Traveling is good for the soul, but if traveling stresses you out, there’s good news: with a little planning and a positive attitude, travel doesn’t have to be bad for your wallet – or bad for your psyche. This article explores some great traveling hacks for active adults over 50.

Best Travel Hacks

If all you can think about is how the airline will lose your luggage, or you’ll be stuck next to Chatty Abby on a transoceanic flight, you might not think that travel is such a good idea.

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These hacks will help take the stress out of it – so you can focus on joyfully anticipating your adventure.

1. Book your flights incognito.

Whenever you check for fares, you can be sure airline sites store your information, which gives them too much information on your plans – and gives them the chance to raise their ticket prices. Here’s step-by-step info on going private in Google Chrome. Firefox, Safari, and other browsers have similar functions. 

2. Use a price alert app.

Throw out the old wisdom that you had to buy your flights at least 6 months ahead of time. Airlines constantly change prices based on demand and whether the flight has been filled. Instead of worrying about missing a great deal, use a travel app like Hopper which will alert you when the flight you want drops in price. While it can’t anticipate further drops, at least you won’t be stuck paying higher prices – and you could save hundreds on your air travel alone!

3.  Book, and then shop again.

There’s a little-known Federal rule that says if you purchase a flight directly through an airline and find a better price within 24 hours, you may cancel your reservation without any penalties or fees, and get a full refund. However, if you’re booking through a third party, read the fine print, as this rule may not apply.

4. Sit where you want.

If you don’t want to pay extra for booked-in-advance seats, use an app like Seat Guru to guarantee the seat placement you want – so you can avoid the dreaded middle seat. 

5. Scan your documents.

Before you go, scan passport and other important documents (such as insurance cards and credit cards) and email yourself a copy. Even if you lose your wallet and/or passport, it’ll be much easier to replace if you have scanned and emailed yourself a copy. 

6. Label your luggage as fragile.

travel hacks for the 50+

Most airlines will put fragile bags on last (on top) which means they’ll be last on, but first off!

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7. Order a special meal.

You know how gross airline food is, right? You can get a much better dining experience by pre-ordering a specialty meal, such as vegan, Kosher, or Asian vegetarian. Not only do you get served first, but these meals are also usually very good, at least by airline standards.

8. Grab a cab at… the departures gate!

Why wait in line with everyone else who just got off your flight? A cab that has just dropped off a passenger will be thrilled for the extra business, and you won’t have to wait in line!

9. Walk fast to get rid of the jet lag.

Get into the local timezone as quickly as you can. That’s hard to do if you’re sitting – because sitting makes you sleepy! Instead, get your circadian rhythm in tune with the local time by keeping active (often more active than you like – just make yourself do it) during your first day there. You’ll sleep better, and wake up more refreshed!

10. Get local currency at an ATM.

Avoid exorbitant airport currency exchange fees and just use an ATM to get cash. You’ll pay a “foreign ATM” fee but it’s still cheaper – and safer – than carrying a lot of cash you pre-purchased at home.

11. Don’t buy another charger or cord!

If you forgot your phone charger or laptop cord, don’t panic. Just ask downstairs at reception. Most hotels have plenty that were left by previous guests and never claimed!

Best Travel Hacks: Packing

Knowing what to pack and how can save you a lot of hassles – not to mention your back (“I only wore this once, and carried it around for three weeks!”). These rules apply whether you’re going backpacking or on any adventure in parts unknown. Even if you’re going to a luxury spa and won’t be mobile during your vacation, you will still benefit from knowing that you don’t have to be a slave to your things, and that less really is more when traveling!

1. Roll your clothes.

travel hacks for the 50+

Not only does rolling your clothes take up less space in your suitcase – and while it may seem counterintuitive, your clothes will also wrinkle less.

2. Save and refill travel size toiletries.

Save money, use toiletries you actually like, and do something good for the planet!

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3. Always bring a jacket.

Even if the forecast says it’s going to be 80 and sunny every day, you may want it for air travel, or in case Mother Nature decides that a chilly rain is just the thing while you’re traveling.

4. Double duty wins the day!

Store power cords and batteries in eyeglass cases or water bottles. Let your clothes do double duty too, through careful pairings. Make sure you can wear every item of clothing at least 3 times (in the same or different combinations) – this means everything should match and be relatively interchangeable. For a splash of color, bring a scarf; but keep your tops and bottoms neutral so everything gets used multiple times.

5. Wear your bulkiest items when you travel.

This is a smart way to save space in your luggage.

Bon Voyage!

These tips make life a whole lot easier when you travel. So – what are you waiting for? Spin the globe, and go!

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