Traveling is one of the things that makes life great, and traveling with family is even better. Today’s elderly are much more active than generations past, so they’re often willing and able to tag along on family vacations.
However, our aging parents need special considerations during travel, just like our children. If you’re planning a getaway with the seniors in your life, here are some tips to make travel both comfortable and fun.
Assign one family member to handle reservations
How many times have you tried coordinating a vacation with multiple people, only to run into the problem of family members arriving and departing at different times or staying at hotels that are an hour’s drive apart?
Or perhaps had someone believe they booked their ticket, only to realize on the day of departure that they actually didn’t? This type of headache can be compounded if your senior parent isn’t tech-savvy or great at remembering dates, which can put a huge damper on the trip you’ve been looking forward to.
If you’ve never encountered this, consider yourself lucky—and avoid the future hassle by assigning the reservation-making duties to the most responsible member of your family. For even more convenience, recruit a travel agent who can plan every step of your trip, so all you have to do is show up!
Avoid early morning and late-night flights
Vacations were made for relaxing, but the act of traveling can be very draining. Seniors don’t have as much energy as younger folks. For best results, book trips for the late morning or middle of the day, when your aging family member will be most active and energized.
Carry-on all medications and important documents
The act of traveling can also be unpredictable. Airlines are notorious for unexpected delays, which can spell trouble if Dad’s diabetes medication is stowed under the plane. Plan ahead by packing important medications and documents, such as identification and doctor’s notes, in your carry-on luggage.
Try a family-friendly cruise
The nice thing about cruise vacations is that they are all-inclusive, and most of them have a range of activities for all ages. Your senior family member can enjoy port excursions with the family if they’re feeling adventurous, or stay onboard to enjoy the ship’s amenities if they’d rather relax.
For your next cruise, we suggest the Carnival Freedom, which features senior-friendly activities like bingo, fitness classes, and spa treatments, among a host of others.
Request a wheelchair at the airport
These days, you can reserve a wheelchair at most airports to get your parent from the counter to the gate, and from the gate to baggage claim. You can also request assistance from a staff member or opt to handle the wheelchair yourself. Securing this service requires planning ahead, but it’s well worth the effort.
Invest in a travel-friendly mobility chair
If your aging parent struggles with mobility, a mobility chair can increase their sense of independence. We’d recommend going for something portable, like the Zoomer Chair.
This chair has the convenience and power of a mobile scooter but without the bulk. When not in use, you can collapse the Zoomer Chair for easy transport and storage.
Older people are more likely to be targeted by petty criminals. Tourist destinations are the perfect place for pickpockets and scam artists to prey on distracted, naive visitors, which puts your aging parent at risk.
To avoid this, make sure your parent carries their cash in a money belt or hidden pocket, keep all bags and purses secured to their person, and educate the entire family on common scams in the area you’ll be visiting.
Keep your itinerary sparse
Seniors need more downtime to relax and recharge, especially during travel. Rather than packing your day with as many sights and attractions as possible, adopt a go-with-the-flow strategy. Ideally, you should stick to one planned activity per day, leaving room for relaxing or adventuring, depending on your parents’ energy levels.
Bring the kids!
Fortunately, a lot of the tips for senior travel apply to children as well. Vacationing with family is a great way to make memories and you definitely want your littles to have as many positive experiences with their grandparents as they can. So with that in mind, why not bring the kids?