12 Super Senior Traveling Tips for the Holidays

Senior Traveling Tips for the Holidays

AAA predicts that 53.4 million people will travel this Thanksgiving holiday. This is up 13% from 2020. (1) If you are a senior who will be traveling this season, it is important to take precautions to ensure your comfort and safety. You want to be in good shape when you arrive so that you can enjoy the hugs, greetings, and smiles on your family and friend’s faces when they see you. It’s best to plan ahead with some super travel strategies, including how to pack, get travelers insurance, look for senior discounts, and use personal security systems for the elderly. With careful planning and the right tools, you are sure to have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

1. Get a Pre-Trip Check-Up and Get Your Medications in Order

It is a good idea to get a check-up with your doctor before you travel far or are planning to be away for a while, especially if you have any on-going medical conditions. Your doctor can provide you with the best health solutions while traveling. You may also want to consider getting vaccinated, especially if you are using public transportation or are traveling to a place with high rates of disease.

Make sure you bring enough of your medications on your trip and bring some extra just in case something prevents you from traveling back home as soon as you expected. Be sure to pack your medications in a bag that is easily accessible and won’t get lost. If you are traveling on a plane, check the regulations concerning your medication and assistive medical alert technology. When possible, carry your prescriptions with you, as opposed to checking them with your baggage, in case your baggage gets lost or delayed in transit.

2. Packing

Packing can be a tedious task for some people; however, it is essential that you have all the clothing, medication, and self-care products you need to remain comfortable and satisfied on your trip. Start making a packing list a few days in advance of your trip, to give you time to shop and purchase anything that you may need. Then, when you begin packing, check off each item as it goes into your luggage to make sure you have everything.

If you are traveling on a plane, try to keep important items such as medication, passports, and ID cards in your carry-on or personal bag. You may also want to put an outfit or two in your carry-on on the off chance your checked bags get delayed or lost.

3. Choose the Right Shoes

Be sure to choose the right shoes. Doing so can make a big difference in your comfort level and safety as you travel. Choose sturdy shoes with good support. This will help keep you safe as you navigate rest-stops, airports, or train stations.

You may also want to consider an on-the-go emergency button alarm for seniors. This device ensures that you can get help wherever and whenever you need it. If you fall or experience any sort of emergency, all you have to do is press a button. Then you can talk to a certified emergency response agent through the built-in 2-way speaker on your device. They will get you immediate help and stay on the line with you until help arrives.

4. Look for Senior Travel Discounts

Based on a survey from Travel Pulse, travelers plan to spend at most $500 on their trips and 80% of Americans want a cost-effective holiday. (2) If you are looking to save on your trip, AARP and several other hotels, restaurants, and airlines commonly offer senior discounts. If you are taking a plane, staying at a hotel, or just grabbing a bite to eat, be sure to ask about senior discounts.

5. Consider Getting Insurance

Travel insurance can be helpful to anyone, but can be especially helpful to traveling seniors. If anything prevents you from traveling such as illness, medical emergency, injury, or even weather, travel insurance can help you get reimbursed for your trip. According to the AARP, “Fully refundable tickets/reservations is the most enticing incentive for would-be travelers. When asked what would ease travel concerns, a whopping 84% of boomer travelers chose “fully refundable tickets.” (3) If any of your luggage is lost during your travels, you can also be reimbursed for those losses as well.

6. Prep Your Home

If you plan on being gone for more than a day or two, be sure to make the necessary preparations for your home. This includes planning for pets, plants, mail, etc. Consider getting a house sitter or sending pets to a daycare or trust-worthy neighbor’s house.

You will also want to take precautions to help ensure that nothing goes wrong while you are away. Some tasks you should take care of include:

  • Putting lights on a timer so that it looks like you are home or asking a neighbor that you trust to keep an eye on your home while you are gone to avoid break-ins.
  • Unplugging appliances to avoid fires.
  • Turning your thermostat back to conserve energy while you are away. (Note: Make sure it is warm enough for pets and plants if you are leaving them in your home and having a neighbor check on them.)
  • Avoiding freezing pipes by having them insulated, keeping your thermostat at 55°F (or above), or shutting off the water. (Note: If you have a sprinkler fire prevention system, shutting off your water may de-activate your system.)
  • Putting salt on your walkway to avoid ice.

7. Watch What You Eat

Riding in a plane, train, or car for a while can be upsetting for your stomach. Avoid eating heavy meals on the days you plan to travel. Instead choose something light and nutritious like fruit, vegetables, or toast. Doing so will help ensure that you can spend time having fun with your loved ones rather than feeling sick in your room.

8. Take Breaks and Move Around

If you are on a long car ride, make stops or take breaks every now and then to stretch your legs and move around. This will help you avoid getting too stiff and being sore when you arrive at your destination. If you are on a train or plane, moving around may be more difficult, but if you can, try find a way to stretch and move around at least a little. Leg pumps are generally recommended to avoid blood clots when traveling by plane.

If you are seated for long stretches of time, it is a good idea to wear your on-the-go medical alert watch. If your legs cramp from sitting for too long, it can increase your risk of falling when you get up. By wearing your watch with built-in SOS button, you can get help for emergencies, even if you are away from home. The watch can also track your steps to make sure you are moving around enough and tell you the time and weather.

9. Get Good Rest

While it may be difficult to sleep due to either excitement or anxiety before traveling, getting good rest will help you to be focused and provide you with more energy. This will help you navigate airports or train stations and get to the right place by the right time.

You may find it helpful to have as much as you can packed into the car or by your front door the night before. A checklist can also help you remember everything you need to do in the morning. This can help reduce the number of thoughts running through your mind the night before you travel so that you get better rest.

10. Avoid Driving at Night or In Bad Weather

While you may or may not be the one driving, it is best to avoid driving at night or in bad weather, especially if the person driving has poor eyesight. Darkness can make it difficult to see the road and it can get even worse if it is snowy or icy. Try to travel during the day and check the weather to avoid driving in storms. If driving conditions are bad, find a hotel to stay the night.

11. Update Loved Ones

RV and Playa states, “About 57% of Baby Boomers travel exclusively to visit family and friends.” (4) While traveling to or from your destination, send updates to your loved ones. This will let them know when to expect you and give them peace of mind that you made it home safely.

If you are taking a plane, you will likely not be able to text your family, however, you can call them once you land and give them your flight information so that they can track the plane online.

Using a panic button alarm for seniors can also provide your family with some peace of mind that you can get instant help from a certified emergency response agent at the press of a button. If your car breaks down, you get a flat tire, or experience any other emergency, you will have a fast way to get the help you require.

12. Use a Medical Alert Device

An Alert1 on-the-go emergency response solution also helps ensure your safety. If you fall or experience any type of emergency while traveling this holiday season, a mobile medical alert device can provide you with an instant and easy way to contact an emergency response agent for help.

You can also upgrade to a fall alert device for seniors. This system includes a fall detection sensor that can automatically alert an emergency response agent when it registers a fall. This is helpful if you become injured or cannot press a button for any other reason. The added GPS feature can also help your agent pinpoint your location to send help exactly where it needs to go.

Safe Travels and Enjoy Your Holidays!

Traveling can be beneficial to seniors in a variety of ways. It improves mental, physical, and emotion health. It can be stimulating and keep seniors active. During the holidays, you also get the added benefit of getting to see the ones you love. When you take the right safety precautions, you can be sure that your trip goes smoothly and you have a great time.

1 Edmonds, Ellen. Nov. 2021. AAA NewsRoom. AAA. Buckle Up: Thanksgiving Travel to Rebound Almost to Pre-Pandemic Levels.

2 Pealz, Lacey. Nov. 2021. Destination & Tourism. Travel Pulse. New Data Sheds Light on How Many Americans Will Travel This Thanksgiving.

3  Levy, Vicki. Feb. 2021. Life & Leisure. AARP. Despite COVID-19 Concerns, Many Boomers Plan to Travel in 2021.

4  Gilmour, Mike. n.d. Senior Tourism Statistics: 19 Facts You Should Know (Explained). RV and Playa. Senior Tourism Statistics: 19 Facts You Should Know (Explained).