5 tips for international travel with seniors

November 9, 2018 0

A wedding is happening in the family and photos are just not going to cut it.

Your senior loved one wants to be there.

The only problem? It’s a destination wedding, so, you and your elderly loved one are going to have travel out of the country.

Don’t worry.

International travel with seniors doesn’t have to be scary.

In fact, if you plan it properly, it could be a memorable and perhaps much-needed trip for everyone involved.

In this post, I will be sharing 5 tips you should take note of when you’re traveling internationally as a caregiver with your elderly loved one.

Call the Travel Security Administration (TSA) ahead of your travel

Passengers who are 75 and above can receive an expedited form of screening. So if you are traveling with a senior who is 75 find out what the those expedited procedures will be when you get to the airport.

In addition to this benefit, if your elderly loved one is disabled or uses assistive medical devices, TSA can make special accommodations for them if you call or e-mail at least 72 hours before travel.

You can e-mail TSA Cares at TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov or call them at 855-787-2227 from 8am to 11pm EST during the week and 9am to 8pm EST on weekends and holidays.

  1. Call or e-mail TSA Cares about your elderly loved one’s medical condition or disability.
  2. Also inform them if you and your loved one will be traveling with a service animal, oxygen tanks, medical gels, syringes or any other medications like insulin.
  3. It is best if you have medical documentation to back up your elderly loved one’s diagnosis. A simple letter from your doctor stating the medical condition will be helpful.
  4. Filling out a TSA Disability Notification Card will allow your loved one to be screened with their needs in consideration.
  5. Alternatively, you can consider getting TSA PreCheck. This is an expedited form of security screening that is considerably shorter than the regular screening lines. It costs $85 and will last for five years. Find out more about TSA PreCheck here.

Call airline customer service ahead of your travel

Calling the airline ahead of your travel plans is also helpful.

If you inform most airlines, they will dispatch people to assist elders with getting on and off the plane, wheelchair transport and with a seating plan that suits your elderly loved one on the journey.

If your loved one is on a special diet, calling the airline customer service ahead of time will ensure that they have the right choices for them.

Pack the essentials

Make a detailed list ahead of time and make sure you pack medications and other home care medical supplies your loved one will need when you reach your destination.

It is also important to pack some of these items in an easily accessible bag so that if they are need during travel, you can easily access those.

It is a pain when you have to open up large pieces of luggage to search for stuff.

Essentials that can go into this “emergency bag” include:

  • Incontinence products like adult diapers
  • Wipes
  • Facial tissue
  • Insulin
  • Inhaler
  • Pain medication like Ibuprofen or Tylenol
  • Lotion/petroleum jelly
  • Snacks- For low blood sugar situations

If your loved one has a prescription that will run out while you’re traveling internationally, make sure to either carry the prescription so an international pharmacy can use it or get a refill right before the trip.

Get your travel documents in order

Will you need to get a visa? Do you already have a passport?

Make sure to iron out these details before you buy your tickets.

Choose your seats

As much as possible and especially if your elderly loved one has a medical condition, it is ideal that you buy a seat next to them so you can help them on the trip.

If you are hiring a travel companion to come along with you, you can do the same thing.

Aisle seats are especially helpful for getting to the bathroom easily. If you have the opportunity to pick those, do so.

On the day of travel, give yourselves plenty of time

Get to the airport early. At least an hour ahead of the flight boarding time is always a safe cushion.

Even though you may have called TSA ahead of time, there is no telling what might be happening at the airport that day.

If you get there on time, you and your elderly loved one will not feel rushed and you will be able to navigate your trip smoothly and without agitation!

Enjoy the trip

What is it they say?

You only live once?

You might not always have an opportunity to travel so enjoy the trip. Take in the sights. And make some great memories.

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Share it with someone else who might be getting their elderly loved one ready for international travel.

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