Off on your 'Silver OE'? Good for you - travel adventures keep you young and energised. Robyn Yousef offers some sage advice.
New Zealanders love to travel.
It's not just the youthful and fabulously fit who are taking off on regular overseas jaunts, but travel-loving Kiwis in their 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s are still intent on seeking out new adventures.
These "silver travellers" can recall when preparing for an overseas trip was straightforward. But, for the mature Kiwis who still enjoy or have just discovered the joy of travel, the process is now more involved.
American geriatrician and author Dr David Lipschitz believes that travel helps senior citizens live longer lives. Your senior years really are a great time to travel, with more emotional and financial freedom along with flexibility in your schedule.
However, mature travellers have to put more time and effort into the planning of their trips - especially when their travel spans several countries over a gruelling couple of months or more.
For a start, the morning-after pill and condoms have to be replaced by statins for high cholesterol, glucosamine and chrondroitin for aching joints, perhaps a plethora of vitamins and prescribed medication.
Though the mature traveller is still concerned about avoiding dodgy food stalls, they might also have to think about how to hire a wheelchair for a lengthy tour of Vatican City or how to explain to a hairdresser in Saigon the importance of covering that white regrowth.
But, because older passengers have more time flexibility, they don't have to travel in peak periods such as school holidays. April, May, September and October are often pleasant times for travel in Europe - without the crowds and high costs of the summer season.
The destinations and kind of travelling selected by these silver travellers depends very much on their budget, interests and level of fitness.
Many elderly people who require a walking frame or wheelchair travel with special groups or with individual travel companions, but others are travelling long-distance and totally independently well into their later years.
The fly/cruise combo or an independent cruise are also good options for this age group.
Some mature travellers now opt for a bus tour for an easy overview of a new city, or hire an English-speaking cabbie for a tour of the district.
It's wise to follow a busy day of sightseeing with a quiet day to revive. Often the best sightseeing is people-watching from a sidewalk cafe.
As a mature traveller, you probably won't be out pole dancing in Phuket or doing night tours of the Pigalle district in Paris and so might prefer to be equipped with an electronic reader or a good supply of reading material for evenings in.
So, don't let age get in the way of the adventure of travel - it might even make you live longer.
Tips for 'silver travellers'
• Don't want to haul hefty suitcases? Take bags with wheels that stack neatly together.
• Pack as lightly as possible - keeping in mind seasonal weather changes.
• Travel insurance is particularly important and should be purchased through a reputable and well-established provider.
• Check in online as soon as possible before the flight to select a seat, or arrive at the airport early if online check-in isn't available.
• Try to secure an aisle seat - clambering over other passengers can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
• Ensure special requests - such as provision of a wheelchair (or an electric cart in some airports) or special meals (such as diabetic, vegetarian or all-fruit) have been ordered.
• Avoid endless prodding in security checks by carrying your Orthopaedic Implant Verification card if you have an artificial knee(s) or hip(s).
• Stay well hydrated during long flights and take short walks (or do specific exercises) hourly to minimise the slight chance of getting a blood clot.
•Finding a pharmacy in a foreign city can be a hassle - take a full supply of any medication with you and all in their original containers to keep custom officers happy.
• If you have hearing aids take spare batteries along.
•Those who wear glasses should take an extra spare pair or two.
• It's also handy to carry a small notebook and pen to write down little reminders such as your hotel room number ("Now where the hell were we?"), underground station or bus stop.