If you were born between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Vietnam War, you are a Baby Boomer. Some Boomers have taken early retirement already, and others are on the verge of this new chapter in their lives. 'Travel' is at the top of the list for many.
Planning Your Trip
Your travel itinerary should be part of a careful process. Plan a holiday with plenty of 'you' time. You should finish every vacation feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Baby Boomers are generally quite fit when compared to our ancestors. However, increasing numbers of obese or overweight adults are plagued with bad backs, high cholesterol levels, and fragile knee joints.
Don't just pick a cruise and pack your bags. Keep your interests and physical limitations in mind. If you are a swimming fanatic, you might want to try scuba diving. However, asthma would preclude a scuba vacation. You might have to settle for snorkeling instead. If you have a bad back, don't plan to go hiking in the Andes.
The older you are, the less likely you are to have a comfortable night's sleep. Try to find a hotel or bed and breakfast with memory foam mattresses and soundproof walls.
When booking your room, ask the reservations desk if they offer discounts for seniors. Some lodging establishments will provide a substantial discount as early as age 55. Don't consider yourself 'old' just because you are 55. Think of some fabulous Baby Boomers like Suzanne Somers, Donald Trump, Sylvester Stallone, and Dolly Parton. They all celebrated 60th birthdays in 2006.
Apply for a passport at least 6 months in advance if you don't already have one. Some countries will not allow you to cross their borders with a passport that is near its expiry date. Contact embassies or do some research online so that you are aware of current regulations.
Check with your physician to see if there are any activities you should avoid. Your doctor can also advise you regarding immunizations, give you prescription refills, and provide photocopies of crucial medical information. Many countries will only allow clearly labeled prescription medications where the name on the bottle matches the passport. If you require supplies like alcohol swabs and other support products, purchase them ahead of time. You may not be able to locate what you need in a foreign country.
Be aware of the coverage provided by your current medical insurance policies. It may be prudent to purchase extra insurance for unexpected (and uncovered) contingencies such as air evacuation.
Travel activities can cause swollen feet. Sensible, comfortable footwear that is one width wider and 1/2 size larger than usual is advisable. Never pack brand new shoes or boots.
Sleep disturbances become more frequent as we age. Pack some foam earplugs so you won't have to worry about your partner's snoring, creaking floorboards, or disturbances in the hallway outside your room.
Many of us find that foods we used to enjoy now cause symptoms like gas, cramps, or constipation. At home, we can compensate by watching what we eat. However, when dining in restaurants, we are often faced with unfamiliar and exotic fare that can wreak havoc with the gastrointestinal system. Pack a bottle of digestive enzymes. They are available in big department stores like Wal-Mart, as well as pharmacies and health food stores.
A small memory foam travel pillow can cradle your head while you nap onboard the plane - or it can provide relief from a sore back if you put it between your knees while you sleep at night.
Keep your hands free when you go on tours. A good backpack is the key. Shop around until you find a comfortable pack that is easy to put on and remove.
Each day before you leave the room, check the weather forecast and dress accordingly - in layers. If you get too warm later in the day, you can peel something off and put it in your backpack.
Your backpack can also be used for meds, your travel pillow, a bottle of water, and other essentials. Valuables and important papers should never go in the pack, however. Keep them in a next-to-skin money belt (zipper side in) with only small amounts of cash in another easily accessed wallet or pocket.
Fresh water is crucial. Proper hydration will keep your energy level at optimum and prevent that old travel bane - constipation.
Wherever you go, whatever you do, wear a smile and be polite. A cheerful attitude will be infectious and will transform your time away from home into a truly happy, memorable experience.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathy Steinemann writes for several websites, including 1st Rate Articles: http://1stratearticles.com/ - 111 Travel Directory: http://www.triple1.com/ - and 1000 Tips 4 Trips: http://1000tips4trips.com/ - a site with over 1000 travel tips.
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