Senior’s Guide for Dealing with Vacation Disasters

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You have arrived on time to start your dream vacation, but your luggage hasn’t. You’re trying to find your remote cabin at night and you pop a flat tire on a dark and deserted road. A few days into your vacation, you realize you’ve brought along an unwanted guest— the flu. Vacation disasters — we’ve all heard the horror stories, but what do we do when they actually happen?

You have your guidebooks, your all-inclusive resorts, and even your travel guide, but do you have a way to deal with unforeseen disasters that could rain on your vacation parade? Here are five ways seniors can prepare for, prevent and deal with common vacation disasters. 

You Are Sick or Injured and Need Healthcare Services

Many seniors need specialized care. And for those who don’t, there are health risks that seniors are more prone to, especially when traveling. For example, you might lose your medication in lost luggage or take a tumble on a walking tour that leads to a visit to the doctor or even the ER. Most Medicare insurance plans only cover you while you are in your state of residence, so if you are a senior who enjoys traveling, you can prevent a healthcare disaster by looking into Medicare Advantage plans that cover you no matter where you are.

Your Hotel Is Not What You Expected and You Must Find New Accommodations

One of the many benefits of living in the digital age is our ability to read and leave consumer reviews. Before booking a hotel or a vacation home, be sure to read reviews on the establishment and its owners — and make sure to read them from a variety of sources. Many seniors need accommodations that take their age and ability into consideration. For example, if your hotel advertised an elevator, you may still want to secure a first-floor room in case the elevator happens to break down. Or, if you are driving, try to find a hotel that offers valet parking so you don’t have to walk too far with heavy luggage. 

Your Travel Plans Have Changed Unexpectedly

From delayed or even canceled flights to substandard rental cars, travel plans can change at the drop of the hat. Sometimes you can mitigate the damage, while others you just have to find a way to accept the situation and adapt accordingly. Seniors in retirement are at an advantage, as they can often be more flexible with their travel dates. Even though that may not change how frustrating the situation can be in the moment, it can help give you some perspective. Most airlines will offer you a seat on another flight or a refund, but in case they don’t, be sure to purchase your tickets with a credit card that offers trip protection.  

Your Finances Are at Risk from Scams Targeting Seniors

This is one of the saddest realities vacationing seniors have to face: scammers. Unfortunately, seniors are often the main target for people trying to commit fraud or scams associated with vacations. Some common scams include taxi overcharges, hotels that are suddenly “closed,” rental fraud, and fraudulent currency exchanges. People misjudge seniors, thinking that they are an easy target, but a well-prepared traveler can — and will — prove them wrong.

Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t travel. If anything, it means you can travel more — your lifetime of adventure means that you can appreciate the broad perspective that comes with new experiences. After all, why did you work hard all those years if not to enjoy traveling with less worry and stress?


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