Leisure travel, be it a weekend getaway, a pilgrimage, a visit to friends or family, or a holiday to new places, is a great way to relax. Travel can be fun, exciting and rejuvenating. What’s more it really helps broaden our horizons and expand our knowledge as we discover new places in Sri Lanka and abroad. Irosha Wijetunga of Travel Concepts, has a few tips for the readers of The Senior Station which can help make travelling far more easy and enjoyable for elders.
The first thing Irosha recommends is to evaluate your choice of destination. It is important to consider what you want out of your holiday – relaxation, adventure, discovery, or a spiritual retreat. You must consider your budget and physical capacity as well. For example, discovering new places does necessarily have to entail travelling to far flung places. You will find lots of new places to visit in and around Sri Lanka that can be relatively easy on the wallet and not so difficult to get.
- Avoid peak travel seasons like school holidays when booking your vacation. Tickets and accommodation become more expensive during that time and places tend to be far more crowded
- Plan to spend a few days at each place if you are travelling to more than one location so that you have time to relax and really enjoy each destination
- Cruising is a beautiful way of travelling for seniors where one can experience the world at an easy pace. It’s a trip full of entertainment, as well as an opportunity to make new friends. Tour groups are also recommended especially for those travelling alone.
Some things to remember when travelling overseas:
- Always take a few extra copies of your travel documents with you along with a clearly marked sheet that has the details of a friend or relative to be contacted in unexpected emergencies
- Also carry a set of instructions, checklists or reminders written in bold lettering. This will help you avoid mishaps like losing documents and ensure smooth travel
- It helps to book an aisle seat onboard a plane or train in order to move freely if necessary. Sitting in one place for long periods may cause blood clots, and so flexing your calves and feet, and moving about occasionally would be advisable
- At airports elders travelling with pace makers should not go through metal detectors. Instead they should inform the security personnel so that they can be screened separately.
- Notify security personnel about patients who have diabetes and are carrying supplies such as vials, syringes, jet injectors, epiPens, infusers or insulin pumps. Insulin in any form or dispenser must be clearly identified.
- Never place important medication in checked baggage as they can get lost or delayed. However remember that any liquid carried in hand luggage which is over 50 ml will need to be screened separately. Placing medication in separate clear plastic bags with the details clearly tagged is an idea to consider
- It is also a good idea to include a list of allergies, medication and dosages, just in case a doctor’s visit is needed during your trip.
- Should you require any oxygen, etc. onboard please ensure a formal medical form is signed by your physician and given to the airline at least 48 hours prior to your departure or you may be refused boarding
- Personal wheelchairs, walking sticks and other mobility aids need to be clearly marked. Certain walking sticks may not be allowed onboard so ensure that this is verified with the airline office or at the check-in counter prior to arrival at the gate
- Wheel chair facilities are not meant for the disabled only. Walking in airports can be long and tiring, and all elders are entitled to this facility. The airline must be contacted prior to travel to avail of the facility which includes other airport assistance like carrying your baggage off the belt and taking it to the point of exit. Passengers maybe charged an extra fee for such assistance though
Checking in to a Hotel
- When booking rooms in a hotel, you may want to request for rooms in the ground floor level wherever possible. It makes movement so much easier. Of course one would need to make these requests in advance to avoid disappointment
- Upon check-in always get a card from the hotel with their address just in case you lose your bearings when returning after a tour
- Ensure that you store your valuables in the locker provided
- Also always get familiar with the fire exits as you check-in
- Insurance is highly recommended for travel and health, and most insurance companies provide policies for passengers up to the age of 70 without much effort. For those above the age of 70 however, the options are limited.
- Paying for your air ticket by credit card is one way of obtaining a free insurance policy. It is however important to check with the issuing bank if there is an age limit applicable and what exactly is covered when obtaining these policies
- It is also vital for the policy to be valid for minimum of one month beyond the scheduled return date. This will help if in case your return date is extended due to unavoidable circumstances
On a closing note don’t let planning a holiday seem like a complicated task. Putting everything together can also be a lot of fun. And once these systems and checks are put in to place they are easy to follow through on each subsequent trip. So just decide on where you want to go and never look back!
For more information on travel and bookings of flights and hotels please contact Travel Concepts directly on the numbers below.
TRAVEL CONCEPTS Private Limited
TEL : + 94 11 2793700 / 2793800
FAX : + 94 11 2792137
MOB : +94 772 637997