Tips for Travelling Alone in Retirement
Travelling solo around the world sounds like the kind of thing only professional explorers and gap year students would contemplate.
But more and more people are deciding to put the spare time they have in retirement to good use by taking up travel as a serious hobby.
And it isn’t just retired couples who are expanding their horizons – solo travel amongst the over 60s is increasingly popular. There are many reasons why it makes sense.
For one, for people who find themselves single in retirement, away from work colleagues and family-based social circles, it is well documented that loneliness is a major issue, with detrimental impacts on mental health. By travelling, you are guaranteeing you will meet new people and benefit from the new lease of life a fresh adventure brings.
Older people travelling alone have the world at their feet, but should take time to plan appropriately. Here are some tips from a specialist provider for the over-50s.
Somehow it always seems easier to carry more luggage if there are two of you to share the load – think about how much two parents can manage whenf travelling with kids. When it is just you – and, let’s face it, big heavy bags are more daunting now than they were 30 years ago – try to travel as light as possible.
This isn’t easy on long trips, but remember one of the golden rules of travelling light – clothes can be washed. Pack no more than 10 days’ worth of spare clothes, and plan to do your laundry as you go. Absolute essentials include comfortable walking shoes (one pair to wear and a spare), a waterproof jacket or coat, and a couple of warm jumpers. The rest boils down to the usual essentials of money, passport, phone, plug adapters and first aid kit.
Plenty of people remain fighting fit and face no problems travelling up to a ripe old age. Still, it is better to be safe than sorry – visit your GP before you book a trip for a once over, just in case there is anything you should know about. Another good reason to see your doctor is, if you are on any medication, to get a prescription for everything you will need for the duration of the trip.
Traveling light is one thing, but it is much easier (and cheaper) to get medication you need at home and carry it with you.
When you are travelling alone, you really do have to be self-reliant, even if something goes wrong. It is very good advice to be prepared with a list of people you can contact in an emergency, because there may not be anyone there to do it for you. This should include details like local emergency services, doctors and hospitals, and the local embassy or consulate. But also make sure you can get in touch with people back home – and keep someone up to date with where you are.
Once you hit your 60s, getting travel insurance starts to become a little trickier. Because older people are deemed a higher medical risk, you might be quoted extortionate prices, or refused a policy at all. Also, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, this needs to be factored into your policy.
Not every insurance provider is set up to cater for older travellers. This is why it is important to find an insurance provider that provides quality cover for over 60s and medical conditions as you will get a competive quote.