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Travel tips for seniors

It's time to start thinking about epic summer vacations. While planning is key for all travelers, it can be especially important for seniors who want to ensure the best travel experience.

Here are a few tips to make sure your trip runs smoothly:

Take time to plan

From getting a travel agent to creating a checklist, planning your trip can help avoid problems before they arise. Older travelers should pay extra attention to the following details:

• Consider travel insurance.

• Map out the area you're staying in and where you'd like to go.

• If you're taking a tour, speak with the guide about accommodations you may need.

Medical necessities

No one plans on getting sick while on a trip, but that's all the more reason to be prepared just in case.

• Pack enough of your prescriptions, getting refills is necessary. Many travel guides recommend keeping your medicines in their original pharmacy bottles instead of packing them in a daily pill box -- that way you'll have the prescription information with you if you need it.

• If you're leaving the country, make sure your prescriptions are legal in the country you're visiting. Many common medicines -- including Ritalin, Ambien, Benadryl, codeine, Vicks and Sudafed -- are illegal in other countries. To check the legality of your medicines in your destination country, check with the embassy or consulate of the country.

• Make sure your insurance will cover you in you destination. Medicare is accepted everywhere, but if you have an Advantage plan, you may still face coverage restrictions. If you're traveling abroad, consider buying travel health insurance. Apart from a few very specific exceptions, Medicare will not cover care received outside the U.S.

• For longer trips, visit your doctor and dentist before travel. Let your providers know you'll be traveling.

Luggage tips

There's nothing worse than airlines losing your luggage. Pack an extra pair of clothes in your carry-on along with all your medicines and other items you'll need immediate access to.

Other items to keep in your carry-on include a spare set of glasses, a list of medications and an emergency contact list including your doctor's information.

Keeping safe

The aging population is often a target of thieves and pickpockets. Be mindful when out at night and consider taking a buddy with you. Keeping your wallet and other items in a fanny pack or under-the-clothes money belt will deter pickpockets.

Always carry emergency numbers of friends and family, as well as the address and phone number of local police. If you're traveling overseas, include the contact information of the nearest Canadian Embassy facility. Make sure family and friends know your itinerary.

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