When you have older individuals in your life such as elderly parents, grandparents or friends, traveling with them can be a uniquely rewarding experience. Elderly loved ones might not be able to get around as easily as they used to, so they might not do much traveling on their own. Going on vacation with them or taking them on a special trip helps to create priceless memories for their senior years and gives you more time to spend with them.
Of course, these trips take some careful planning. The following tips can help you prepare for traveling with elderly people, for their maximum enjoyment.
Make a Medication List. No matter where you’ll be going, it’s important to make sure your elderly loved ones have all of their medications. Write down a list of prescription medications they normally take and over-the-counter medications they might need, such as pain relievers.
Have Prescriptions Filled Ahead of Time. Your seniors should have enough medication to last for the entire trip. Plan ahead, and have prescriptions filled ahead of time, especially if they’re running low. This helps ensure that they won’t risk running out of any medications during vacation.
Pack Medications Carefully. Avoid packing medications in suitcases that you’ll be checking if you’re flying to your destination, in case your luggage gets lost or put on the wrong plane. Instead, have your senior companions pack their medications in a carry-on bag. If you’re driving, pack medications in a travel bag that your elderly travelers can easily get to as needed.
Talk to Your Loved Ones’ Doctors. If your seniors have any medical conditions or disabilities that could affect traveling, such as arthritis or a heart condition, talk to their doctors before you go. You can then make adjustments or accommodations to help ensure that they have a safe and comfortable time during your trip.
Ask About Special Services for Seniors. When you’re booking flights, accommodations, and activities for your trip, look into special services for seniors, especially if you’ll be traveling with a loved one who has limited mobility. Doing this can make your trip more enjoyable and less stressful for elderly loved ones.
Head to the Airport Early. If you’re flying for your vacation, get to the airport early with your senior loved ones. They might not be able to walk as quickly as you, so it’s important to give them more time to walk to the gate. Getting to the airport helps reduce stress for you and your elderly family members or friends.
Choose Senior-Friendly Accommodations. When planning your trip, choose accommodations that are comfortable and suitable for elderly individuals. For example, you might want to avoid planning a camping trip that involves staying in a tent or staying in a bed and breakfast where they have to climb stairs to get to their room.
Take Plenty of Breaks on the Road. For road trips, make sure you take frequent breaks. You’ll need them as a driver, but your senior loved ones also need plenty of breaks to stretch their legs.
Stretch Road Trips Out and Book Nightly Accommodations. Being in a car for an entire day can be hard for seniors. If you’re planning a long road trip, break it up into shorter segments each day. Plan where you’ll stop for the day, and book accommodations at each stop ahead of time.
Plan Senior-Friendly Activities and Sightseeing. When choosing a destination, look for activities and sightseeing attractions that are suitable for elderly individuals. Depending on their physical condition, this might mean avoiding strenuous hikes, zip lines, and similar activities.
Include Relaxation Time. Elderly people might not be able, or want, to spend entire days sightseeing and doing other activities. Make sure everyone has time to relax each day – you may learn from your companions how to slow down and relax.
Good Places to Go in the USA
What kinds of places make great vacation spots when traveling with grandparents or other older individuals? The following are a few places to consider for your vacation.
Gatlinburg provides an ideal vacation spot for elderly loved ones. If they’re not up for walking through the woods and mountains, everyone can enjoy the many gorgeous scenic drives in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And the hundreds of luxurious Gatlinburg cabins nestled in the foothills throughout the area provide a comfortable home away from home, including a full kitchen, private bedroom, and other amenities.
San Diego, CA
San Diego usually offers a temperate climate throughout the year, so you don’t have to worry about winter storms or summer heat waves affecting your trip. While in town, you and your senior companions can visit Balboa Park, take trolley tours, visit the San Diego Zoo, and enjoy the city’s many other attractions.
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe has a warm, dry climate and plenty of arts and culture to enjoy, as well as scenic surroundings. You and your loved ones can easily explore the historic downtown area, which features art galleries, restaurants with local cuisine, museums, and of course the world famous Santa Fe Plaza. Outdoor activities such as hiking, are available in the nearby mountains for seniors who want to be more active.
Key West, FL
Elderly individuals who love the water can go swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and more in Key West. Dolphin cruises, bird sanctuaries, Hemingway’s house, and other local attractions offer plenty to see without having to do a lot of walking. Key West also has tons of shops and restaurants to explore.