Seniors: Travel as a Lifestyle

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

Expense, obligations, family and other considerations aside, what would it be like to choose travel as a lifestyle?  Obviously the foregoing considerations would eventually have to be weighed and planning done accordingly.  But, for the moment and for the fun, let’s assume going for it.  Let’s put ourselves into the category of those who have the resources and other matters in place allowing for such an opportunity.

Recently, a post on the ten best places to live drew the most traffic in one day ever.  Let’s posit that those ten places are open for business and not only can you choose them, but any others you might wish to explore. 

Here are some considerations deserving of review:

First, what are your choices for travel.  Are you a nomad who prefers commercial travel, airlines, ship cruises, train, private automobile, a motor home, other?  Each has its advantages and disadvantages.  Traveling commercially from destination to destination will necessitate renting an automobile or using public transportation.  Ship cruises often limit your ability to reach very far beyond the unloading dock.  Trains and motor homes require more convenient, less cumbersome modes of travel, if you wish to explore beyond the track and the motor home park.  Automobiles and bus tours enable stretching travel further afield but are slow and often tedious.  Bicycle and even two seater topless mini cars are available in some cities. 

Second, how about accomodations?  Hotels, B and B facilities, out of the way lodges (particularly abroad), offer comfortable and reasonable opportunities.  Some are so free in their travels that they dare to travel sans reservations.  This may offer exciting adventure, but disappointing results.  

Third, how about meals? Do you prefer the availability of whatever is on the way or do you like to plan ahead?  In Europe, on a river boat trip, we found when “on our own,” the satisfaction of seeking out local eateries that offered cuisine peculiar to the area.  If in England, perhaps the word should not be “peculiar.” 

Fourth, what do you wish to do, if your choice is to travel hither and thither and at your own choice and behest?  This takes familiarity and research and study and explorations of the country or state to which you are going.  Make no assumptions.  For years, I have traveled to San Francisco and am almost always under prepared.  Mark Twain’s dictum re San Francisco applies when he reminds us that the coldest summer he ever knew was in San Francisco. 

Fifth, finances need to be considered.  When away from “home”, your deposits need to be arranged for automatically, and an online payment system needs to be in place for monthly bills.  On the road, take along traveler’s checks, but be sure to research exchange rates and where and when is the best place to make your trade. Credit cards are okay, but be sure the credit card company is not surprised when a number of expenses begin to show up on your account.  Notify them in advance of your travels.

Sixth, remember to account for all your individual needs, e.g. medical, prescription, contact lenses, an extra pair of glasses, identification in your bags, in case of loss, extra underwear in a carry-on case in the event your luggage is held up somewhere.  Do not ever become separated from your medications.  If you are, hope you are in Paris, where getting meds is not so difficult.  I found that out when my luggage did not arrive on our plane, and I needed meds before the bag finally was delivered to the hotel.  

Seventh, have something to do during long rides, no matter the vehicle.  Today, the best option is a Kindle, the one with which I am familiar anyway.  You will have ready access to hundreds, nay more, of books to while away the time, along with games to play and other distractions. 

Eighth, consider what you are going to do about shopping and what must be done to assure your gifts, souvenirs, get back home, if in fact you have one.

Ninth, if meeting up with persons who may be living in one or another country you are visiting, be sure you have accurate and specific information for your rendezvous.  If you are in a place where you are limited to your own language, you may find it difficult to find someone to help.  Unless you are as fortunate as we were when trying to locate an out of the way restaurant, be sure you have a map or the concierge at the hotel is able to instruct you.  We were fortunate enough to be helped by a native Parisian, who said that his feet were better than his tongue, so he led us to the restaurant.

Tenth, If you are planning for an indefinite stay, be sure all legal matters, bills and other obligations have been cared for.  Rmember tidbits like power of attorney, access to your affairs to whatever extent you feel and find necessary.  A satisfying travel experience, no matter where or for how long, can be ruined by one simple oversight.  Have we thought of everything is a question worth asking over and over.

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