Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Don't Let Health Challenges or Mobility Issues Keep you From Seeing the World, Fearlessly
Note: I originally wrote this blog in early 2020 before the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. I have updated this article to include advice for getting back out in the world post-COVID.
Traveling over the age of 40 is fantastic in so many ways we are often in a better place financially. We should be a little more intentional about a good balance between having a fabulous time and slowing down a bit to allow ourselves time to relax refresh.
Taking care of ourselves while traveling is a must. I was reminded of this as I visited Paris a couple of years ago for an extended marketing consulting gig, and regrettably, I lost my mind a bit when I arrived. While in Paris, I flew to see Erykah Badu in London and participated in Diner en Blanc; I then hung out with some of my dearest friends sightseeing for two full days, went on the Black Paris Tour, and danced my heart out at a bid whist party. The problem is, I did all of this in one week. My body let me know that I had overdone it, and because of this, I ended up losing a week of my time in Paris recovering. I am a frequent traveler, and I should know better, but it seems I needed a refresher on smart, healthy travel, and maybe you do too.
Before the current global pandemic, I talked to my friend, Travel Doctor Yvette McQueen, MD, about staying healthy before, during, and after international travel. She shared great tips and travel advice. I have included our conversation, tips from her blog, along some of my favorite practices and rituals to stay healthy* while traveling.
While checking out the photo gallery on the hotel website and imagining yourself chilling on the beach with a cocktail, you should always spend some research time understanding the environment in which you will be traveling. Dr. McQueen agrees that travelers 40+ should conduct thorough research before heading to any destination. You will want to understand any factors that may impact your ability to “live your best life” while traveling internationally. The research component of trip planning has become THE most essential step in preparing to hit the road again. Check out the US State Department’s website for country-by-country “Before you Go”, travel advice
What you should know before traveling to a new Destination
COVID-19 Restrictions and Recommendations: Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to view travel recommendations and risk levels for global destinations. Be sure to check out this regularly updated COVID 19 travel map for the most up-to-date global travel/health information, including restrictions for entry and exit.
Airlines/Airports - The process of getting there can set you up for an incredible vacation or for days of recovery when you land. Ensure you know the accessibility accommodations available at all of the airports you will encounter on your trip. Airport accessibility information is essential for international connections. Check out the US Department of Transportation’s Guide to Accessible Travel, to understand the available assistance while flying. When booking your flight, choose the right seat and avoid uncomfortable and undesirable seats using the seat review website Seat Guru. Many airports have expanded COVID-19 requirements, and the travel and connection time has increased. If walking and standing might be an issue, check in with both the airport and airline to see how you can avoid lines or long periods of standing. Investing in Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check can help you glide through US airports; otherwise, always seek out an escort to get you to your gate if the walk will be too much.
Healthcare Accessibility and Emergency Numbers: Locate this information online before traveling and storing local emergency numbers on your cell phone’s home screen. When you arrive, make sure you confirm accuracy at your hotel.
You should also ask -
Where is the closest health facility to your accommodations?
Is there an interpreter on staff at your hotel or at the hospital?
How is travel insurance treated at the local medical facilities, is up-front payment required?
Immunization Recommendations: Keep in mind that in addition to COVID-19 vaccinations, the