Traveling is the only downside to family vacations, generally, but it’s a pretty big one, and when you’re travelling with aging or elderly parents or family members it can be much more stressful than you might have planned for. This is why we have set down some of our hints and tips for traveling with elderly parents. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to keep having those family vacations, and no reason why elderly individuals can’t take joy in travelling and seeing the world.
Here’s the best advice we can give you when it comes to travelling with your elderly parents:
Plan well in advance and do some research
Doing your research with plenty of time is key no matter where you’re traveling, or who’s coming with you, but when you travel with elderly parents, or people who may have special requirements it is doubly important! Look into different accommodation and travel options to balance comfort and enjoyment with your budget. Make sure the hotel you choose have wheelchair access (if that is what you require) and many luxury hotels these days have doctors on site.
Special Services at airports
If special services are needed for your parents or disabled travelers be sure to let airlines and hotels know in advance as they are under no obligation to offer such services at check-in time. If your parents have mobility issues you can arrange for wheelchair service from check-in, through security, and right up to boarding if needed.
Make copies of important documents
Make sure that all your documents are in order well before you travel; everyone should have up-to-date passports, and you should make copies of other important documents. Things like passports, driver’s licence, Medicare, and insurance cards as well as your boarding passes should be photocopied. Keep three copies of each; one set on you, one set in your carry-on luggage, and one in your checked luggage.
If you can do so, try to pack all the essentials in your carry-on luggage; passports, prescription medications, clean underwear and clothes (in case your luggage gets lost), over-the-counter medications such as allergy medications. Prescriptions and any statements from your physician regarding medical conditions should also go into your carry-on.
Plan for Safety and Comfort
It is particularly important that you equip your elderly parents with all the tools that they will need in order to protect them from the kind of thieves who prey on the elderly in particular. Things like the Passage Wallet (which is concealed beneath clothing and secured with a neck cord) are great for keeping fund safe from pickpockets. A travel pillow and blanket, as well as comfortable clothes, will make the whole experience much more comfortable and less stressful for everyone involved.
Be Ready for Security
Security is a pain for everyone who passes through, though it is of course a necessity, but it can be much more stressful when you are travelling with elderly family members. For example, if your parents have steel implants in their hips or knees this will definitely set off sensors; one way to deal with this is to bring along a physician’s note which explains the implants. If your parents require a wheelchair they can be screened while seated, and if not they can still request to be wand screened for comfort and ease. Make sure to recommend comfortable, slip-on shoes, too, as they will make it much easier to get through the whole process.
Offering your elderly parents and relatives help when it comes to vacations is one of the best decisions you could make; it enables you all to make some more precious memories together, and allows them to still experience the joy of travelling to new places.