Winsett: Safety travel tips for seniors

Winsett: Safety travel tips for seniors

July 14th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Q. My parents are retired and enjoy travel. Their safety and security is always a concern while they travel. What tips may BBB provide?

A. Retirement should be a celebration of the conclusion of a successful career and the raising of a family and afford retirees more time to spend with family and loved ones.

Travel is often a desirable way for retirees to spend these golden years, but it can be stressful due to financial and health considerations. Better Business Bureau reminds seniors that with appropriate planning the stress may be minimal.

Whether you enjoy the mountains, the bright lights of big cities, the beach, historic sites, cruises or traveling abroad, the possibilities are endless. With a little planning and determination, enjoyable and safe vacations are obtainable.

BBB offers the following tips for retirees to enjoy travel:

  •  A small budget does not mean travel is out of the question after retirement. There are travel locations and options when you are on a tighter budget. One suggestion; retirees with flexible time, can travel off-season to avoid peak prices. Family-operated businesses can help with saving money as well as staying away from tourist traps. Try out a trip calculator to help determine how much you need for your trip and plan accordingly.
  •  Start With Trust®. Check out accredited travel agencies at bbb.org. Senior tour groups are a good option when traveling. They are a great way to make new friends and see new places. During your vacation with a tour group, you will have plenty of time to sight-see, shop, and explore without having to plan your trip yourself. Tour groups also plan your itinerary with the best things to do in the area you are visiting.
  •  Knowing what to pack, and what not to, is half of the battle when traveling. Use a checklist to make sure nothing is forgotten. Along with clothing, don't forget other essentials, including medications. Expensive unnecessary jewelry, handbags, electronics and other items should be left at home. Exceptions may be a smart phone, camera and wedding band.
  •  Let family or friends know your full itinerary; when and where you are traveling, including arrival and departure dates. It is also a good idea to scan travel documents in case they are lost or stolen. Hide money in different spots around your person to ensure that pickpockets or criminals are unable to take everything by stealing a purse or wallet.
  •  The "buddy system" is a good tool to keep you safe on your trip because being alone while you travel can make you vulnerable to accidents, theft or worse. You should consider traveling with at least one other person. A tour group is an answer to that option if you don't have anyone else to join you on the vacation.
  •  Be aware of surroundings. It can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of visiting a new place, as the culture and the sights can be very distracting. Remember that safety comes through awareness of surroundings. Never leave tour groups outside resort areas and always use tour buses or hotel vans for transportation rather than local taxis to stay safe.

Travel insurance is an option to consider for vacations. Travel insurance is good protection for a wide variety of things on your trip. If required, reimbursement of lost luggage, delayed air travel, or getting your money back if you become ill in the middle of the trip and return home. When looking at the types of travel insurance available; read the fine print carefully. Be sure to bring the travel insurance information on your trip so you have all the information available if a claim is necessary.

Visit bbb.org to view consumer and business tips.

Jim Winsett is president of the Better Business Bureau in Chattanooga.

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