As I hustled to the airport for a short business trip this week, I realized how difficult this whole process may be for seniors who want to travel only occasionally. With today's need to move for careers, it is very likely that nearly everyone has at least an elderly sibling or a child or grandchild in a remote city that they would like to visit.
And with all the airport changes and on-going security changes of late, this can pose real challenges to navigate. I use air travel about once or twice per quarter in my job and each time I notice some changes, some subtle, some major. The good news is airports have started to realize that people often spend as long in the airport as on the airplane. So they have made them friendlier places to be with more seating, more restaurants, and even more shopping. The bad news is what you actually remember if you travel infrequently, might have changed completely by the time you travel again.
Here is a great 10 tips article on Yahoo. In a nutshell, here are the 10 tips:
- Involve your loved one early in the planning.
- Consult with their doctor in advance for any precautions they need to take.
- Have a folding cane or stool for the long airport walks.
- Or, in my opinion, don't be afraid to ask the airport staff for a wheelchair. The article recommends you call ahead to be sure of the process for getting the help.
- Wear suitable clothing. Loose is best. Have layers... it can be hot or cold in airports and airplanes and it may be a very different climate when you arrive at the destination.
- Pack extra medications in case of unanticipated delays and make sure the meds are with you or your loved one... not in that checked luggage.
- Have chewing gum or chewable candies to relive ear pressure during takeoff and landing
- If the flight is long, be sure your loved one gets up and walks the aisles a bit during the flight to avoid stiffness.
- Dehydration can be a problem. Be sure they drink plenty of water before and during the flight. But remember, you can't take liquids through security so you'll need some cash to buy water inside.
- Finally, did I mention delays? They happen and can be frustrating for all of us. Be sure to have plenty of your loved ones favorite reading materials. Thankfully, most airports now have plenty of TVs, but you can't choose the channel!
I'll add my 11th tip... if your loved one isn't patient for delay, frustration, new experiences, it might be better to consider having them pay for the ticket to bring the child or grandchild to them!
For even more info, check out these links:
Safe and Happy Travels!