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Tips For Taking A Road Trip As A Senior

front view of active senior woman embracing senior woman on the beach at dusk

You can enjoy a road trip at any age. The joys of this type of adventure are universal.

If you live in the US, you can be very fortunate regarding these pursuits. After all, the US is often considered one of the best countries to take a road trip, with many exciting routes available. Moreover, there is often a strong appetite for road trips in the US, with these expeditions almost part of the nation’s culture.

Of course, every road trip experience is different. While you can still enjoy these journeys as a senior, preparing properly is important. That way, you can minimize the likelihood of problems occurring. Here are some tips for taking a road trip as a senior.

Busy senior citizen working in a medical clinic
Busy senior citizen working in a medical clinic

Secure Insurance

Every responsible road user requires insurance. It’s a good idea to review coverage arrangements before you set out.

The Hartford’s auto insurance policies for seniors could be appealing to you. The comprehensive coverage has strong customer reviews and high ratings from third-party firms. You’ll have access to special discounts, 24/7 roadside assistance, and flexible add-on coverages should you need them. It’s more than the standard safety net and may give you some extra assurances.

There are other insurance coverages you could get to. Emergency medical and rental car coverage may be useful, depending on your circumstances. Cancellation and interruption premiums may also be worth looking into further.

Insurance isn’t about assuming the worst will happen. Rather, it’s giving your road trip a foundation that puts safety and well-being first. Others road-tripping with you may also be comforted to know that you have these measures in place and that you’re not undertaking things blindly.

Develop Your Schedule

Some people take road trips at random. While there can be a sense of appeal in the open road and seeing where it takes you, it’s best to pre-plan these journeys to the best of your appeal.

After all, it’s best to consider a few factors that may affect the trajectory of your journey as a senior road tripper. For instance, you may need to rest more than you initially expected. You might need to find more places to stop or more carefully schedule the allotted hours you may drive before handing those responsibilities over to one of your companions.

Moreover, the roads may have changed since last you drove down them, either for maintenance or as part of a wider infrastructural overhaul. Even systems like Google Earth can be outdated, so conducting more timely research on your chosen route is advisable. Even if weather conditions make parts of your road trip inaccessible, having backup routes in mind will keep things going.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to consult your maps and outline the road trip. Investing in a satnav may also help your navigation. Alternatively, you could use an app on your phone when the engine isn’t running. The more structure your road trip has, the safer you and anyone travelling with you will be.

Get Health Checkups

If you feel great, then that’s amazing. However, some health problems seniors can face are more subtle, and many influence your well-being during your trip.

After all, the driving experience can change for seniors as they get older. You may have problems of varying severity with sight and hearing. Stiff joints and muscles may impede your ability to sit in a car for longer periods. Reaction times and reflexes might be slower too, which will also affect the driving experience. All, some, or even none of these experiences might be true for you.

No matter where you land with health problems, it’s still a good idea to visit your doctor pre-road trip. That way, you can either be reassured that you’re in great physical condition or at the least receive medical guidance on tips on how to conduct your adventure more safely. Remember, the doctor may detect problems that are not easily found.

If you’re travelling with other seniors, insist they do the same. You all need to look out for each other. Should you be travelling with younger friends and family, you could disclose any medical information you’re comfortable with so that they’re knowledgeable enough to look out for you if necessary.

Store Emergency Items First

Road trips can be full of ever-changing conditions. Being prepared for each one of them is strongly recommended.

When packing items to take with you, try to start with the essential kits you’ll need first. For instance, a first aid kit is good to have on hand. Any tools that help you perform quick maintenance on your vehicle are worth taking with you.

Bring along any paperwork and ID that you might need too. You could use your wallet to store an index card that details your personal information and any medical details that might help a stranger provide assistance should you be in need. Alternatively, you could get a medical bracelet, a more convenient way to provide your contact information and essential medical details. Responders won’t need to go through your things to reach your emergency contacts and determine critical information like allergies and existing conditions. Documentation related to your insurance should also be stored safely within your vehicle or on your person.

Once these priorities are out of the way, you can then concern yourself with packing everything else that your road trip needs. It’ll be a less stressful process as you can ensure that all your essentials are packed. You could create a checklist on your smartphone or with a pen and notepad, just to double-check that you have everything you need.

Senior citizen pensioner walking
Senior citizen pensioner walking

Choose Your Company Wisely

Your company can either make or break the road trip. As a senior, you should be far less inclined to suffer fools.

You can minimize the chances of inconvenient disruption by keeping your group on the smaller side. Everyone being an adult will also help, so perhaps don’t travel with any young grandkids you might have. That way, you can ensure the trip is a leisurely experience with responsible, well-behaved travelling companions. There’ll be real bonding moments instead of chaotic instances of screaming and crying.

If you’re in your twilight years, you should enjoy something like a road trip purely on your terms. It’s even a valid choice to travel alone so long as you’ve made suitable preparations. You can either let much-loved friends and family set the tone of the adventure or do it yourself.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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