Vacation with Elderly Parents: 5 Senior Travel Tips for a Safe and Meaningful Trip

Planning a vacation with elderly parents? Be sure to follow these 5 easy senior travel tips. That way, you’ll have a safe and meaningful trip together!

Your parent’s health comes first over anything. You’ll want to consider this while enjoying a vacation with elderly parents.

Read on to get some important tips while traveling with your elderly parents.

vacation with elderly parents

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn important travel tips for planning a vacation with elderly parents, including:

Tips for Traveling With an Elderly Family Member

According to AARP’s 2022 travel report, 66% of individuals over the age of 70 are planning to travel within the next year.

With coronavirus restrictions lifted in many areas, and vaccine protection now could be the perfect time to plan a trip with your elderly family member.

Whether they live alone, in independent senior living, or in a nursing home, traveling can be a great change of scenery for them. 

Going on vacation with elderly parents can be an incredible opportunity. You will bond, learn more about each other, and create lasting memories.

However, it also comes with some added stress that traveling with others may not.

It can be difficult to know exactly what you need to do when traveling with an elderly family member.

Here are some tips for traveling with your loved one:

1. Speak with a Doctor

Before traveling with your elderly parents it is important to make the right considerations and take proper precautions.

Older individuals present unique challenges when it comes to traveling. Some common health conditions they may experience may be:

  • Ear and sinus issues
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • motion sickness

Discussing the possible health risks and making sure your loved one is up to date on their doctor’s visit will also put everyone at ease.

You do not want to be worried about anything you could have missed. Or worse, you aren’t aware of any potential risks the entire vacation.

Likewise, if your elderly family member is hesitant to travel due to their health, seeing a doctor beforehand can take away some of their concerns.

It can be helpful for you to attend the doctor’s appointment with your loved one.

That ensures everyone is on the same page medically. And, as importantly, your family member will feel supported during this process from the beginning.

Depending on where you are traveling, your family member may need to get one or more vaccines. This may help ensure they stay healthy throughout the trip and upon your return.

It is a good matter of practice to be up to date on any routine vaccines.

You also want to be sure to get certain vaccines early enough.

This will not only give them time to develop an immune response, but it may be necessary for entry to certain countries.

To be on the safe side, you can also double-check their health insurance coverage and purchase travel insurance if necessary.

2. Pack Accordingly

It may have been a long time since your family member has left their senior living campus for a big trip!

So, you will want to help them prepare as much as possible.

Packing can be stressful for anyone, and when you are out of practice it can be even more stressful.

Take the time to sit down with them and explain any activities you have planned.

This way you can discuss:

  • What they need to bring
  • Things they don’t need to bring
  • Items they might want to bring just in case

If your family member takes any prescription or over-the-counter medications, you should bring a few extras in case of any travel delays.

Keep in mind that on vacation with elderly parents, they do not have the exact same needs as you.

You may be able to pack light they might want to bring some extra things just in case.

3. Choose the Right Location

As we get older some vacation spots are less realistic than others.

When you are planning your vacation with elderly parents, you want to make sure that everyone is going to enjoy the trip.

That means that the destination has enough to offer.

When deciding where to go, remember that elderly individuals do better in temperate climates and places that are easily navigated.

Choosing a destination with accessible transportation is also important in case of an emergency.

It also helps reduce walking time.

Your loved one will probably get tired much more quickly than you do, so it is important to choose a destination where walking is not a major requirement to get places.

Older people are more likely to become overheated.

For that reason, you want to be conscious of the temperature wherever you are going.

For example, try a place like Florida but in the winter when the temperature is warm but not too hot.

You also don’t want to be too cold, especially if you are looking to do things outside.

So taking a summer vacation to a northern area is a great idea.

As you can see, timing is everything when you are choosing your destination. Make sure you are aware of what the weather will be like before you go.

4. Be Mindful of Travel Time

Sitting for long periods in a car or on a plane can increase a person’s risk of a blood clot, which is much higher for older individuals.

Blood clots can be painful, and extremely dangerous if they break off and travel through the bloodstream.

When you are choosing your destination, keep in mind how long it would take to get there. You may even want to discuss this with your family member’s doctor.

If you do choose to travel somewhere that will require a lot of sitting, you’ll have to take certain precautions.

For instance, be mindful of how long your family member is sitting at one time.

Wearing compression stockings can help keep the blood circulating and decrease the risk of a blood clot, too.

You can also have your family member change positions often, and make sure they are not sitting for over one hour at a time.

If you are traveling in a car, it may take you longer to get there but it is important to take frequent breaks.

Then, your elderly loved one can get out of the car and walk around a bit.

If you are taking a plane, try to get a seat next to the aisle so your family member can get up to stand or walk around as often as they need to.

Some blood clots can form without any symptoms. However, you should still keep an eye out for any signs that one could be forming.

Most commonly, blood clots cause swelling, pain, tenderness, and redness of the skin in the area of the clot.

5. Have Fun and Relax

While you are enjoying your trip, keep in mind that you won’t be able to do everything exactly how you would if you were alone.

That is okay!

Traveling with an elderly family member may require you to slow down your pace a bit, and take more breaks than you would normally.

However, the memories and quality time you will share are really important.

Final thoughts on Vacation with Elderly Parents

Traveling with your elderly parents can be a memory-making experience.

But you should always put their health first.

If your elderly parents are relatively fit and healthy, they will make your traveling experience even more memorable.

Author Bio: Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beach goer operating out of Southern New Jersey.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.