According to a survey conducted by AARP in March 2022, 67 percent of Americans aged 50 and older are planning to travel in 2022. That’s up from 54 percent in 2021 and a sign that travel is rebounding to near pre-COVID-19 levels.
While safety is still somewhat of a concern, those in the 50-plus bracket say they’re planning an average of four trips in 2022.
So, as the weather warms up and suitcases are dusted off, here are five tips to make your next trip a successful one.
While it’s tempting and easy to overpack for vacation, seasoned travelers have some go-to tricks for deciding what to take and how to pack.
It's helpful to set out all your clothes before you put them in a suitcase to determine what can be worn more than once and what you can mix and match. When it comes to actually packing your selected items, VMRC residents and avid travelers Dave and Joyce Eshleman recommend placing each outfit in a separate 2.5-gallon bag and removing the air before sealing it up. Dave said, “We always use the clear bag method when packing—it makes it easy to see what’s in your suitcase and if you’re flying and your luggage is selected for inspection, it’s a lot easier for the TSA screener to check.”
Be Mindful of Medications
Make a list of the prescriptions, supplements and over-the-counter medications you take, as well as your healthcare provider’s contact information, and keep it in your carry-on or in a bag you intend to keep on your person.
Should a medical need arise, having this information readily available can help ease anxiety and speed the process of receiving necessary treatment.
If you’re traveling in a different time zone, it’s a good idea to ask your medical provider if you should continue taking your medicines in your home time zone or if you should switch to the local time zone.
Quality over Quantity
Choosing one or two sights to visit each day allows you the time to enjoy the places you’re visiting without being rushed and gives you some downtime throughout your vacation—it is a vacation after all! You can also make your sightseeing visits more pleasant by planning your outings for later in the day to avoid large crowds and enjoy cooler temperatures.
This same principle of quality over quantity applies to time spent in the car each day. Ann Sebrell is a VMRC resident and frequent traveler. She said, “We always limit our drive time to a six-hour maximum per day with a stop every 2 hours. We’re retired, so have the luxury of spreading out travel to make the trip a lot more enjoyable!”
Traveling by Air
If your vacation includes flying, and you intend to check luggage, take the time to plan ahead. Most domestic airlines have a 62-total inch limit (length plus width plus height) for a checked bag and a permitted weight of 50 pounds per bag.
When choosing your carry-on, make sure it doesn’t exceed 45 inches. When it comes to packing your carry-on, it’s a good idea to keep all valuables, medications, basic toiletries and a change of clothes with you. If your checked luggage gets delayed or lost, you’ll still be prepared.
Dave and Joyce Eshleman frequently travel internationally and recommend keeping your passport with you at all times. Joyce said, “We like the REID under garment neck pouch. It can also be used to safely carry your credit cards and extra cash. As an extra precaution, we like to make a copy of the picture page of our passports and keep it in a secure part of our carry-on.”
Make Your Trip Work for You
There are a lot of ways to make your trip easier and more convenient. If you know you’ll need groceries where you’re going, consider scheduling a grocery pick-up ahead of time. You’ll save time once you’re to your destination and can meal plan, too.
If your plans include a hotel stay, take advantage of services offered. Many hotels provide complimentary shuttle service to nearby attractions or restaurants, saving you time and possible parking fees.
Download a travel app ahead of time. There are a host of apps available designed to make your vacation go smoothly. There’s iExit which tells you what restaurants, hotels and attractions are at upcoming exits. Or, check out Glympse to share your location with fellow travelers. Select from your contacts and give them permission to view your location for a set amount of time. See more travel apps here.
Bonus Tip…Have Fun!
Wherever your travels take you this summer, enjoy your time away!
Dave and Joyce Eshleman have traveled to more than 25 countries together. Most recently, they enjoyed a cruise that started in Fort Lauderdale and went through the Panama Canal and up the West Coast of Seattle.
Ralph and Ann Sebrell are frequent travelers whose favorite destinations include Portugal, Wales, Guernsey in the Channel Islands, New England, San Francisco and Hilton Head Island. In September 2021, they reprised a trip they had first taken ten years earlier on the Windjammer out of Camden, Maine.
Sources used for this blog post:
Levy, Vicki. 2022 Travel Trends Survey. Washington, DC: AARP Research, March 2022. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00513.001
Marak, Carol. Best Apps for Road Trips. May 2022. https://seniornews.com/best-apps-road-trips/
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