Life doesn’t stop as you age; know how to travel safely with your senior on family vacation this summer

Traveling can be daunting for seniors for many reasons. However, you don’t have to give up hope of taking a trip because of the obstacles in front of your senior. Research shows that traveling gives seniors an opportunity to flex their mental muscles and keeps their brains active and engaged. The tips below can help ensure that you can have a safe and fun summer traveling with your senior, no matter where you go.

Planning the Getaway

  • Get travel insurance, and make sure it includes medical. Some plans only cover financial loss, and Medicare does not cover costs overseas. Also, before you go write down and keep the generic names for your or your senior’s prescriptions as some other countries are not familiar with U.S. brand names.
  • While you’re making transportation reservations, go ahead and request special services such as seat assignments in rows designed for disabled travelers.  There is also a cost-free wheelchair service at every U.S. airport, and you should contact your airline and request this at least two days before your trip.
  • To make any trip easier, it’s always a good idea to prepare documentation ahead of time. Gather and organize all the paperwork you need, including your and your senior’s passport, driver’s license, and medical information including a list of medications and dosages.
  • Use senior discounts available like the ones through AARPAmtrakairlines, and certain hotel chains.

Getting There

  • Plan for enough time at the airport. It is recommended that you get to the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to allow for check-in, luggage check, security, and arriving at your gate. Use the wheelchair assistance available to you.
  • Get familiar with TSA procedures and rules. For example, those 75 or older needn’t take off their shoes or light jackets during a security check, but those with medical devices or implants may require extra screening.
  • Make sure all prescriptions are in their original bottle with the label on and that all liquid prescriptions meet TSA requirements. Most important, make sure you place important medications in your carry-on bag.

On Your Trip

  • To avoid wearing yourself or your senior out, familiarize yourself with the layout of your hotel to minimize the amount of walking from your room to other amenities within the hotel. Call ahead before going to any tourist attractions to see if they will accommodate you with a loaner wheelchair if necessary. If you’re going to a beach, check to see if there are beach-accessible wheelchairs available.
  • Schedule downtime. Building in time for restful activities like reading or napping is important and will help you and your senior get the most out of your trip.
  • Choose activities that are friendly for family members of any age, such as the zoo, gardens, or the beach. This way, everyone can have a great and memorable time together!