Traveling for seniors is often a bigger challenge than it is for more young and middle-aged adults. That being said, traveling is a great way to stimulate a senior’s mind, allowing them to connect with a new community, explore a new environment, and try new things.
Traveling with seniors is an amazing way to add to their quality of life, giving them a break from their daily routines. So while traveling with elderly adults may be a bit difficult, it’s more than worth it.
It might help to learn some tips and tricks that will help you find the best way to travel with elderly adults. If you’re hoping to learn how to travel with an elderly parent, keep reading for 6 tips on traveling with seniors.
6 Tips for Traveling with Seniors
Getting older shouldn’t keep someone from having new adventures. While advancing in age may lead to some added travel challenges, there are plenty of ways to make traveling with seniors possible and enjoyable. Here are our favorite tips on how to travel with an elderly parent in a way that makes the trip fun and easy for everyone.
1. Check with the Doctor First
Before planning any trip with a senior, run it by their doctor to ensure it will be possible for them. Ask their doctor if they think the trip is something the senior is physically capable of handling. Traveling for seniors can take more of a toll on their bodies than for younger adults. You may also want to have clear information on any of the senior’s medical conditions, vaccination status or requirements, and medications.
A doctor can also help you mentally prepare for a senior’s special needs throughout a trip and help you understand what to expect. If possible, get a signed note from their doctor detailing the senior’s prescriptions and needs. If you plan on going through airport security, it can help to have a doctor’s statement about any implants that might set off alarms.
2. Ask for Senior Discounts
Traveling with seniors comes with a unique benefit: they may get access to senior discounts. This could mean reduced flight fares, discounts at markets or stores, or lower prices at museums and other attractions. Traveling with elderly adults is often far cheaper than traveling with younger adults, so be sure to ask about senior discounts before booking tickets and events.
3. Choose Your Travel Routes Carefully
The best way to travel with elderly adults is to be sure the route you choose and the plans you make are doable for them. Finding the most direct (i.e. shortest) route is the best plan, even if it means going through a few tolls. You want to keep your travel plans as straightforward as possible to reduce complications, stress, and difficulties.
When it comes to timing, choose to travel during a time when your senior feels their best. That might mean choosing an early morning trip when the senior feels alert and energetic, or a last afternoon trip after their nap.
4. Follow Up on Special Requests with a Real Person
When learning how to travel with an elderly parent, you’ll find that most things are easy to secure online. That being said, if you have any special requests to make, be sure to get hold of an actual human being. For example, if you need clarity on wheelchair accessibility, getting a seat with extra legroom, or securing expedited boarding, make a phone call to follow up.
A lot of places offer plenty of assistance for elderly travelers and visitors, but that’s not always necessarily the case. Get clear on all your senior’s needs so you can be sure there’s room for them on your trip. If your senior uses a portable oxygen tank, for example, you may need to book with an airline that allows for it, and you may have to check if the airline requires special medical documentation to transport the machinery.
5. Confirm and Re-Confirm Your Travel Details
When traveling with seniors, get used to confirming your travel plans a few times. Your elderly traveler may not grasp all of the travel details right away and may need a few reminders to be clear on the plan for the trip. They may also need assistance packing and preparing for the trip. As you get closer to your departure, feel free to confirm all your travel details with airlines, hotels, and any other travel destinations to make sure everything is prepared.
6. Expect to Take it Easy
When planning a trip with a senior, don’t overstuff your itinerary. Schedule in times for relaxation — not only for your senior, but also for you. You may be surprised how tired you feel after caring for your senior. Limit excessive walking and make sure to take elevators and ramps as needed. Plan activities your senior will enjoy that won’t be too stressful, like touring a garden or visiting a local winery.
Traveling with Seniors is Possible
You should never feel like you and your elderly parent can’t go somewhere together. You simply need to make some extra preparations to ensure the trip is doable and enjoyable. If you’re looking for a caring home for your senior, then please contact us with any questions. We’d love to show you around one of our communities if you’d like to schedule a tour.