Happy elderly woman on beach

Summertime = vacation time. Whether you decide to take a week-long family vacation, spend a weekend with friends, or go on a low-key solo trip, your vacation should be stress free. Traveling as a senior has its own challenges, and we want to help you keep it simple. Here are five tips every senior should consider before their next adventure:

1. Pack light

No one likes to fight their way through baggage checks with a bunch of bulky bags, so keep your bags few and light. Fit everything into one rolling suit case if possible by carrying less clothing and washing it at your hotel when necessary. Carry versatile shoes that can be used for various activities to cut down on weight. You may also consider buying heavy liquid items like shampoo or sunscreen after you arrive or in travel size.

2. Use your discount

One of the benefits that comes with age is the beloved senior discount. Always ask for a discount even if you don’t see one advertised and it may surprise you how much you can save. The government also offers many senior passes or discounts on national parks and other historic sites in the U.S. If you travel abroad, some discounts may only apply to citizens of that country, but it’s worth asking.

3. Use travel insurance

If you’re a senior with various health conditions, it’s definitely worth considering travel insurance. Since Medicare isn’t authorized outside of the U.S., it’s important to prepare for medical care, especially if you have frequent doctor visits or instability. Be sure to investigate how your insurance works abroad so you can plan appropriately.

4. Ask about accessibility

Check the location of your hotel before booking. If it’s on top of a steep hill or far from the city, it may offer a great view or cheaper price, but it could also be difficult to reach if you need a break or plan to walk each day. Consider hotels that are located near public transportation or sites you plan to visit frequently. If climbing stairs is an issue, ask about elevators or ground-floor rooms before you make a reservation.

5. Bring your medications

It may be difficult to fill your medications in another country, or at least time-consuming. It’s best to bring what you’ll need with you in its original packaging to avoid the hassle of finding it in an unfamiliar place. In some places, especially when travelling abroad, you may not be able to find various nonprescription medicines (e.g. supplements, vitamins, etc.) and it’s best to pack what you’ll need. If you do need to buy medications be aware that pharmacists in other countries may not recognize American brand names and you may need to use the generic name in order to find it. Talk with your doctor before any long trips in order to get specific advice for your needs.

Planning ahead is the key to keeping your cool during vacation. If you follow these basic tips, your vacation will be a pleasure, not a hassle this summer.