While many seniors host and cook for their families during the holidays, others travel to see their families in other cities or states. If you fall into this category, you will want to know the best senior-friendly tips for traveling comfortably to see your loved ones this Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year. Consider the following:
Make sure you know exactly what you need to bring and how to pack it properly. Don’t be afraid or hesitant to ask others for assistance, if you need it.
If you’re traveling by air, plan ahead so will know what you have on you, where it is located, and how you plan to check your luggage. Make sure any medication is in your carry-on and not in your checked luggage.
Request Your Preference
Make requests with the transportation service you are using. Many travel experts recommend that seniors request expedited and early boarding and specialized seats with extra legroom. According to AAA, it’s a good idea to bring a doctor’s note and other medical information with you. It’s often not enough to declare one’s age or medical situation verbally.
Getting Through Security
Trip advisers recommend that elderly travelers declare any medical issues they have with security officials before going through security gates or checkpoints. By no means should security officials ask to inspect medical device equipment like colostomy bags or place metal equipment like walkers or back braces through an X-ray device. Airlines will also allow one escort to assist seniors through a security checkpoint, as long as they show an official I.D. It is helpful to make this arrangement at least one day in advance of departure.
Bring a pad, pillow, or blanket. This is especially handy for air travel when many airlines no longer offer free or easy access to such amenities outside of First Class. Bringing aboard a small neck pillow or blanket will provide extra comfort during your trip.
If you know your trip will be a long one. Pack some snacks and a bottle of water ahead of time. Airlines rarely give out more than a bag of pretzels these days. Trains usually have a snack car, but it may be hard to access when the train is shifting and moving. Buses won’t have anything at all.
Try some new entertainment. Do you like to play cards? Download a card game app for your phone. Do you enjoy reading? Bring along a book, or download a few to your e-reader. Seniors are more and more plugged in these days and are utilizing MP3 players, iPods, smart tablets, and other electronics to enhance the entertainment value often sought on long trips.
By keeping a few of these senior travel tips in mind, you can increase your chances of a stress-free commute to any destination and by any means: plane, train, automobile, or otherwise. Consider a few of these tips and enjoy an easy trip to your loved ones’ this holiday season.