IN YOUR PRIME: How seniors can travel safely during the pandemic

A big advantage of retiring is having more leisure time to travel, and millions of seniors capitalize on that free time every day.

Seniors spend more on travel and leisure than any other demographic, according to the United States Census Bureau. The international travel agency Virtuoso says the average retiree spends nearly $12,000 a year on travel.

Even though they have the money and time to get away, the global pandemic has made it harder to join the jet set. However, a renewed wanderlust spurred by an increasing number of people having been vaccinated against COVID-19 is driving travel interest once again. Additional booster shots also have assuaged some fears about travel by ramping up virus protection even further.

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Seniors who want to get away all over again can take note of the following safety tips so they can stay healthy as they hit the road.

Check with the airline

If air travel is on the horizon, confirm with the carrier if any safety precautions have been implemented. Most airlines still require passengers to wear masks. Proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test may be required as well.

Confirm with the airline if any seats on the aircraft are deliberately left empty to maintain social distancing.

Travel during off-peak hours

Mid-afternoon and early evening tend to be busy travel times. No matter how you’re traveling, avoiding crowds can reduce infection rates. If possible, travel in the early morning or late at night when fewer people will be out.

Consider vaccination

Seniors were among the first groups of people to be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The travel resource Go Backpacking says vaccination is now one of the primary requirements for entering destinations around the globe. If you have not been vaccinated, now may be the time to discuss the vaccine with a doctor.

Check infection rates

Avoid destinations with high infection rates. The World Health Organization offers daily counts of cases on their Coronavirus Dashboard. Visit https://covid19.who.int to learn more.

Pack accordingly

Along with the usual travel gear, bring along hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, masks, and disinfecting sprays. Wipe down common touch points in hotel rooms, like doorknobs and remote controls.

Dine outside

Many people have safely returned to indoor dining. But if you want extra protection, ask to be seated outdoors at restaurants. Try to limit time spent in other public places if they are crowded. That includes bars, clubs or even museums.

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