel rooms. This may seem like a minor matter at first, but you'll appreciate a lessened load if you have to make a few treks from your gate to get food, use the bathroom, and browse the duty-free.

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04Secure comfortable lodging

Senior man paying for hotel eclipse_images / Getty Images

No one wants to stay in a cramped, uncomfortable hotel room, even if they have the space to themselves. With that said, finding the right lodging means more than just reviewing amenities.

The importance of location is hard to overstate; if you are far from certain destinations you want to visit, you may find yourself passing on them. Location is especially important if you plan to do more walking during your trip.

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05Keep your phone charger with you

Woman on phone in cafe ljubaphoto / Getty Images

Our phones are important to travel: they can hold flight information, provide navigation in a new city, and help you find activities around your destination. This major convenience can quickly become a major inconvenience if your battery dies while you are at the airport or away from your hotel. Make sure you also charge your device each night to prevent trouble, and consider carrying a portable charger or at least bringing your regular charger with you on your daily outings.

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06Be a little wary of the wi-fi

Woman using laptop at a cafe adamkaz / Getty Images

Countless measures have been put in place in recent years to protect your digital data, but that doesn't mean you can completely forget about the potential dangers of the internet. Different countries have different rules around wireless connections, so consider brushing up on these specifics before you go.

If you have enough data on your phone, consider using it instead of the wi-fi offered at random shops throughout your destination, but don't be over-cautious; taking advantage of the wi-fi at your hotel or airport can save you money and is probably a safe practice. Just consider keeping extremely sensitive transactions — such as transferring money or sharing your SSN — off the wireless waves.

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07Let your bank and credit card company know you are traveling

Senior paying with credit card cometary / Getty Images

Avoid the stress and embarrassment of a suspended debit or credit card by letting your bank know you're traveling, especially if you haven't traveled much in past years. You can share both where you will visit and how long you will be away. Though a wrongful freezing of your account can often be corrected with a quick phone call, being proactive can keep this issue from coming up.

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08Enjoy travel destinations in the off-season

Woman taking selfie on vacation Drazen_ / Getty Images

Once you retire, you have more control over your schedule. This means you can shape travel plans around times when other tourists are less likely to be around. Hitting your favorite spots on their respective off-seasons means easier flight and hotel arrangements, less-bustling must-see excursions, and even potential savings.

It is also an opportunity to see beloved and much-photographed places at times when many others will not, creating a more singular and memorable experience.

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09Study the map before you head out

Senior man checking phone before hiking simonapilolla / Getty Images

Taking the time to study the streets and nearby landmarks on your phone or physical map before you leave your hotel each day can help shorten travel distances so you can fit in more activities. If you are planning an outdoor trip, a review before you leave can help you take in more sights and find rest spots in case you need breaks.

Some apps allow you to download the maps you need so you don't have to rely on a data connection to find your way.

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10Create physical backups of important documents

Confused man at airport SolStock / Getty Images

The small details of travel can be the farthest from your mind while you are in the midst of your vacation. This helps you stay in the moment, but it can also lead to the loss of an important document.

In addition to a digital copy, consider making physical backups of documents like airline tickets and hotel information, to protect yourself from potential conflicts. For vital documents that cannot be replicated, like your identification, make sure you keep them close at hand and out of easily lost or stolen bags.

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