Retiree Travel Tips and Destinations
How to Have Fun In Retirement Travelling
You are reading this article probably because you like to travel as I do or you have always wanted to travel and now you have the time to. Here are some key points to consider when travelling. Why bother to read them? Well, Doug’s favorite hobby is travelling and he has been to 45 countries, lived in 8 and has been to most US states. Here are Doug’s favorite tips you may want to add as you consider adding travel to your bucket list. He recommends:
1.GET TO THE AIRPORT EARLY! “Get to the Airport at least 3 hours early for International flights and 3 hours early for domestic flights. Why?
a. It reduces stress – get to the airport early and ‘chill’ – if the security lines are long you won’t be sweating it. If they are short, you can shop and relax in a café at the airport until the plane takes off.
b. If the weather is looking bad get on an earlier flight and get out of town…even if you have to pay a change fee! This has paid off twice in the past 3 years for Doug – ‘took my son to Scotland where I lived as a boy. I was meeting an old school friend from England and we HAD to be in Britain on time. We got to the airport 4 hours early and found out that even though Atlanta’s weather was clear where we were departing out of, New York was having huge storms. We were first in line to check in… and found out the flight was cancelled due to the bad weather. They directed us to another flight that would get us to New York a different route and to a different airport but that would still allow us to catch an International flight to England and then on to Scotland… we got our ticket, the last on the plane but then were notified that this jet too was cancelled due to weather. THEN we were released to fly on a different airline to a hub in New York where the weather was clearer – we got the last 2 seats on the plane (we got those 2 seats because the people assigned the seats were late to the airport, late though security, and late to the gate – they lost their seats).
c. Airlines over-sell their jets everyday to fill capacity so NEVER ARRIVE LATE to a gate – you will lose your seat.
2. If flying out on an early morning flight in a major city where rush hour traffic can strand you for an hour or two, stay at a hotel the night before that has a free shuttle to the airport in the morning. Why?
a. It can save you money on parking – many major hotels have free shuttles.
b. These same airport hotels also offer highly discounted parking – I look for hotels with good security and covered parking.
c. Around holidays book WAY in advance.
d. Same goes for if you are not going to stay at a hotel and use their parking. Book online weeks in advance or you may arrive to find lots full.
e. One hotel in Atlanta not only has covered parking but a light rail train that drops you right at the door of the departure area.
3.Call Your Bank & Credit Card Companies:… way ahead of time to let them know you will be using your debit card internationally. Some cards don’t require this now but it’s worth checking in to anyway.
a. You may not think you need cash but be prepared for emergencies by having ready access to teller machines.
b. Don’t carry lots of cash on you.
4.Security: Beware of pick-pockets both in the USA and Internationally – especially in tourist areas:
a. ‘I stopped a pick-pocket in the London Underground station – everyone had their heads turned to look at the train as it came up to the platform. At that moment, a guy used the distraction to stick his hand in a lady’s purse. I walked up to him and told him, ‘I wouldn’t do that if I was you.” He pulled his hand out of her purse glowering at me. Unfortunately, there were no police present at the time but thankfully this robbery was stopped.
b. Another time I watched a guy in Asia where we were living at the time reach into my wife’s purse. I stopped him too.
c. Always keep your wallet in your front pocket with your hand on the wallet while walking in crowds and, if you carry a purse, use one with heavy material and a zip top so people can’t reach in to grab stuff.
d. You are not safe even in 5 star hotels – they can be particular easy targets for professional thieves who know they hold ‘rich pickings’. On one business trip in Hong Kong a well-dressed man in the elevator pick-pocketed one of my associates. The thief was the best dressed guy in the elevator so no one was paying attention to him. I had my hand on my wallet in my front pocket so was untouched. My associate lost his wallet with over $1000 in cash because he kept his wallet in his jacket pocket. It was an easy “grab” for the thief.
e. If you have to take a computer with you take one with no stored data on it and get one of those $150 Chromebooks or similar that won’t cause you to stress out if it is broken or stolen.
5.Own Travel Insurance! Doug says, “My wife was an international travel nurse accompanying holiday and business travelers home when they got sick on trips. One retired man on a cruise with his wife had a stroke. The ship had to be diverted to port in the Bahamas where he was hospitalized. They would not let him leave the hospital without paying the bill in CASH!
a. A cheap travel protection policy from TravelGuard.com would have saved them thousands.
b. Ski accident insurance for ski trips state-side can pay off well. Ski resorts in the US are often far from hospitals that can treat injuries. A helicopter ride from the slope to a hospital can be more than $10,000.00
c. My wife took one family with a small child from England on holiday in Cancun back to England in a medical emergency due to food poisoning. The dream vacation was ruined. International Flight Laws require that hospitalized patients being released for travel home FLY FIRST CLASS and be accompanied by an RN who specializes in Transport Nursing – they must pay for THE NURSE TO FLY FIRST CLASS TOO!