Travelling light, being prepared and showing respect for other cultures are the keys to safe and successful overseas travel. That’s according to Ted Setnikar, who has travelled extensively across South East Asia over the past two decades.
Ted is one of a group of seasoned travellers who are being asked to share their experiences and travel tips to encourage others as part of ACH Group’s Exchange network Smart and Safe Travel Abroad project.
Sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the project has seen Exchange members share advice via a forum and series of videos.
“Toilet paper, a bottle opener, a plug and a sewing kit are the absolute essentials,” says Ted, who has visited Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam. “And don’t try to pat the local animals!”
Annette and Gerry McGrath have not let a wheelchair get in the way of their world travel itinerary.
With a fold-up scooter, a good travel agent and plenty of determination, they have visited the Red Sea, Leaning Tower of Pisa and a host of other sights.
They also advise plenty of preparation, talking to the airline well in advance to find out what is possible, and taking signed letters of approval for medications, wheelchair batteries and any other special equipment.
“Travel is always worth the effort,” Annette says.
The Safe and Smart Travel workshops are one of many activities and workshops on offer for members of the Exchange, a network that offers opportunities to reinvent, rediscover and find your voice. The Exchange is open to anyone aged 50+ and is free to join. Sign up at achgroup.org.au/exchange
Healthy travel tips
Many of us finally have the time and means to travel at the age of 50+, but health concerns and uncertainty about security prevent us from taking the leap. We asked Exchange travellers to share their tips on safe travel for those with health conditions.
- Talk with the airline and ask what they can do for you both at the airport and on-board.
- Find out if you can hire equipment or care staff at your destination.
- A cruise can be a great option. Hire your own taxi for your individualised shore excursions.
- Take authenticated documentation of any medications or medical devices, including wheelchair batteries.
- Know what your travel insurance covers, and be honest about your pre-existing health conditions.
- Carry essential items, including medications, in your hand luggage.
- Check out any travel advisories for your destinations and get the right travel vaccinations before you leave.
Register your journey with smartraveller.gov.au before you leave Australia.