The great thing about travel is that almost anyone can do it – even senior citizens! These days, more and more retirees are using their hard-earned money to see and experience the world. And rightfully so, after decades of hard work. If you know of a senior citizen (or are one yourself) who’ll be on a plane to an exciting new destination, keep reading! These air travel tips for seniors will surely make the trip more comfortable – and perhaps, even an experience in itself.
Booking Your Flights and More: Always Ask for Help
Today’s flight booking system seems like a breeze for younger generations. However, many seniors who aren’t tech-savvy might find it a bit overwhelming – especially with all the details they are faced with! When it comes to air travel tips for seniors, the first thing they should do prior to their flight is to ask for help. Older travelers can have their kids or grandchildren guide them through the booking process for flights, accommodations, and sightseeing tickets. With a keen eye out for the latest deals and best options, your son or granddaughter can help prepare a better and more cost-efficient trip itinerary for senior citizens like you.
As a special request, ask him or her to get you a seat with extra legroom for maximum comfort – especially if you are flying economy class. Booking a seat with extra legroom can be done online as well. If you have food issues or a special diet, see if there is a menu option that will accommodate your needs. If choices are limited, arrange to pack some of the food that you need or want to eat during the flight, along with your pre-booked meal.
And of course, make sure your communication options are duly installed. Familiarize yourself with the protocols of making international calls in case of an emergency or if you need to get in touch with a family member while you are away.
Prep for Your Medical Concerns
A lot of senior citizens have varying health concerns, which they should prepare for way in advance. This includes stocking up and packing medicines and paraphernalia for medical conditions and curating a travel wardrobe that protects them against harsh aircraft temperature. A checkup with your geriatrician is a good thing to do before travelling. You and your doctor can sort out any health issues which may come up at any time during your trip. Also, make sure that you pack your medicines and other things meant to address health issues in your hand carry and not your check-in luggage. In case of a medical emergency, you will want to have immediate access to it.
Getting Around the Airport
When at the airport, it is wise thing to avail of special services for older travelers. A wheelchair is readily available for your comfort, and you can ask for assistance from special services to handle your baggage for you. The plus side of being in a wheelchair? You can pass through security checkpoint faster than others. While everyone will line up to go past the security checkpoint, airport security personnel will automatically prioritize senior citizens. This is especially true if you have mobility issues. These early boarding privileges are available to senior citizens, the disabled, pregnant women and families with infants.
Inside the Aircraft
After passing through early boarding and getting inside the aircraft, never hesitate to ask the flight attendant to help you store your luggage in the cabin. Change into or wear comfortable clothing for the duration of the flight, and make sure that your personal effects are stored in a neat bag underneath your seat. You should have easy access to your medications if you have medical conditions. While you wear comfortable clothing, you might also find extra comfort in a sturdy neck pillow or a fluffy scarf that you can whip out of your bag when you need the flight to be more relaxing.
Attend to Your Health Concerns
If you have medications that you need to take onboard, ensure that they have been packed separately from the rest of your bigger medical kit for less hassle. This is an even smaller pack than the one in your hand carry, which is likely stowed in the cabin. The simplest way of going about this is to separate all the medicines you need during the flight in a small plastic case tucked away in your bag. Set an alarm on your phone for when you need to take them so you don’t forget!
Did you know that it is very easy to catch a virus while onboard a plane? Because of close quarters and a cold environment, viruses stay much longer and affect more people in an aircraft – especially if they have weak immune systems. You might want to load up on vitamins days before the flight, and a dose or two while onboard can surely help.
One of the things you will want to attend to without having to line up for it is your toilet time. This is especially true if you have mobility issues or health issues and the thought of standing in line while in a wobbly aircraft seems daunting. What you can do as a senior citizen is to immediately go to the bathroom before takeoff and again before you deplane. On long flights, you might want to relieve yourself before or during the meal distribution. Most people will be sitting in their seat waiting for their in-flight meal. Avoid going to the bathroom after eating, because this is usually when a lot of passengers will want to relieve themselves.
When on long flights, don’t forget to get up every now and then to stretch! Sitting in a cramped seat for an hour or two can do a number on your bones. A short walk up and down the aisle will do a lot to get your blood moving. If you regularly do this, you will avoid cramping issues or stiffness when it’s time to get off the aircraft.
If you are traveling with your spouse, do spend part of the flight going over your travel itinerary. This is a great way to pass time and build up your excitement for what awaits you as a couple when you get to your destination. Travelling as a couple is always fun, even when you’re in your twilight years!
Filling Out Documents
Savvy senior travelers will probably have no problem filling out embarkation and disembarkation cards. For those who aren’t used to air travel going to other countries, ask the flight attendant for help with this. He or she can guide you in what needs to be filled out, or even fill it out for you if you find it difficult to write in a small space. Make sure that everything you need to present to immigration is within reach before you even get to your destination.
If the flight attendant has time, ask him or her for anything that you should steer clear of when you get to your destination. Since they travel frequently, they might be able to provide good advice on which money changers to avoid or which particular tours are not worth the money. These can save you from a whole world of stress!
Leaving the Airplane
The busiest times during a flight are often the times when people settle in their seats (before takeoff) and leave it (after landing). While flight attendants and airport security try to prioritize and provide assistance for seniors, a narrow aircraft aisle might prevent you from zipping to the front of the queue. The best thing to do is to simple remain in your seat and wait for most of the passengers to get off. You will have more room to navigate, collect your things, and exit the aircraft at your own pace.
Travelling as a senior citizen need not be an intimidating experience, thanks to these travel tips that will surely serve you well – before, during and after your flight!