Travel

Travel

You Can Take Grandma Everywhere

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When it comes to seniors, traveling is a great way to stimulate the mind, engage with the world and make new connections. It is also a whole lot of fun, especially when traveling in the company of loved ones. Just because you or your travel companion are past retirement age doesn’t mean you need to stop seeing everything the world has to offer. Successful travel will, however, take some planning and some tips and tricks up your sleeve. 

Trains, planes, and automobiles

Retirement is a great time to cross all those dreamed-about destinations off the map. How you go about planning your trip will depend on how far you’re going and what means of travel you will take to get there. If you’re heading to the airport for your trip, it’s important to know that some airlines offer senior discounts as well as help to the terminal. Furthermore, those 75 and older get a break when it comes to TSA screening: You won’t need to remove your shoes or even your light jacket to make it through security. You can also carry large, medically required liquids and gels through security, although they will be screened first. 

Check in online and print your boarding pass ahead of time. Plan to arrive about two hours before your flight leaves—three hours if you’re flying international. You can also pay for expedited boarding if you want to be one of the first ones on the plane. Let the airline know if you need help getting to your seat, and don’t be afraid to bring your mobility devices along for the ride. Knowing these tips can help you make a smooth trip through the airport, a place where some seniors tend to feel confused and anxious. 

If your trip involves driving long distances with a senior travel companion, follow these recommendations for a safe and comfortable ride:

  • Change positions often or stop to walk every hour or so.
  • Wear compression garments to help with circulation.
  • Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing.
  • Take prescribed medications as directed.

Safety first!

Once you’ve figured out your method of transportation, you need to ensure your loved one is safe while traveling. Purchasing travel insurance, especially if you’ll be gone for several weeks, is a great option. You can also check with their doctor before leaving to make sure they are physically able to handle the trip and to get advice on how to manage any medical conditions. Before leaving, make sure you have all prescription medications as well as a first aid kit handy in your carry-on or trunk. 

Make a plan

Many seniors rely on a steady daily routine. See if you can maintain a semblance of this while also allowing time for exploring and spontaneity in your days together. Either way, having a plan will allow you and your loved one to find ample time for relaxation and fun. It will also take the guesswork out of entertainment. If you’ve already made arrangements for activities, call ahead of time to ensure any accessibility issues are handled appropriately.

If you are staying with family or friends, communicate with them about what your travel companion will need. If you choose a hotel, find something centrally located to minimize driving and moving around. You may also want to check that there will be adequate temperature control, especially if you’re heading somewhere hot. If this is the case, you will need to keep any sightseeing to the early morning or evening hours, allowing plenty of time to rest in the heat of the day.

Regardless of age, traveling is a great way to get out and see new places together. The next time an opportunity for a trip comes your way, don’t let age get in the way. Simply plan ahead, make accommodations when necessary, and enjoy the beauty of exploring this great big world of ours!