Being ready to roam in your retirement

Senior Couple with caravan on road trip

Image: Nosnibor137/

When winter arrives in southern Australia, senior travellers (often referred to as ‘Grey Nomads’) tend to hit the road in search of warmth. From Broome to Birdsville and Noosa to Norseman, you’ll often find them in motor homes or towing their caravans taking in the sights and the warmer weather.

Coastal, rural, and outback areas are favoured. Popular areas include Kakadu in the Northern Territory, the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, the Kimberleys in Western Australia and Lightning Ridge in north-western New South Wales.

Preparing the car and caravan or motor home is important, but just as important is preparing themselves. Being in good physical condition and having the right equipment is important. Having a medical and dental check-up before leaving is also a good idea.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) recently reported that city travellers on outback adventures account for 25 per cent of their medical evacuations. The RFDS is a ‘24-hour emergency service to people over an area of 7.3 million square kilometres’. And it has the medical, technology, and aviation professionals available.

Most travellers probably don’t anticipate using the RFDS service.

The RFDS has a ‘Travelling Outback’ checklist on their website that’s worth reading. The checklist includes reminders on types of clothing to take, times to travel, information about water storage containers, and what to do in an emergency. Also included are reminders about pets, aboriginal land, sacred sites, and truck parking bays.

It’s also wise to take with you contact numbers and addresses of friends, relatives, and health professionals as well as any information about allergies and medical conditions.

A helpful item to include is the ‘Dentist in a Box’. Invented by Melbourne dentist Dr John Banky, it’s designed for people who aren’t near a dentist and need emergency (dental) First Aid.

Since its launch, it has been adopted by such markets as the Australian Defence Forces, mining and exploration companies, commercial shipping fleets, sports organisations—such as the Australian Institute of Sport, AFL medical officers—and an increasing number of sporting teams and schools within Australia and overseas.

‘Both kits (a base kit and a tooth trauma kit) assume no prior knowledge, providing simple, easy to follow instructions. The kits are designed as first-aid measures until you can locate your dentist,’ comments Dr Banky.

Hopefully, the services of the RFDS and other medical professionals will not be required on your trip, but it’s wise to be prepared.

Jill Weeks is the author of 21 Ways to Retire and co-author of Where to Retire in Australia and Retire Bizzi. She is a regular contributor to ABC radio.

Category: Lifestyle, Planning

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