Jim’s Tips for Senior Travel

Dec 10th, 2009 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Well, I said in an earlier blog that I would focus on some good ideas for senior travel, primarily tips and hints from an experienced tour leader.  Note that I did not say “guide” but leader.  While I have served as a guide (I fired one who was a total washout), I prefer the seat of a leader.  Here are a few ideas that I always wanted my groups to follow to keep them healthy and enjoy the trip.  

  • First keep up your water and fluids intake. Many travelers worry about diarrhea which can be a killer for spoiling your trip.  I always was more concerned about constipation as traveling can dehydrate your body quickly.  Carry bottled water with you and drink plenty.  Hopefully your transport will have a bathroom on board.  I know of other leaders who refuse to take a group unless there is one on the bus.  Most world travelers know what to carry with them; they pretty much take care of themselves.  Don’t hesitate to ask advice of friends who travel a lot.
  • Medications.  Be sure to take along a written copy of each prescription in the generic format, in the event you need a refill on the trip.  Be sure to let your tour group leader know if you have a particular need or allergy.  I had a lady read me the “riot act” at a dinner in Marseilles because she was allergic to walnuts.  Walnuts were on her salad.  She angrily told me “You knew that I was allergic to walnuts and there they were!”  I apologized to her as I did carry a complete listing of all the meds that each traveler was taking.  The others in the group simply suggested… Well don’t eat them then!  Good advice but she was still quite unhappy.  Incidentally I always insisted on carrying a copy of everyone’s passport as well.  It paid off more than once for me… and for them as well.
  • There are a host of items that can help to make your trip more pleasant that do not require wanting to return home wishing you had brought them along with you.  Many seniors, for example, have fear of falling.  I learned that several of my travelers carry a small rubber mat for the shower so that they do not slip and fall. A good idea. 
  • As a group leader I always carried my little black bag of goodies that included a glasses repair kit, band-aids, scotch tape, an extra padlock with two keys (I always insist that everyone keep their suitcases locked up in their hotel room…just in case). 
  • Experienced travelers have their Loperamide (brand name Imodium AD) that is a commonly used over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine.  The BRAT formula is well known for treating this malady: eat bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast and avoid alcohol and spicy food for two days.  Lomotil is a precription drug that works well but be cautious as it is NOT a harmless drug and can be habit-forming.  Take exactly as prescribed. 

We are just getting started on senior travel and the next blog will go on with many more suggestions and tales of successes and failures of a tour group leader as well as many great Internet links.  Don’t miss it.  JEB



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