Seniors, like the rest of us, are itching to travel. Is there anything they need to take into special consideration before booking that long-awaited trip?
REALTOR® Gwen Price hosts her own video/podcast Sudbury Talks with Gwen Price. She has discussed this very topic on her show and has some great suggestions to share.
Medical insurance is critical
“When seniors are thinking about travelling, their mobility issues and medical insurance coverage are a couple of things to think about,” says Price. “Because of my husband’s heart issues and diabetes, he no longer qualifies for affordable health insurance coverage. He only has coverage while in Canada, so that has affected our choices for travel.”
Some seniors may still have coverage in retirement—depending on whether or not their health coverage continued from their employment and they are still covered in another country.
“My husband had excellent insurance while he was working, but because of these health issues, he was no longer able to be covered by the insurance company. It is very important to have coverage in another country because it could be catastrophic financially to a senior, depending on the medical emergency.”
When they were still able to travel abroad, Price and her husband loved to travel to Cuba. “Although the Cubans often experience shortages of certain items, they always made the best of their situation and we were always greeted with friendship and they made our experience fun and relaxing. Years ago, when my parents were in their 80s, they travelled with us to Cuba and they were treated like royalty. My parents said it was one of the best trips they had been on. Now, we want to experience more of Canada. Both of us have travelled to both coasts, but there is still so much to experience right in our own backyard.”
Price interviewed Leanne Lavoie, a travel agent with Expedia Cruises. They discussed not only the importance of having travel insurance, but which travel experiences for seniors are popular right now, such as experiential travel or river cruises.
If a senior has mobility issues and needs a wheelchair, walker or other assistive device in order to safely access hotels, tourist attractions or restaurants, and airplanes, be aware that not all places are easily accessible.
“My nephew is quadriplegic and needs a wheelchair. He has had issues when travelling as not all places are accommodating. It is possible to travel, but lots of planning needs to be done,” says Price.
This Ageing in Action interview with her nephew, Derek Moxam, draws on his insight and personal experiences while travelling with mobility issues. Derek recently travelled to a resort in British Columbia and was able to experience many activities including adaptive paddling.
Seniors are at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 because of underlying health issues. They have to be more cognizant of travelling with groups or being in congested areas. While safety measures have been increased in certain areas, this isn’t the case everywhere.
Price suggests working with an experienced travel agent who knows all of the ins and outs of travelling in Canada or other countries. “Things have become more complicated and a travel agent knows what is required in different countries and if problems arise, the agent can help guide you through,” Price says. TICO, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, has some great information for consumers about the travel industry. “The internet is a great place to research different travel options, but an experienced travel agent can help you navigate the intricacies of travel outside of Canada.”
Reach out to your network
To stay safe and healthy on their travels, Price recommends seniors speak with their friends, family and seniors’ groups about their experiences while travelling. She also suggests talking to medical professionals about what may be required to keep them safe while they are away, i.e., medical supplies, prescriptions, etc.
Another go-to resource is the federal government, which has an excellent site that offers advice for travellers, especially for those who will be travelling outside of Canada: Travel.gc.ca.
All cleared for take-off?
We’ve all seen and read the reports of the congestion at airports around the world. Price believes it’s really up to the individual to determine their comfort and the risk level they’re willing to take on. Many will be travelling for leisure but for others, it may be out of necessity.
“Although it may be more difficult to travel by air, there are still benefits of doing so: experiencing life in other countries, especially during our long, cold winters or visiting distant relatives,” she says.
Travel advisor Lavoie notes in her interview with Price that multi-generational travel has increased, and different packages allow for different interests and levels of mobility.
According to Statistics Canada’s Canadian Tourism Activity Tracker, travel has been steadily on the rise since we began recovering from the worst of Covid-19.
Says Price, “Travel is not without its challenges right now, especially air travel, but it is still worth getting out to see loved ones again and to experience all that our city, province, country and the world have to offer.”
For more information, visit Gwen Price Homes or call 705-561-2335.