One of the rewards of a long, productive life is being able to do what you love during your golden years. Many retirees like to spend their free time traveling — creating new memories, visiting places they’ve never seen, even making new friends. Of course, the one thing that retired parents prefer to do above all else is spend time with their children and grandchildren — and if they can combine that with a bit of travel, so much the better. However, vacationing with elderly parents, whether over the holidays or year-round, can be challenging, so if you’re planning to do so, consider the following tips.
Help Them Prepare
While people of all ages tend to forget things while packing, it’s more common among the elderly. At their age, though, many of them can’t do without medications and other daily necessities. Well before your departure date, work with them to create a comprehensive list of must-have, preferred, and desired travel items. Consult with their doctor(s) to flesh out the list, stock up on required prescriptions — and create action plans for any medical issues or emergencies that might arise. (If your parents don’t appreciate all the fuss, simply remind them of what they always told you: “Better safe than sorry.”)
Before leaving, give your parents additional peace of mind by helping them lock down their home and secure their possessions. If they have pets, speak with the petsitters to ensure that they’ll be properly tended to, and get their contact information in case your parents want to check in from time to time.
Help Them Relax
As you make your plans, keep your parents’ abilities and health conditions top of mind. If you’re traveling by air, make sure to request any special services or meals in advance, and get to the airport early to ensure that they won’t have to rush to make the flight. If they’re likely to get up frequently while on board, give them the aisle seats; if they’re more likely to doze, give them the window seats. Ensure that the hotels you’re considering all have working elevators, or book rooms on the first or second floor.
If you’re planning day trips in your destination city, look into senior packages, arrange a bus tour, or rent a car to minimize physical strain. Identify available restrooms, restaurants that serve senior-friendly foods, and other stops along the way to allow your parents to recharge their batteries as needed. Don’t overdo the activities, particularly early on; give them time to recuperate from the travel and to acclimate themselves to their new surroundings.
Join Travel Plus
With Travel Plus, you can earn 5% cash back on your airline, hotel, and rental-car reservations. You’ll also enjoy cash-back rebates on a variety of flight, hotel, and rental-car perks that can help make your parents’ trips more comfortable, and you can save 10% on gift cards to popular restaurants (and other travel-related merchants). When you join Travel Plus, you really can save on all your travel needs.