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For many Americans, retirement is a time to indulge in a passion unencumbered by work and family responsibilities - travel. Travel is not only enjoyable, it’s a form of self-renewal. Every new location offers a unique experience and exciting new discoveries, whether it’s the Eiffel Tower or a tiny taverna on a sun-splashed Greek island. It’s that joy of discovery that keeps everyone feeling young and wanting more. It’s a good time to travel overseas - the dollar is strong and ground transportation in many foreign countries (particularly in Western Europe) has never been better. However, it can add up very quickly if you’re not careful about spending your travel dollars.
Saving money on the home front
Before you head out on your next adventure, unplug electronics, especially appliances, TVs and computers, which use electricity even when they aren’t in use. Keep thermostats turned down to minimize unnecessary energy costs, and shut off the main water valve to reduce the possibility of a burst pipe and resultant water damage.
No one likes hauling suitcases and duffel bags everywhere they go. You spend more time storing and carrying accoutrements than you do sightseeing, which will definitely put a crimp in your plans. No matter what age you are, packing light is the ideal way to go. It’s just easier for most seniors, especially those with mobility restrictions, or back or joint problems. Make it your goal to fit everything you’ll need in a roll-on suitcase, and let it go at that. You can always pick up a few necessary disposable items en route to save space when you pack. As an added bonus, you’ll save some airline drachmas by limiting your baggage size and weight.
Check it when connecting
Consider checking your bag or bags if you aren’t flying direct. Lugging carry-on items around airports the size of JFK, London’s Heathrow, Paris’s Charles de Gaulle, and Berlin’s Brandenburg is exhausting, so let the airline do the heavy lifting. If you need a little extra leg room, book early so you can jump on those aisle or emergency row seats. Blood flow and muscle cramping can be a problem for some seniors on long international flights, so make a point of walking down the aisle and practicing your French or Italian with other passengers every hour or so.
Hotels and B&Bs
Think strategically when selecting accommodations for your trip, especially in larger cities. Staying in hotels or B&Bs that are near train stations will minimize the distance you’ll have to walk and carry belongings. Depending on your itinerary, staying in a place near the city center makes it easier to stop for the occasional rest between sightseeing stops and cuts down on taxi expenses. Accommodations with elevators can be hard to come by in some countries, which may mean hoofing it up and down several flights of stairs. Instead, plan ahead, book your room well ahead of time, and request a room on the ground floor.
Getting prescriptions filled during a trip overseas can be difficult, though some countries make it easier than others. It’s best to take along a full supply (say, 30 days’ worth) to eliminate the need for refills en route, another good budget-conscious strategy. If you do find yourself needing to refill a prescription, you’ll need to know the generic name rather than the American brand name, which is generally unfamiliar in foreign countries.
Travel is exciting and fun, but there are many logistics to consider. It’s important to make things as easy as possible and to keep travel costs under control so you can enjoy what could be the trip of a lifetime.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.