No matter how happy we might be at home, it’s hard to resist the temptation to travel during the warm summer months, whether it’s attending a family function, catching up with old friends, or simply checking another city off your “must see” list.
Getting out and seeing the corners of the world can be a great adventure at any age, however, many would-be senior travelers keep themselves on a short leash, citing concerns about mobility and independence. Read on for tips and advice that can make globetrotting feel like a walk in the park.
Travel is always more fun with a friend or relative – and safer too. While some people enjoy their “alone time” on the road, having a travel partner means you have a second set of eyes when it comes to arranging travel plans, finding fun activities and restaurants, and, most importantly, someone to watch your luggage if you need to use a restroom!
Don’t cut corners on travel
Small regional airliners, red eye flights and flights with multiple connections often appeal to cost-conscious travelers, but always weigh these savings against the added hassle they might cause. Smaller airlines often use smaller jets that might require boarding from the runway using a large staircase, late night and early morning flights can leave you drained of energy, and multiple stops increase travel time and the possibility of lost luggage and other headaches.
Modern travel websites offer tons of booking options and detailed information about flights and lodging, but nothing beats calling a hotel or air carrier to nail down important travel details.
Many airports offer some form of assistance for travelers with limited mobility, but calling ahead (see tip #3) can be a great way to ensure you get the most of these benefits. Even if you are normally a reasonably spry walker, asking for a wheelchair to bring you from the passenger drop-off to the gate can be a great way to speed along travel and minimize chances for confusion – just don’t forget to bring some tip money!
If you are focused on getting out and enjoying your new travel destination fast, it is recommended you turn down assistance getting on and off the plane, as those using this service will often need to wait until the entire plane has cleared about before their assistant arrives.
Depending on where you plan to travel, the locals might have a different definition of “senior accessible” lodgings. When calling a hotel, don’t be shy to ask specifics: can you book a ground floor room, or is there an elevator to avoid stairs? Are the bathrooms equipped with safety equipment like shower bars? How far is the nearest hospital or medical center?
When packing your luggage and carry-on bags, divvy items up based on this simple question: “would losing this item ruin my trip?”
If the answer is yes, (i.e. medication, identification documents, glasses, electronics, etc.) then the item should go in your carry on. If the answer is no, (clothing, easily replaceable toiletries, etc.) then the items should go in your checked luggage.
Additionally, be sure to pack several extra days’ worth of medication and a copy of all your prescription documents handy. For bonus points, consider emailing yourself your most up-to-date health information from your physician, so you can quickly forward this information to a doctor.
Plan a leisurely schedule
When it comes to planning your itinerary, less is more. Rather than arranging multiple events and attractions every day, try to focus on one semi-early morning event and one event in the late afternoon or early evening. This ensures you will not burn out early in the trip, give you time to rest and nap to stay refreshed, especially if you are in a sunny, hot area.
You may feel compelled to make the most out of your trip by arranging tons of things to do, but chances are you will find countless interesting sights, sounds and tastes and have the energy to enjoy them if you choose to take things slow. Remember, you are on vacation!
SelectCare Home Care Services hopes you find this information helpful as you plan your summer getaways. If you or a loved one are in need of a good old fashioned “staycation” here in New York City, now might be the time to call SelectCare. Our team of home health care experts have helped New Yorkers live happier, healthier lives for more than 30 years.