6 Air-Travel Tips for Seniors
You may be traveling to visit family for the holidays or trading a snowy, cold hometown for a warm, sandy beach. If you’re an older traveler, you need to take extra care because the mental and physical stress of a long journey can take a toll on your health. However, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your trip is a safe and pleasant one.
Before Your Trip
1. Keep medications in your carry-on Make sure to pack prescription medication and other essential items in your carry-on luggage. Include copies of your prescriptions in your bag, too. A 2013 report noted that the number of lost-luggage cases worldwide had gone down in recent years, but there is still a mishandling rate of about seven bags per 1,000 passengers. You don’t want to be stuck without your medications and other necessities if your luggage is delayed or lost so be sure to take them in your carry-on bags.
2. Pack Your Mobile Medical Alert System. If you’re traveling in the continental United States, you can take your mobile medical alert system with you on vacation. Whether you are staying at a hotel or in a relative’s home, you can bring your peace of mind with you. Since many of these devices offer GPS-tracking technology, you’ll know you can get help quickly in the event that you get lost while exploring a new place.
At the Airport
3. Arrange special Major airports may require you to walk quite far to get to your gate. Thankfully, airports provide cart rides that can transport you from one part of the airport to another. In some cases, a family member, even one who isn’t traveling with you, will be allowed to help you get to your gate. If you will need a cart ride, call the airport in advance to reserve one. Arrive early at the airport, about one-and-a-half to two hours before your flight, so you won’t have to worry about getting to your gate in time.
4. Ask about expedited screening. Additionally, if you are over the age of 75, you may avoid having to stand in long lines at the security checkouts by qualifying for expedited screening. This benefit also allows you to keep a light jacket and shoes on as you pass through the security clearance.
On the Airplane
5. Keep comfortable. Wear loose and comfortable clothing for your flight. Avoid restricting waistbands and other tight-fitting elements. You want to ensure optimal circulation to lower the risk of elevated blood pressure or heat stroke. If you’re embarking on a particularly long flight, consider wearing compression stockings to help with lower-leg blood circulation.
6. Stay active and hydrated. To reduce the chance of a dangerous blood clot, it’s recommended to regularly stretch your legs and get up from your seated position periodically. It also helps to change your position in your seat from time to time. Staying hydrated can also assist in reducing your risk of a blood clot forming in your legs. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can have a diuretic effect and lead to a feeling of fatigue.
By doing a little extra planning in advance of your trip, you can feel your best when you arrive at your destination. Traveling can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience at any age.