Elderly Travel Tips For The Holidays
Traveling is one activity that appeals to most everyone. Some people travel in order to see the world, but especially during the holidays, we travel to visit family members.
Whether we are traveling solo or with our friends and loved ones, it’s important to prepare in advance. If traveling with our elderly family members, expect there to be additional challenges. The trick is to try to anticipate and plan for contingencies. Flight delays due to weather or overbooking are common. Hotels and restaurants are likely to be more crowded than usual and traffic is heavier. And all of this equals greater stress and potential hardship to elderly parents or loved ones.
Here are some useful travel tips for traveling with the elderly during the holidays.
Schedule for a doctor’s consultation to get specific travel tips and advice
Traveling takes time, which means your elderly companion needs to be in a fit enough health condition to travel safely. Whatever the destination is, make sure that the distance can be handled by their travel limitations. Get the doctor’s advice on any medications or vaccinations that may be necessary to take prior to the trip. Any essential medications should be carried on – don’t risk them in checked baggage. Be sure you know the FAA regulations on their packaging for the required security screenings as well.
Call and arrange transportation assistance inside the airport
You can call ahead and arrange for someone to chauffeur you and your elderly parents around the airport. This is essential if you need to get from one terminal to another. Airports will usually offer buggy or cart rides for passengers who may need special mobility assistance, as long as you plan ahead.
Prepare documentation in several copies
Keep important travel documents such as passports, valid IDs, travel tickets and itinerary on hand where they can be retrieved easily. You can also include health-related cards, medicine prescriptions and any other important papers. Have the documents photocopied and prepare at least four sets with one set placed in your elderly parent’s hand-carry luggage while another set is tucked in a checked-in luggage. Forward one of the sets to a family member in the arrival destination then leave another set at home.
Pack only the essentials
When traveling with someone that has certain limitations, it’s always best to pack light by taking only the essentials. Pack all the necessary items in a roll-aboard luggage as well as in an over-the-shoulder carry-on. Put all prescription and OTC medications inside a one quart zip-lock freezer bag. If bringing gifts, do not wrap them in advance.
Understand and plan ahead for security checkpoints
If your parent has been through a surgical procedure that required him or her to have surgical implants such as in the hip and knee, it’s best to obtain a physician’s statement that declares the implanted steel. Have a printed documentation on hand in order to avoid unwanted delays. Usually, security personnel would perform a wand screening instead of making the passenger go through the sensors. This is also true if your elder is in a wheelchair. Lastly, it’s important for an elderly parent to wear safe and easy to remove walking shoes.
Look for other travel options such as tours and cruises
Tours and cruises usually offer a totally planned travel itinerary. They can cater to specific traveling groups including those with specific needs and disabilities. Tour operators are usually very knowledgeable about the program and destination, and are familiar with potential struggles may arise along the way. Having this sort of expertise on hand can be a big relief to family members. It’s a great option for sightseeing and while there is some loss of autonomy, it can make up for that in added security and reduced potential stress.
Reducing stress for your elderly loved ones is one of the most important aspects of planning a trip together. This is if you’re just taking what to you seems like a simple road trip into the next state or a larger trip or family reunion. Follow these tips to help you all have a better time getting there, and then returning home again.