Checklist: Granny's Ten Tips for Senior Travel in Europe



Checklist:  Granny’s Ten Tips for Senior Travel in Europe

 What I learned from my European venture: Granny Does Europe: A Love Story

  1.  Secure the services of a travel agent familiar with the challenges of senior travel.

      The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and The Automobile Association of America (AAA) provide senior travel specialists, and there are travel agencies dedicated to senior travel.  Surf their websites. 

   2.  Purchase a language dictionary or Translation App for your I-Pad or mobile phone to facilitate communication while visiting the country of your choice. 

      At the very least, learn how to say “please” and “thank you” in your host country’s native tongue.  Courtesy is a positive universal trait. Familiarize yourself with gestures or words that may be culturally unacceptable tothat country’s residents.

   3.  Obtain a European plug adaptor for your computer and other electrical devices you plan to bring along.

       Some hotels provide adaptors, but having your own will reduce stress. 

   4.  Exchange cash for euros through your bank. 

       Monetary exchange services at airports or in other countries cost more. Most banks provide this service with sufficient advance notice without extra costs to their customers.

   5. Limit your baggage to one carryon and one wheeled suitcase for your clothing and other essentials at the baggage check point. Your carryon should contain:

  (a) A change of underwear 

         (b) medications

        (c) your passport

(d) personal essentials accepted by security checkers.

Most airlines do not charge for a carryon that fits safely in the overhead compartment above your seat. Having these items with you will minimize any frustration should the airlines misplace your baggage. If feasible, leave extra room in your luggage for souvenirs or other purchases. Some shops will ship purchased goods for a fee, but postage is a strong consideration.

  6. Choose lightweight versatile wrinkle free clothing and know the current or seasonal average weather conditions of each place you will visit.

  7. Select shoes for style and comfort that are appropriate for morning and evening wear.  

Many streets in Europe are cobble-stoned, and can be a navigational challenge to the senior foot.

  8.  Prepare a complete listing of all of your medications, including over the counter medications.

  (a) List each medication by its generic as well as brand name, side effect(s), dosage and the medical condition for which you are taking the prescribed medication.

(b) If you have a chronic medical condition like diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension or have a defibrillator or other implanted device, a medical alert bracelet is recommended.

(c) It is also important to list allergies. Medical emergency professionals recognize bracelets and other medical alert devices internationally.

(d) Pre-pack a week’s worth of medications in a pill box marked for seven days to ensure you will not miss medications for that day.  Keep additional medications in their original container(s).

(e) Take an extra supply of over the counter medicines you have at home, such as pain medications (Tylenol or other non-aspirin analgesic), anti-inflammatory and antacids.  European pharmacies have medications in languages that may be difficult to decipher if you do not speak that language.

(f) Don’t forget to include a protective suntan lotion and bug spray. Mosquitoes are prevalent in the evening at the seashore and near other bodies of water.

(f) Know the location of a 24-hour pharmacy in each vacation spot, and the name of an English-speaking physician in that area.

(g) Hard of hearing?  Have extra batteries on hand for hearing devices.

  9.  Have an extra copy of your passport, along with another photo I.D. made and placed in a safe place. I keep an extra copy inside my wheeled suitcase.

 10.  Get plenty of rest between ventures!  Allow enough time for rest and stick to your normal routine as much as possible.  Nap, lounge, relax.

 Tweak this checklist and make it your own.  Each of us has different needs and priorities.  Most importantly, whether this is your Bucket List trip, or you are a seasoned traveler, be good to yourself.