Travel and the art of preparation

Viewing retirement as an opportunity for adventure, older New Zealanders have become the new `gappers',

Viewing retirement as an opportunity for adventure, older New Zealanders have become the new `gappers’, taking time out to volunteer or travel overseas. But the over 50’s are not just cruising around the pacific. Swimming with sharks, treks in the Himalayas and bungee jumping are some of the adventures growing in popularity.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revealed that almost 70% of over 50’s say they are more adventurous with their trips now than ten years ago. Rising in parallel with this growth in adventure travel is a reported increase in the number of over 50’s reporting mishaps such as lost passports and inadequate insurance to the FCO. Believing these incidents indicate a lack of preparation, the FCO joined forces with Lonely Planet to launch World Wise. A downloadable brochure aimed at older travellers, World wise includes numerous tips, advice and country specific information.

This list includes some of the tips from Worldwise with a New Zealand twist:

•    Take out fully comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for all activities you plan on doing. Bear in mind that the majority of insurance companies won’t pay if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.

•    Research your destination- get a guide-book, search the net and check with MFAT and other government advisories on travel restrictions and warnings. Find out about any extremes of weather such as monsoon season. Visit travel sites such as www.travel-essentials.co.nz where you can download individual country health reports.

•    Know and obey local laws and customs such as acceptable behaviour and alcohol laws. Research undertaken a few years ago by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust found that a high proportion of unpleasant incidents experienced by travellers resulted from misunderstandings caused by ignorance of local cultural and political conditions

•    Register your travel plans online with MFAT so you can be contacted in an emergency. Tell family and friends of changes to your itinerary and update changes on the MFAT registration database.

•    Check that your passport is valid for at least six months after your trip ends, take a photocopy and look after it.

•    Ensure you take adequate back-up funds in a mixture of currencies and forms for example, cash, credit or ATM cards and travellers’ cheques. Don’t keep all of your money in the same place. Keep a note of credit card numbers and travellers cheques.

•    Keep the contact details of the nearest New Zealand Consulate with you and contact them if in trouble.

•    If booking online keep a record of all relevant booking reference numbers.

•    Go to your GP or travel clinic to check whether you need vaccinations at least eight weeks before travel and visit your dentist. Remember to take a spare pair of glasses.

•    Get fit – travelling can be demanding.

Click here to download World Wise