7 Tips for Healthy Travel During Retirement

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    Planning to Help You Stay Healthy While You Travel
    With more free time, many people begin touring the world after they retire. But traveling is never fun if you’re feeling sick. That’s why it’s important to plan not only your destination and activities, but also to think about how you can stay healthy while you travel. From refilling prescriptions and managing disabilities to getting vaccines and preparing for the unexpected, planning ahead can help you enjoy your time away from home with safe and healthy travel.

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    1. Visit your doctor before you leave.
    Especially during your senior years, it’s important to make a doctor’s appointment before you take a trip to make sure you’re healthy enough for travel. Talk about where you’re planning to go and what you’re planning to do. Your doctor can make recommendations about activities so you won’t aggravate any medical conditions you may have. She can also talk to you about any disabilities or other limitations you will need to consider while you’re away from home.

  • Senior man receiving shot in the arm
    2. Get up-to-date travel vaccines.
    Depending on your vacation destination, you may want to get additional travel vaccines before making the trip. Particularly if you’re traveling internationally, where some diseases may be more common than in the United States, it’s wise to be vaccinated. While there, it’s also a great time to update all of your immunizations like shingles, pneumococcus, and influenza. Be sure to get vaccines well in advance, especially if you’ll need more than one dose before you leave. However, talk with your doctor about whether vaccinations are safe for your overall health or whether a vaccine could interact with other medications you may be taking.

  • Germany, Munich, Bavaria, Group of passengers in economy class airliner, smiling
    3. Carry your prescriptions on the plane.
    If you’re flying to your destination, be sure to pack your prescriptions in your carry-on bag. You don’t want to worry about your medication in the event of lost luggage. Your medication must be screened, either through the X-ray machine or inspected by hand, and you should have your prescription label with you in case your state requires it. You don’t have to put liquid medications in a zipper bag no matter the amount, but be sure to let the TSA officer know you have it before screening begins. For added peace of mind, consider asking your doctor for hard copy refill prescriptions in case of theft or baggage mishandling.

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    4. Research how to fill a prescription.
    It’s best to bring with you the entire amount of medication you will need while traveling if possible because it may be difficult to get a refill while you’re away from home. However, if you forget a medication or don’t bring enough, you wouldn’t be the first person to have to fill a prescription while on a trip. If you’re traveling in the United States, call your doctor and ask him to send a refill order to a local pharmacy. Many insurance companies don’t pay for drugs you buy internationally, so be extra careful to pack enough medication if you’re traveling abroad.

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    5. Consider buying medical travel insurance.
    Call your insurance company before you travel to make sure it will cover health problems that could arise while you’re away from home. If it doesn’t, you may want to buy supplemental travel insurance to take care of your medical needs. You may be able to do this through your regular insurance company. There are also options to buy short-term travel medical insurance plans. Be sure to check whether the insurance will cover your needs while you’re out of town, including international travel if you will be leaving the United States.

  • Senior woman on scooter
    6. Be mindful of disabilities.
    You don’t have to stay home if you have disabilities, but you will need to keep them in mind while planning your trip. If you have chronic pain or get tired easily, plan activities that won’t overexert your comfort level. If a health problem gets worse with temperature, air quality, or other environmental factors, make sure you research weather and other conditions that could trigger a flare-up or otherwise affect your enjoyment of the vacation. Call ahead to the airport or your travel destination to find out whether equipment like wheelchairs are available.

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    7. Pack a healthy travel kit.
    There are always smaller things that arise while traveling, so bringing a travel kit with health supplies is a good idea. Pack hand sanitizer and over-the-counter medications, such as painkillers and fever reducers, decongestants, motion sickness medication, antidiarrheal medication, and an antacid. You can also bring an allergy medicine, although if you have a severe allergy, you may need an epinephrine autoinjector for an emergency. If you’re traveling to a country where malaria is common, get a prescription to prevent this disease. And don’t forget sunscreen and bug repellent.

Travel Vaccines & Prescriptions | 7 Health Travel Tips for Seniors

About The Author

Ashley Festa is a Greenville, S.C.-based freelance writer and editor who has been writing professionally for nearly two decades. In addition to Healthgrades, she also has written for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, the University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Fit Pregnancy magazine.
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 5
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.