Travel Tips for Seniors
Seniors may travel for all sorts of reasons. With having more free time in retirement, there’s plenty of time now to explore the world around us. Either to visit relatives, see exotic or domestic locales on their bucket lists, or something else, there are things seniors can do to make their travel experience easier on them.
For senior friendly travel, whether your elderly loved one will be traveling alone, or with accompaniment from you, for most comfort seek the shortest and most direct travel solutions. While taking a trip that routes through several airports and multiple long layovers may save you a few bucks, consider that the wear and tear of all the multiple flights and turnarounds may cause undue stress and tire them out. And while senior discounts for travel are mostly gone these days, you can enroll in frequent flier and travel rewards programs at no cost.
For older adults with mobility issues, make sure to request travel accommodations in disabled seating and rows, for a more comfortable experience. There may also be cost-free wheelchair service at airports and travel destinations for help moving around once inside the travel hub. For elderly adults traveling alone, make sure they’ll have a printed travel itinerary they’ll be able to keep with them, and that the airports will have humans they can use to seek help and assistance with.
For domestic travel in airports, a federal ID is required. While every state has rolled out a Real ID program, where state ID cards and driver’s licenses will satisfy federal requirements, there’s still no beating the highest recognized ID in the country, a passport. Even if no one is planning international travel, applying for a passport can still make the travel experience more smooth. Passport photos can be taken readily, in drug stores and other common locations, to satisfy the two photos that must be sent in along with your application.
When focusing on packing, seniors should try and pack as light as possible. Most airlines allow one carry on luggage item, and a backpack or shoulder bag style to be taken onboard without needing to be checked. Aim to fit everything between these two bags, and airplane staff will be happy to assist your senior relative with putting it into and taking it out of the overhead luggage compartments. Not checking any bags will save a lot of time at the final destination airport, as there will be no waiting for baggage claim.
Many seniors take multiple medications each day, so managing their medications and portioning them out for the duration of their trip is important. Medications should be stored together, kept in a large ziploc bag along with copies of prescriptions and physicians’ statements. Make sure to organize them by day and time, separating them and clearly labeling what part of each day and what day they’re supposed to be taken.
If worried about the health and safety of your older relative traveling, consider one of the many senior specific cruises or travel packages. With a service focused on their needs, with a staff trained for seniors, a travel trip using one of those can be fun, enjoyable, and stress free for older adults.