Seniors: On Our Way to Where?

Mar 4th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Travel these days has become a more intimidating likelihood for us seniors.  Where can one choose to go when so much upheaval is happening in the world?  How can one be comfortable that travel to a specific destination at a specific time will not be interrupted by a major cataclysmic event? 

Much website traffic comes to our Senior Travel columns.  Our Travel Editor at SCJ, having traveled so much himself, is well familiar with places to go, things to see and do.  However, no one can predict political unrest, weather disruptions and other influences on making plans to go to some long desired destination. 

While keeping up with both international events and weather patterns, surprises still are lurking out there.  Who could have imagined that New Zealand, that idyllic of all places, would be beset by a major earthquake, striking at the very heart of the country?  How many reservations had to be canceled at the last minute?  What did travelers do, how did they fare who had already arrived on the scene?

The Middle East, for obvious reasons, is surely not a place to expect to journey to in the near, or perhaps, long term.  Political unrest is as bad as and as unpredictable as weather related episodes. 

Travel agents are likely wringing their hands these days in attempting to offer options that may be fairly safe and danger proof. Some parts of  Mexico come to mind.  However, who knows when another outbreak of the drug wars will be sparked? Pirates on the high seas have put the fear of traveling in small groups at risk.  Floods, landslides and other naturally generated disasters come without a whisp of warning.   Those alerts which do come are often too late to rush to escape.

Consequently, planning a long dreamed of vacation or holiday is harder and harder to do.  Pressed with all of these realistic dynamics, seniors today must use prudence and foresight before laying out any travel  plans. 

Cautions are clearly given by US sources and others which indicate the dangers of travel, usually for political reasons, to other lands.  Abiding by those is a must.  The United States State Department provides reassuring assistance to seniors thinking about travel worldwide.  The online website encourages seniors to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which then provides you with current information about travel to any country/continent you are considering.  SCJ believes all senior citizens thinking about travel to foreign countries should enroll in this very important program that ultimately could mean the difference between a pleasant holiday and a tragic-unexpected experience. 

Delaying travel to any part of the world having even a hint of disruption should be heeded.  Unless you are a journalist who enjoys being in the thick of things, stay home. 

Use your imagination for travel excursions that may not have reached your Bucket List yet.  Look at places closer to home,  but avoid storm seasons.  Canada, Nova Scotia, perhaps Iceland, which has had its own issues with its finances, may be options.  Decide how ready you are to go to cities you have never visited in the U.S. Look at tourist sites, e.g. Williamsburg, or Presidential museums or historical sites, and many others, which offer interesting experiences most senior citizens would enjoy.  Keep in mind recent disasters, e.g. the Gulf Coast oil spill, and check them out before firming up your plans. 

There are still places to go.  The principle of “looking before leaping” still applies.

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