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Before you fly, make sure your medical condition won't hold you back

Before you fly, make sure your medical condition won’t hold you back

Note: This is the fourth in a series of guest posts on traveling with a medical condition by British writer Laura Miller. In this post, Laura provides advice on flying with a medical condition and obtaining the right vaccinations and visas for your trip.

By Laura Miller

Flying with a medical condition

While traveling with many medical conditions is generally safe, airlines do have the right to deny passengers who could suffer complications in the air.

For those travelling by plane, the most common in-flight problems are:

• Neurologic events
• Cardiac events
• Respiratory events
• Gastrointestinal events
• Vasovagal syncope (fainting)

If you’re worried about the risk of being denied passage, it’s worth speaking to your doctor to ask for medical clearance. Consider if any of the following apply:

• You could compromise the safety of… Continue reading

South America is not out of reach for travelers with disabilities. Photo from riodejaneiro.com.

South America is not out of reach for travelers with disabilities. Photo from riodejaneiro.com

Continuing our series on traveling with a medical condition — written by British freelance journalist Laura Miller — we’ll focus today on traveling with a disability.

If you missed Laura’s first post in  the series, you can read her top tips for traveling with a medical condition here.

Laura provides a wealth of tips and advice that I’m sure many baby boomer travelers — and their traveling partners — will find helpful and reassuring.

By Laura Miller

In today’s world, travel isn’t restrictive. Regardless of whether you’re fit and healthy, have a physical impairment, learning disability, or any other condition, there’s no reason to  avoid traveling.

You can visit even the most exotic of destinations: from South America to Southampton, a disability shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world.

Here’s how:

Planning… Continue reading

A Malaysian medical team at work; if you carry your medical ID, they'll know how to treat you

A Malaysian medical team at work; if you carry your medical ID, they’ll know how to treat you

With the oldest baby boomers now in their early seventies and the youngest in their early fifties, traveling with medical conditions has become a major issue for the baby boom generation.

British freelance writer Laura Miller has compiled a practical guide to coping with medical conditions while on the road (or in the air, on the water, etc.), so that all of us with medical issues can enjoy our travels to the utmost.

Her guide is long enough that I’ll be running it over the course of  several posts, so stay tuned for more. My thanks to Laura for providing us access to this important series.

By Laura Miller

Having a chronic or serious medical condition doesn’t mean you can’t travel safely — but you will need to take… Continue reading

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Most of us probably don’t travel for our health — but generally speaking,  it’s a very good perk, especially for baby boomers.

Studies have shown that leisure travel can be good medicine.

There’s straight-up wellness travel, of course, such as visiting a health spa to lose weight.

But travel in and of itself can also do the job.

Here’s why:

  • Travel helps reduce stress and promote relaxation by taking a break from routine.
  • Travel usually results in greater physical activity, particularly walking. But you might also learn tai chi in China, practice yoga in India, or bicycle around Europe.
  • Travel promotes brain health by challenging us with new and different experiences and environments. It can potentially help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Travel can also help ward off depression… Continue reading
Laos' Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

Laos’ Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

In recognition of Global Wellness Day — June 11 this year — I thought it would be apropos to mention a few of the more unusual ways to promote health while traveling. As a baby boomer, I’m prone to the usual stiff joints and other nagging ailments, and love the idea of medical tourism, even if it’s mostly an excuse to go somewhere exotic.

  • Water-based Meditation.

While I don’t practice meditation, I have a few good friends who do, and they always seem focused and calm. Does meditation have this effect, or are naturally calm and focused people drawn to meditation?

I don’t know, but I do know I could use a little more calmness and focus in my life, and I love being on water, so maybe I’ll try:

The Mekong Spa at Belmond… Continue reading

First step to traveling abroad: get a passport.

First step to traveling abroad: get a passport.

A recent British Airways survey of 2,000 randomly chosen U.S. baby boomers (aged 55-70) asked what their biggest regrets were in life.

About one out of five (women 22 percent, men 17 percent) responded that they wish they had traveled more.

The majority of those respondents cited responsibilities at work and home that ate up their time — and what they believed would be prohibitive expense — as to why they hadn’t pursued their travel dreams.

About half the men surveyed and more than 60 percent of the women had never gotten passports, mainly due to the perceived expense of international travel.

More than a fifth of all those surveyed now believed that not taking vacations had had a negative effect on their health. And of those who did take vacations, 10 percent said they had worked more than an… Continue reading

Beavertail cacti bloom in Kanab Creek, Grand Canyon National Park. Photo by Mitch Stevens.

Beavertail cacti bloom in Kanab Creek, Grand Canyon National Park. Photo by Mitch Stevens.

In the spirit of the holiday season — and getting into shape after indulging in all those holiday parties — I’m running a guest post from my fellow Tucson, Arizona, resident Mitch Stevens, founder of Southwest Discoveries.

Mitch or one of his trained guides at Southwest Discoveries will take you on a personalized hiking tour in the Tucson region or around Arizona, including the Grand Canyon and Sonoran Desert.  His market is primarily baby boomers and multi-generational hiking groups, which is how Mitch and I originally connected.

Appropriately, Mitch writes about the benefits of going hiking (which I can now do in the winter, having recently relocated from upstate New York to sunny Tucson — following in the footsteps, as it were, of countless other baby boomers heading south and west).

So I’ll hand… Continue reading

In our last post, we posed ten questions that might affect your health and well-being as a traveler. Here are the answers:

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

1. The direction in which you fly may influence the severity of your jet lag. Other conditions being equal, which direction is most likely to produce bad jet lag?

Answer: B, West to east. When flying west to east, especially across America, you’re more likely to encounter darkness when you arrive, which helps disrupt the body’s “inner clock” (jet lag is caused by disorientation by crossing time zones, which exposure to light seems to ameliorate). Assuming no time zones are crossed, there’s technically no jet lag at all flying north-south or south-north, though you can still feel the ill effects of a long flight.

2. One good way to counter the effects of jet lag is to:

Answer: D… Continue reading

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

What are possible ways to counter jet lag?

Jet lag, contaminated water, insect bites, infection, and injury away from home…the potential perils are enough to make some would-be travelers toss away those glossy brochures.

But knowledge, planning, and preventatives can help stave off many of travel’s unhealthy side effects — whether it’s flying fatigue, a nasty case of Togo two-step, or an emergency medical bill after you flip your whitewater raft in Nepal.

To test your knowledge of travel health issues, take our quiz.

 

1. The direction in which you fly may influence the severity of your jet lag. Other conditions being equal, which direction is most likely to produce bad jet lag?

a. East to west.

b. West to east.

c. North to south

d. South to north

2. One good way to counter the effects of jet lag is to:

a. Keep your watch set on “home… Continue reading

Sipadan Island, Sabah, East Malaysia, might be a nice place to recover from surgery.

Sipadan Island, Sabah, East Malaysia, might be a nice place to recover from surgery.

OK, so you need a hip replacement — lots of baby boomers do. Or you need a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), another increasingly common surgery for the baby boom generation.

If you’re an American, you could get them done in the U.S. and run up bills upwards of $80,000 for the bypass procedure or $30,000 for the hip replacement, and hope your insurance or Medicare foots the bulk of it (if you have insurance or Medicare).

Or you could travel abroad and get the same medical treatments for a fraction of the price — and maybe even have a vacation to boot.

According to the book Patients Without Borders — Everybody’s Guide to Affordable, World-Class Healthcare, a CABG will cost you about $20,000 in Malaysia, while a hip replacement will run about $12,500.… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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