The holidays are here again, and for many people that means traveling by plane, train, or automobile. Getting somewhere by car is relatively easy, but what if flying is required for a senior trying to get from Point A to B? That type of travel requires a good deal of research and planning, but it can ensure a smooth trip and prepare for bumps that are sure to come with long distance travel.
Being prepared is key. Thankfully, airlines and airports provide plenty of amenities to assist traveling seniors. However, it is important to contact airlines before the senior travels. If special needs are not addressed beforehand in conversations with the airline, the staff has no obligation to accommodate them.
Assistive devices such as wheelchairs, supplemental oxygen, or dietary needs can all be taken care of before the senior begins traveling, most at little or no cost. If a senior has a pacemaker, or other devices implanted, make sure to ask their physician if they can pass through a metal detector, or if they need special forms so they avoid potentially harmful screening devices. This research and planning should be done sooner rather than later when a senior is preparing to travel.
Packing lightly is a must. Seniors should not be overburdened by heavy luggage, when they must deal with the stresses of air travel and the complexities of airports. If the senior has some form of physical limitation, the aim should be to pack everything in a roll-on suitcase, and perhaps a lightweight medium-sized carry-on bag that can be carried on the shoulder.
If an elderly traveler is overburdened with too much luggage, they can make themselves a target for thieves. Quite simply too much baggage is a security issue as well as a health issue. No one wants to throw out their back when trying to visit the family for Thanksgiving, and no one wants their bag stolen while waiting for a connecting flight in New York.
Most importantly, ensure that the proper documentation is on hand. This doesn’t just mean a government-issued ID or a passport, although of course these shouldn’t be forgotten. Prescriptions should be kept in a zip-lock bag. Written prescriptions and any notes from the doctor should be photocopied, as well as insurance or Medicare cards, the senior’s passport, photo ID and boarding pass. A charged cellphone is a must, in case of emergency, or a hiccup in the travels.
The holidays can be stressful enough, but there’s no need for travel to add to the stress. With some simple research on the internet and good old fashioned planning, every trip can go as smoothly as possible.