Top tips for travelling with Older Parents

Just because parents get older, doesn’t mean they want to stop being active, as it’s enjoyable to get out into the world and try new things. Family holidays from years gone by make great memories, but there’s always the opportunity to create more

If you’re looking to travel with your parents now they’re older; planning and having realistic expectations are key to having a great trip. That way you’re all guaranteed to enjoy yourselves

Before you go

  • When discussing how you’ll spend your time, make allowances. For example, take into account that they may get tired before you do and not want to do as much walking, particularly if they suffer pain from symptoms of arthritis
  • If there’s something you really don’t want to miss out on which doesn’t appeal to them, such as going up the Eiffel Tower, make sure they have a different activity to enjoy while you’re busy, such as going to a tea shop or to the cinema
  • If you don’t have a destination in mind, check for short flight times and create a top three from these locations. To decide, check review sites online, tourist boards and of course, ask friends and family who might have already been
  • Make a note of the local health authorities where you’re going, just to give yourself peace of mind
  • Many hotels provide accessible bathrooms with handrails, walk-in or sit-down showers and non-slippery surfaces. If you require or simply prefer these rooms, don’t be shy about asking for them
  • Make a travel folder with different sections; one for required documents, one for printed out maps with directions and another for a list of activities which you’d like to do

Packing

  • Aim to travel fairly light so there’s nothing too heavy or burdensome to carry. In this respect, it helps to make a list of essentials and as with every holiday, take into account the weather and what you’ll need to keep cool or warm
  • If travelling abroad, it’s even more important to take all the required medication for the duration of your break, so check prescriptions are up to date and also take additional, pre-emptive tablets, such as aspirin. Pack these in clear, zip-able freezer bags for ease of access and nominate someone to make sure they’re in your suitcase
  • Leave some space for any purchases (souvenirs) you might make, so all your luggage will stay in one easy to carry bag per person. If you haven’t already, invest in a four-wheel case to carry behind you; the weight is better distributed than with the standard two-wheels and the bag moves flexibly to suit your direction

Planes

  • Do you require special services to help with a disability? Contact the airline in advance to see how they can help and make the process easier
  • Airport procedures can be stressful and time consuming, if you’re unprepared. Make sure you and your parents know when you need to check-in by, go through security and board. Stay together for these requirements as good conversation makes the experience more carefree
  • Arrive with plenty of time to spare, so no one has to rush. After all, the holiday starts as soon as you leave home, so go at a leisurely pace and make the most of browsing duty free and dining at the airport
  • Try to book seats at the front of the aeroplane, so you don’t have to fight the crowds walking through the narrow aisles and trying to place their luggage in the overhead storage
  • When on the plane, check your parents are comfortable and warm enough, and if they’re not frequent flyers, talk them through the different noises of the aircraft. This’ll help put them at ease and could be a good bonding exercise

 While you’re there

  • When you first arrive, you might be tempted to start sight-seeing straight away, but first, get acquainted with your accommodation so everyone feels like they have a base, or a home away from home. If there’s complimentary hot drinks in the room, sit back and relax before you start exploring
  • As a precaution, don’t let your parents carry too much money at any one time, or to keep card details, such as pin codes, in their bags or purses. It’s also worthwhile to consider pickpockets, so don’t keep wallets in the back pocket of jeans
  • Always ensure you have a good hot meal for lunch or dinner to keep everyone’s energy up. Trying local food is a treat, but don’t push parents to try anything too unusual that makes them feel uncomfortable
  • Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety and weariness. If anyone is too stressed, simply take them away from the situation and do something more laidback
  • Don’t forget to relax, take lots of photos and enjoy each other’s company

 Wherever you decide to travel with your parents, remember at the heart of your journey is spending time together as a family and quite simply, having fun.

 

 

 

 

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