Prior to Travel:
- Make sure you are up-to-date on all of your necessary vaccinations, especially when traveling overseas.
Some destinations may require certain vaccinations before departing, in some cases – up to six weeks before you leave.
- Inform your healthcare provider of your plans and excursions and discuss any specific travel precautions you should take.
- If you are on daily medications, ask your healthcare provider about whether you should switch to the local time zone or stick to your usual home time zone, as well as if there are any cultural foods that may interact with your medications.
- If you or someone you are traveling with is physically disabled, be sure to arrange the necessary accommodations prior to departure. Airports offer wheelchairs and other wheeled devices to assist in your travels, but it is best to plan ahead and know exactly how to be granted these special requests to avoid any confusion or delays. It is also good to speak directly with someone from your hotel to address your needs and make sure all of your reservations offer handicap accessible features.
- Keep a written list of all medications, dosages, and medication times from your healthcare provider or pharmacist. This will help with any issues passing through customs or if you lose your medications and need to get replacements. Make two copies; carry one with you and keep one in your suitcase.
- To protect yourself from deep-vein thrombosis, or blood clots, try to avoid sitting or long periods of time as much as possible. Some research finds wearing special “compression stockings” can help prevent this damage, but consult with your healthcare provider if you are scheduled for a long flight, train or car ride.
- Stay hydrated. Older adults are particularly prone to dehydration. If you are flying, the air inside of planes can be very dry. Bring a large bottle of water or ask for some every time a flight attendant offers a drink. Once you arrive at your destination, it is important to make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water on a regular basis. It is easy to fall short when you are out of your home routine, but this will keep you feeling hydrated and energized and minimize your chances of falling ill while traveling.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Older adults are more susceptible to sunburn, so try to stay in the shade as much as possible during peak hours and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen at all times. It is also important to check all of your medications for sun-related warnings, as some may further increase sensitivity to UVA and UVB rays.
Tips courtesy of healthinaging.org and nyp.org.
Photo courtesy of traveltips.usa.com.