Get travel insurance
Make sure any seniors you’re traveling with have adequate insurance coverage for your destination.
Medicare is usually not valid outside of the United States, and even within the U.S. some Medicare plans provide only limited coverage outside their home networks.
Although travel insurance costs more for seniors, receiving medical care in a foreign country without insurance can be financially devastating. The peace of mind will be worth it.
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Monitor their medications
Before you leave, write out a list of all the medications your senior travel companions will be bringing, noting how often they’re required to take them and any special instructions on how to use them.
It’s easy to lose track of time while you’re traveling, so you should set a recurring alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time for your loved ones to take their medication.
While in transit, keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications in an easily accessible carry-on bag.
The less you have to carry, the better you’ll be able to assist seniors traveling with you if they need help with their luggage.
Try to get everything into an over-the-shoulder carry-on bag and a roll-aboard suitcase that will fit into an overhead compartment.
If you’ll be away for more than a few days, check to make sure that your hotel provides laundry services. If so, pack fewer articles of clothing and do a load of laundry during your stay.
Simplify your schedule
When booking your tickets, look for the most direct route to your destination with the shortest travel time.
If a direct route isn’t an option, plan to leave ample time between connecting flights so you don’t have to rush from gate to gate.
Some seniors find it disorienting to travel early in the morning or late at night, so schedule your departures for mid-morning and early afternoon if possible.
Arrange special services ahead of time
If the seniors you’ll be traveling with require special services at the airport like a wheelchair, pre-boarding or priority seating, call ahead and arrange them with your airline well in advance.
Certain credit cards also offer travel bonuses like free lounge access that can make your trip more comfortable.
You’ll need to pass through a security checkpoint before your flight, so make sure your senior travel companions are wearing shoes they can easily take off and put back on. If they have any medical implants that could set off a metal detector, mention them to airport security prior to screening.
Prepare travel documentation
For trips outside the United States, everyone will need a valid U.S. passport. If your senior travel companions don’t have passports, you should help them apply at least three months in advance.
In the weeks leading up to your departure, collect all of their relevant travel documentation, including their passports, driver’s licenses, insurance info and medical documents.
Make three paper copies of each: one for them to pack, one for your bag and one to leave with family or a close friend back home. It’s a smart idea to make digital copies of each by snapping pictures of them with your phone.