6 Traveling Tips for Seniors
Traveling is a great way for seniors to visit other family members or to get out and see more of the world. However, if they are traveling alone or with other people, it's best to take the following steps before and during the travel period.
1. Plan Ahead
Planning, reserving, and confirming for travel plans must be done sooner rather than later. Make sure any hotels, car rentals, flights, etc. you will need as part of your travels are taken care of before you venture off.
Although most airlines don’t offer any senior discounts nowadays (except Southwest), you can still do some research before and find the airline with the best deals and benefits.
2. Reserve Special Services
Are you a disabled traveler or traveling with a senior who is disabled? Make sure to request seating that will best accommodate your needs. You will also need to confirm any requests with the airline, train, or bus line before you arrive or at the time of your reservation. They have no obligation to make these requests happen once you are en route.
3. Prepare Documentation
When traveling, make sure to always carry a form of ID with you. A passport is the highest level of identification that will be accepted by TSA security officers. If you or your senior does not have a passport, make sure to apply for one at least six months before you are scheduled to travel. Applications can be found at your local post office and you can get your photo taken at a AAA office, drug store, or department store.
It is important to have any copies of prescriptions and/or statements of your medical conditions from your doctor when you are traveling. Also having a few copies of your passport, license, Medicare, insurance cards, tickets, and boarding pass is a smart idea as well in case the original gets misplaced.
4. Packing Practical
For someone traveling with limitations, aim to pack light and only necessary items. If you can, pack all your items in a medium-sized bag that can be considered a carry-on. Staff attendants will be able to help you store away those items above you if help is needed.
Make sure to place any prescriptions or over-the-counter medications in a one-quart zip-lock bag with copies of the statements given to you by your physician.
5. Plan for Security Checkpoints
If you have any medical conditions or are traveling with someone that has a medical condition, make sure you alert the TSA before of anything that might set off the alarms, such as a defibrillator or a surgical hip. Most times they will have the senior step to the side and use the wand screening instead of walking through the sensors.
Another tip to remember is to dress in easily to remove walking shoes. TSA will typically have everyone, including seniors, remove them as they are passing through security.
6. Consider all Travel Options
Is there a place you or your senior has always wanted to travel to? There are many places to see or go to and one shouldn’t be limited to that simply because of age or physical limitations. Figure out all travel wishes and do research ahead of time to make sure those wishes can become a reality!