With more and more seniors acknowledging the importance of staying active, mobility has become an increasing imperative for Americans after retirement. Finding new ways to move can help with aches and pains and even mood disorders such as depression. And there is no better way to explore new avenues than by traveling and especially off-season when the kids are back in school and the pace is more enjoyable.
Retirement can bring a whole new outlook on life for many seniors, especially if travel plans are involved. Unless you’re going across the country or travel internationally, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to see some amazing stateside sights, but you will need to plan for safety. While driving can be great mental exercise, traveling means spending time on the road at night, in all kinds of weather, and with other drivers who may not be as safety-conscious as you. It’s important to know your vehicle and have an idea of what route you plan to take ahead of time.
If you’re going to fly, there are other safety and comfort issues to consider, such as arranging for any medications you’ll need during the trip and having easy access to your money and passport at all times. Keep these items in an inconspicuous place such as a concealed lanyard wallet. Purses and back pockets are handy targets for thieves when traveling abroad. Think ahead by wearing slip-on shoes for security check-through.
Here are a few additional tips to help you stay safe on the road.
Have your vehicle serviced
Have your vehicle serviced before any road trip to make sure everything is in good working order. This means having the fluids topped off, tires filled to the correct pressure, windshield wipers checked, oil changed, and any other routine maintenance taken care of. It’s also a good idea to check that there’s a spare tire and tools in the trunk; if you’re traveling in fall or winter, have a couple of thick blankets, road flares, a heavy-duty flashlight, a jug of water, and a small bag filled with snacks in case of emergency.
Driving can be tricky when Mother Nature throws her best at you, so navigate wisely during any kind of weather and don’t take risks. Leave the cruise control setting for long stretches of dry highway and stick to manual speed regulation on slick roads where conditions can change without warning. Knowing the car is taking care of your speed might even become a distraction in itself. You can read more about cruise control and its potential dangers here.
Make sure your headlights are on dim when it rains or snows and find a safe spot to pull over if visibility becomes a concern.
Taking a trip after retirement can be a great way to bond with your spouse or family members or just to get away from the routine of everyday life for a little while. With the right amount of preparation and a good plan ahead of time, you can take a trip you’ll remember forever.
Avoid road fatigue and find the right place to hang your hat by staying at a local bed and breakfast inn
Driving can be exhausting, especially if you aren’t used to taking long trips. It’s important to take care of yourself and stop when you’re tired or hungry. Make plans to stay somewhere overnight to break up a long trip. Small bed and breakfast establishments are a particularly wise choice for seniors, especially when it comes to safety. Guests will find helpful innkeepers who can assist with everything from luggage to the best local places to shop, dine and enjoy the sites. You’ll find that on-site personalized service is a plus and the value is excellent compared to frequent nickel-and-dime hotel “add on” charges. Some B&Bs also offer first floor or disabled access accommodations, so be sure to ask if that’s a consideration. And, not to be missed, is the delicious breakfast, amenities such as afternoon tea or coffee, a cookie jar nearby, and many times, afternoon snacks and beverages. If you’re taking your vacation in Colorado, check out the Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of Colorado Association where you can look up inns across the state and print out a directory online or order a free State B&B Guide.