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Traveling during the holidays for anyone is an absolute chore – the long lines and crowds in the airports and train stations can truly zap you of your seasonal cheer. And for senior Americans, these hectic scenes can create some tricky obstacles. Thankfully, with a little bit of preparation your trip can be a smooth ride from beginning to end. So, whether you’re heading home to see the grandkids or jetting off to the warm beaches of Florida, consider these tips for senior traveling during the holidays.
Know Your Plan
For all the modern comforts in the world, air travel is still a jumbled and confusing experience. Layovers, time changes, delays, and transfers can make your head spin just thinking about it. In order to avoid any confusion during your trip, spend time beforehand studying your itinerary. As opposed to heading straight for the ticketing counter, airlines allow you to print off your boarding pass at home, saving you time and effort. Keep in mind that the recommended airport arrival time is two hours prior to departure, so as to give you ample time to get through security and settled comfortably at your gate. If you have a non-direct flight and have to make a plane transfer, it would be helpful to review the airport’s layout, so you can more quickly navigate to your next terminal. You can also set up transportation plans well in advance so that you’re not trying to hail a cab in a sea of hurried travelers. Really, anything you can do to visualize your entire trip will make it easier when you embark on it.
Security checkpoints are already a headache, but you can alleviate that pain with simple preparation. Airports require a government issued photo ID card along with your ticket, so be sure to bring a driver’s license, an ID card, or a passport with you, and have it out and ready when you approach the checkpoint. Additionally, if you have any medical equipment that requires documentation, be sure to have printed copies of that handy, too.
There always comes a time in travel prep when we ask ourselves, “Do I really need all of this?” The answer is almost always a simple no. If you’re travelling with any physical limitations, your best bet will be to aim for fitting all your belongings into a rolling suitcase or shoulder bag to fit in the carryon compartments. You’d benefit greatly by checking to see what your airline’s bag size policy is so you don’t get stuck having to check a bag and lug it to and from baggage drop and claim.
Before leaving for your vacation, check with your doctor and pharmacist that you are fully filled on all your needed prescriptions. Once you’ve confirmed, it’s most convenient to place all pill bottles, vials, or application tools in a quart-sized plastic bag. This should be kept on your person at all times, preferably in a travel bag or your carry-on luggage. If you have any emergency medication, be sure you have a safe place to stow it near you on the flight, as it can be difficult to reach a bag in the overhead bin during the journey. It’s also important to carry copies of your prescription information so that you can seek a refill at your destination in case you’re separated from your medicine.
Ask for Assistance
The airport or train/bus station may seem intimidating and crowded, but it’s full of helpful employees who would like nothing better than to make sure your trip goes smoothly. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure of the next move, look for any TSA or airport agent for assistance. They can also escort you to your gate, and give you extra time as you make your way onto the plane.
The holidays are a great time to reconnect with family and friends. While it does mean doing so in a large crowd, there are easy steps you can take to alleviate any stress. Just make sure to prepare early, have a solid plan, pack lightly, and ask for help if needed. Following those few steps will ensure you and your family a worry-free experience.
Reducing worries by planning ahead is an excellent choice, but what if you haven’t planned? In situations like travel and retirement planning is key but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck in high water if you haven’t taken the time. For example, if you still maintain a life insurance policy you no longer need, did you know you can sell all or a portion of your life insurance policy for an amount greater than the cash surrender value? Life settlements (also known as viatical settlements) can provide the extra income you need for whatever you’ve got planned in retirement. Visit Life Settlement Advisors today and learn more.
Harold, age 81, has been concerned about outliving his financial resources. He and his wife, Betty, are on a fixed income and Betty has dementia. Harold is her sole caregiver.
Harold decided to sell his life insurance policy and us the proceeds of $85k to hire an in-home care service to help with Betty.
Life Settlement Advisors