Tips for Flying with Senior Travelers
Traveling in a group is always fun. Whether you are traveling with your parents or your children, you should always try to make your trip memorable. However without adequate preparation trips can be hectic and tiring. When planning for international travel or long flight with your aging parents, consider taking extra steps to ensure that they are comfortable and happy during the trip.
We recently flew from India accompanying our parents to holiday at our home in California. You may be lucky enough to fly on a 15-hour non-stop flight from Kolkata to San Francisco. Otherwise one-stop flights take 19 hours or longer. Our trip planning paid off and everyone arrived a bit tired but happy. Here are some helpful tips from our experiences:
- Book you tickets early for a wider choice of travel dates and cheaper prices.
- Select flights with the least number of stopovers within your budget. Ensure each transit is short but with an adequate buffer in case of flight delays.
- Book a wheel chair for your parents if they have health issues or any problem with walking distances.
- Reserve your seats online in advance, so that you all can seated together. This is also the perfect moment to request any special meal options, for example a vegetarian meal or a non-vegetarian Hindu meal.
- If your parents have significant health issues do not forget to inform the airline about it.
- Purchase visitor insurance and travel insurance from a US-based insurance agent before your parents reach the USA, so that the insurance plan also covers their journey in addition to their stay in the USA.
- Select aisle seats for your parents. They can leave their seats to visit the lavatory or galley without worrying about disturbing co-passengers.
- Carry some dry snacks in your carry-on luggage for those unexpected hunger pangs.
- Pack your parents’ medicines in the carry-on luggage. They should have enough for the whole journey and an extra day in case of travel delays. Keep track of when they take the medicine on the flight, due to the time zone changes it can be confusing.
- Always leave your contact information or an emergency phone number inside your parents’ hand luggage or handbag. This may help if they are unexpectedly separated from you.
- If your parents have to travel by themselves then provide them a phone with an international data package so they can contact you during any transit and also keep you abreast of their progress after disembarking at the destination airport.
- Suggest your parents to carry some extra clothing in their hand luggage so that they can freshen up while waiting at the layover airports. A shawl and cardigan will keep them warm in the chilly aircraft cabin.
- Bringing one or two favorite magazines will also help occupy them during the flight or layover.
- If your parents are traveling by themselves, provide them some local currency or a credit card to buy food or other necessary items at the airport shops.
The best way to help your parents on a long international flight is by accompanying them. If you cannot travel with them then it is easy to seek a travel companion from Tripcompanion.com.