People like to travel because it’s enjoyable and relaxing, but unfortunately that’s not always the case for everyone. Older travelers might especially feel anxious if things don’t go as planned, which is why finding ways to reduce travel stress for the elderly is so important.
These senior stress reduction tips are designed for traveling seniors or their loved ones who plan to travel with them or help with travel arrangements. Keep in mind that in addition to these tips, it’s also possible to get air travel assistance for seniors through non-emergency medical transport companies such as Flying Angels. Age, illness or disability should not become a barrier that prevents people from enjoying travel.
Senior Stress Reduction Travel Tips
For those looking to improve air travel for seniors, it’s helpful to break down each trip into three main sections. As you start to consider all the details of reducing travel stress for elderly travelers, these provide some guidance.
Before the Trip
Most of the work that result in reduced stress on a trip happens before you ever leave the house.
- Consider delaying a trip if the travelers recently experienced an emotionally or physically taxing event, such as a death, divorce or major medical procedure. Those type of events can cause stress for travelers.
- If the seniors involved have chronic medical conditions, ensure they consult with their physician before their trip and get medical clearance to travel.
- Set up transportation to the airport from home and from the airport to the final destination (usually a hotel) before leaving home.
- Call ahead to both airports and arrange any assistance you need getting from check in, through security and to the gate.
- Use Google maps to become familiar with your destination. Knowing your way around will reduce stress once you arrive.
- Book non-stop flights even if it costs a bit more. Changing planes and making your way through a third airport is a surefire way to increase travel stress
During the Trip
Keep these tips in mind to help improve air travel for seniors.
- Pack the night before and have everything ready so you can leave and get to the airport early (a rule of thumb is to arrive about two hours before your plane departs). It’s much easier to wait comfortably at the gate than rush through a crowd.
- If seniors are traveling without companions, start a routine from the first day where they check in with family members via text or phone call.
- Bring something to read. An underrated way to cut out the noise and confusion around you – and avoid talking to strangers if you don’t want to – is to bring a good book or magazine, whatever you prefer to read. Time will fly by faster and reading helps people relax.
- Pack all medications and important items in a carry-on bag. Don’t put them in checked baggage and run the risk of the airlines sending them somewhere else (a rare occurrence, but it happens).
- Get a seat on the plane that allows for easy access to the bathroom. Board early if necessary.
- Talk time to stretch your legs and walk a bit before boarding. Physical activity can help people feel more relaxed.
At the Destination
The destination is the reason people travel. However, a new city or unfamiliar country can cause stress, especially for seniors accustomed to their home routine. Once they are at their destination, these tips can help.
- Start a vacation routine. Make time to simply sit and enjoy the day, read, or take a walk. Find a good place to have breakfast each day that is comfortable and relaxed.
- Make a set time each day to contact loved ones and talk to them, letting them know how you are doing and what you’ve experienced.
- Wear comfortable clothes and don’t overdo it. Dress to be active but plan each day with only enough “things to do” that you can easily accomplish. Vacation is not a time to “push yourself.”
Once back at home, it’s also important to not schedule too many activities for the first few days. Allow yourself some time to rest up after your trip is over.
It’s possible to reduce travel stress for the elderly if you take it seriously and plan ahead. These tips give you a good place to start and a better chance of having a relaxing, enjoyable travel experience.