Today a guest post from savvy ex flight attendant Nina Burakowski, offering senior travel advice for smart travelling at any age.
But hey! You don’t need to be a senior to read and benefit from this article 😉
Have a good flight!
Thanks to Miranda Kerr and her fellow entourage of flying supermodels, we all know that we should never fly without a pashmina and facial hydrator. Both good advice, after all, you can never hydrate too much.
However, over the course of my years as a long-haul flight attendant, there are a few other tips for over 60s travel, and travel if you’re under that age, which will keep you both safe as well as looking good on long distance plane trips.
Don’t take photos of your boarding pass
While we all like to share our travel plans with our social media followers, think twice before you upload that photo of your boarding pass onto Facebook or any other social media channel.
Boarding passes contain a heap of sensitive information about you. Not only are you giving away your full name, and booking reference, the barcode also contains information about your onward travel plans and frequent flyer number.
In the wrong hands, this is enough for hackers to gain access to your online booking, where they can amend your flight details or even get access to your passport number, email, and other personal information.
Senior Travel and Long Haul Flight Essentials
As a flight attendant, I frequently travelled to some very foreign places, including Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Congo, Mali, and Cameroon. Taking a few sensible safety and security precautions was essential and something I still do no matter where I go.
Some basic precautions include making copies of all your travel documentation before you travel. For senior travel especially get in the habit of taking note of emergency exits and stairwells in hotels so that you know where to go quickly if necessary, and if you’re travelling to less developed countries find out the location of the best hospitals.
If you’re an Australian citizen, you can register your travel details with the Smartraveller website. This is the Australian government’s travel advisory and consular assistance service. By registering your details, the Australian government can find you in an emergency, this could be anything from a natural disaster, to civil disturbances or even a family emergency.
Plan for the unexpected
Air travel is vulnerable to unexpected delays that can cause havoc to our travel plans. One of my worst experiences was being stuck on the plane with some very unhappy passengers in Equatorial Guinea for two days. This was for the simple reason that the tractor responsible for delivering the stairway for the plane broke down.
In Europe, the first snowfall in winter usually causes major delays and cancellations. Similarly, volcanoes in Bali, onboard medical emergencies and mechanical problems can put the best-laid travel plans into disarray.
For these types of travel hiccups, make sure that you pack the basic necessities in your hand luggage. Think a spare change of clothes, underwear, wipes and some basic toiletries.
Also, a book, notepad or even a game of Sudoku can go a long way when you have to wait for hours and don’t count on the onboard entertainment system to work all the time.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Drinking plenty of water can be the difference between feeling good or feeling drab after a long-haul flight.
Due to the high altitude, plane cabins are very dry and the humidity levels are around 15%. This means that we lose an extra litre of fluid for every five hours in the air. We also tend to drink a lot less fluid in planes than what we would at home.
Staying well hydrated on plane travel can help with jet lag and even reduces the risk of deep vein thrombosis (an important consideration for senior travel). Don’t be afraid to ask your flight attendant for extra water.
Travel Attire for Long Flights
Go for smart and casual but comfortable. There’s not need to look daggy, so ditch the tracksuit pants, oversized T shirt and trainers in favour of a stretchy pair of ponte pants with a pretty blouse long enough to cover your bum. If you prefer a dress choose a jersey dress which isn’t tight around the middle. Add a nice cardigan, a pashmina and a comfortable pair of shoes which allow your feet to swell.
How to Look Good after a Long Haul Flight
Now for the fun bit! How do we disembark from a long-haul flight looking like Miranda Kerr?
Before you compare yourselves to these glamazons that we see in the pages of Women’s Weekly, remember that celebrities usually fly first class. This means that they have a doting flight attendant on hand throughout the flight, a cosy bed complete with duvet and none of the stress of cramped seats and standing in line for the lavatory.
The best trick for an instant refresh is a dab of lippy and plenty of moisturiser. I also love the compact travel make-up sets that have all the beauty essentials. They’re super convenient, save on space and who doesn’t need an excuse to check out the duty-free counters?
If all else fails, pop on a pair of oversized sunnies and pout like a star.
Last but not least : Travel Insurance
Ed’s Note: Don’t forget that travel insurance is also really really important if you’re jetting off somewhere nice. Too many people take a chance and travel without it. Be prepared for the unexpected when you travel too.
We’ve used Covermore in the past when we’ve travelled overseas, and been very happy with the cover provided. At time of writing they provide what I would consider cheap travel insurance for seniors and travel insurance for senior citizens up to 84 years of age.
Check out this heart wrenching post for reasons from reader Carolyn as to why you need insurance at any age.
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Nina is a Perth local with a penchant for adventure travel. After exploring the rest of the world, she’s now happily discovering her own backyard. For West Australian travel adventures, visit her blog at West Australian Explorer.
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