Health Risks of Traveling in Your Golden Years: How Safe Are You Really?

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Elizabeth is an experienced traveler and writer with bylines in several popular travel publications. She currently co-owns a small digital travel publication and spends her free time writing, taking photos, and traveling.

Are you thinking of enjoying your golden years with some adventurous travels? Before you pack your bags, be aware of the potential health risks. From infectious diseases to physical injuries, you want to ensure you’re fully informed on how to stay safe while exploring the world. 

Read on to discover a few of the most common medical issues those over 60 experience while traveling and what you can do to prevent them from ruining your next trip.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Source: Depositphotos.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the leg. Senior jetsetters are particularly at risk due to decreased mobility and circulation. 

To prevent DVT on long flights, it’s crucial to get up and move around every hour. Simple seated exercises like ankle rotations can also help improve circulation. Compression stockings can also reduce the risk of DVT.

Respiratory Infections

Senior Travel Wheelchair
Source: Depositphotos.

Beware of the sniffles! Respiratory infections are a top concern for seniors on the go. With weakened immune systems and exposure to unknown bacteria, colds and the flu can easily become serious respiratory illnesses.

Protect yourself with frequent handwashing, avoiding crowded public spaces, and getting vaccinated before your trip. Wear a mask if people around you are visibly sick.

Food-Borne Illnesses

Senior Male Stomachache
Source: Depositphotos.

Exotic dishes can pose more danger than you think. Contaminated food is the leading cause of health problems while traveling and can affect anyone, no matter how careful you are. 

Take extra precautions, such as washing your hands, avoiding street food, and eating cooked foods from reputable sources.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Senior Woman Fall
Source: Depositphotos.

Have you ever taken a tumble on vacation? Slip and fall accidents are more common than you may realize and can be particularly dangerous for older travelers. Not only can they result in broken bones and bruises, but they can also put a damper on your trip.

Steer clear of slippery surfaces, wear sensible shoes with good grips, and avoid carrying heavy bags that could cause you to lose balance.


Senior Woman Drinking Water
Source: Depositphotos.

Dehydration is a common concern for travelers of any age, especially in warm climates or hot, humid destinations. 

To avoid it, bring a reusable water bottle and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Consider packing electrolyte-replacement tablets to replenish essential minerals lost through sweat. Don’t forget to incorporate fruits and vegetables with high water content into your diet. 

Sunburn and Skin Damage

Senior Woman in Sun Hat
Source: Depositphotos.

It’s hard to resist the allure of soaking up the sun on the beach, but did you know that as you age, your skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity, making it more susceptible to sun exposure? 

But savvy seniors need not worry — you can still glow like gold without leaving your skin vulnerable to damage. Wear protective clothing (including hats or visors), use sunscreen with at least SPF 30, and limit your time in direct sunlight.

Jet Lag

Senior Male Traveling Suitcase
Source: Depositphotos.

Jet lag is the bane of every traveler’s existence. And for those in their golden years, it can be an absolute nightmare. Not only can it ruin your travel plans, but it can also lead to headaches, fatigue, irritability, and even digestive problems.

To combat jet lag and make the most of your journey, start adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before your trip and stay hydrated during the flight. Once you arrive, get outside and soak up some sunshine to help reset your internal clock.

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