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10 Quick Tips Regarding Senior Travelers

Edited by Rory Clark

Many people intend to travel over the summer months. Retirees desire to travel to new places, see relatives, and spend time with friends now that they have the leisure for lengthier excursions. Even experienced Senior travelers encounter problems along the way, many of which are unavoidable. There can be a lot to learn for those new to taking extended trips, cruises, or international journeys. Below are ten travel tips for senior travelers.

10 Travel Tips for Senior Travelers

Discover Senior-Friendly Travel Options

Whether you and your parent are traveling together or separately, planning, reserving, and confirming must be done. When the destination and dates have been determined, look into Amtrak, buses, and cruise companies. Seek the most direct and quickest journey times for air and land transportation.

Enroll your parent in each airline’s no-cost frequent flier program. This should provide you with quicker access to their schedule, perks at the airport and on the trip, and a channel for requesting special services.

Book Accommodations for Senior Travelers

Request a seat in the rows reserved for disabled passengers. Also, at each airport origination, connecting, and arrival point, request complimentary wheelchair assistance. On the occasion that there is a meal service onboard, please notify the reservation system of any dietary requirements.

Whether your parent is traveling alone, ensure that they will have human assistance from the counter to security, the gate, and ultimately the plane. If an airline employee provides a wheelchair or help, there is no fee. If you do not make and confirm all of these requests at the time of booking, the airline, railway, or bus line is under no responsibility to make them accessible at check-in or while on the road.

Prepare Personal and Medical Documentation 

Federal TSA security personnel accept a government passport as the highest level of identification. If you do not already have a passport, you should apply for one at least six months before your trip. The application forms are available at your local post office, or you may get the information and applications online. AAA offices, as well as many big drug and retail stores, take official photos. Your application must include two copies of your picture.

Make at least three photocopies of the passport, driver’s license, and insurance cards, trip tickets and itinerary, boarding pass (if purchased online in advance), and any medical prescriptions and statements. Place one complete set in your parent’s hand-carry bag. Send one group to family members at the destination, and leave one set at home.

Packing Suggestions for Seniors

Pack as little as possible. Aim to pack everything essential in a roll-aboard suitcase plus a medium-size over-the-shoulder carry-on for a person traveling with at least some limitations. Do not check the roll-aboard as baggage; the flight attendants will gladly store it on the overhead rack. This will save a significant amount of time at the ultimate destination airport.

All prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as copies of any medications and physician statements, should be put in a one-quart zip-lock freezer bag in the hand-carry bag. Include any medical devices, such as additional braces or first-aid supplies.

Consider the Safety, Security, and Comfort of Your Senior Traveler

Senior travelers, particularly in high-traffic travel centers, might be perceived as vulnerable individuals. Mom may choose a money belt worn under a shirt or a sleek Passage Wallet hidden beneath her coat with a neck chain instead of a handbag. Dad should carry the same Passage Wallet from the neck cord or as a concealed wallet tucked under his slacks and fastened to his belt instead of a wallet in his back pocket.

When traveling alone, Mom or Dad should always keep their carry-on between their feet when standing or with the shoulder strap wrapped around the leg of a chair when seated. Consider purchasing a travel pillow, a c-shaped inflatable that supports the neck and head when relaxing aboard transportation.

Make Plans For Medication Administration

The majority of mature individuals use five or more medicines once or multiple times each day. Your parent’s medical dosage is not the responsibility of the transportation crew. Provide your parent with an alarm clock and a well-organized pill dispenser as an alternative.

If your parent is going on a more extended vacation, make sure they have adequate medicine before they go. Pharmacies can work with doctors to ensure that a senior gets enough medications to stay on track till they return.

Security Checkpoints and Seniors Travelers 

If your parents use wheelchairs, getting to and through TSA (transportation security administration) security may be faster than waiting in line with other passengers. Inform your parent on TSA protocols for any medical condition that trigger alarms, such as surgical hip and knee implants, or that may be seen on scans, such as prosthesis or infusion ports.

To minimize unnecessary delays, obtain a physician’s statement or the device’s description card (which is frequently supplied at the time of implant) and ensure that the senior has that documentation with them. Rather than going past the sensors, employees will often ask the senior to stand aside and do a wand screening. 

Present any physician statements outlining your Mom or Dad’s medical condition or mobility limitation, if applicable. Dress your mom in comfortable walking shoes for the trip through security and onto their final flight seat. Explain to your procedure is critical to her or his safety before departing.

Check Off That Bucket List

The world of travel is accessible to nearly everyone, including elderly parents receiving care. Begin a conversation with Mom or Dad to learn about her or his travel preferences. Determine whether your parent can travel alone or whether you want or need to join them on their journey. Begin by realizing a parent’s desire; don’t merely go online to get inexpensive airline tickets.

Opt for a Senior-Friendly Tour or Cruise

There are thousands of tour and cruise options available. Tours and cruises provide a one-of-a-kind service in that they are meticulously planned, organized, and staffed to achieve the promised program and location exploration. Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas and Holland America’s Koningsdam were ranked among the top best ships for cruisers with disabilities.

Accommodations on cruises and tours are charged per person, depending on double occupancy. As a result, whether you choose a tour or cruise, go with your mother or father to give caregiving support when in the hotel and during non-scheduled hours. A cruise or trip may be the ultimate retreat and an excellent senior adventure.

Check to See if The Destination Will Accommodate Senior Care Needs

If your parent is traveling alone to see other family members, arrange a phone call with your relatives to discuss the caregiving assistance your parent requires. Inform Mom or Dad of your strategy to supporting them so that there is a smooth handover of care. Inform them of your parents’ favorite foods and activities so that they can be accommodating during the stay, making it even more “like home” for Mom or Dad.

Importantly, inform all parties involved about the medical and drug regimen that must be followed. Also, ensure that they have all necessary legal paperwork on hand in case of an emergency. For example, if you are listed as their agent for their Advanced Medical Directive, be sure this information is with them should something happen.

Arrive at the airport or other mode of transportation two hours early. Chat with your parent without feeling rushed. Have a meal or snack. Check the travel plan and schedule, and, most essential, use the wheelchair-accessible restroom soon before traveling to the gate. 

Travel Safely and Securely

Travel with either Mom or Dad. It might be one of the most extraordinary events of your life. Yes, you will continue to be a caretaker. Still, your journey and destination will most likely provide an escape, a sense of freedom, due to the new location, atmosphere, and opportunity. Family travels, no matter how old we are, lead to family memories built together. For information regarding Elder Law, please contact us at [email protected]

About the author

Rory Clark

Rory has more than 30 years’ experience practicing elder law, estate planning, asset protection, Veteran’s affairs, and special needs planning. Through his personal journey, Rory not only understands the complex legal issues involved as a professional but also the intense emotional issues as a caregiver.