Holiday Travel Tips for Active Older Adults

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Holiday travel: The best of times and the worst of times. The good news is you’re either planning a journey to spend some quality time with those delicious grandkids—and, of course, their parents—or you’re booking the vacation of a lifetime. The bad news is you won’t be alone on the trains, planes, or automobiles of your choice. Talk about a gross understatement. Between seasonal crowds and potential weather-related delays, travel at this time of year is not for the faint of heart.

Here are a few tips to help ease holiday travel stress. 

Travel Insurance

When it comes to travel for seniors, a little travel insurance goes a long way. It’s a small price to pay for financial protection in the event of last-minute cancellations, delayed or lost luggage, or emergency trip interruption. The peace of mind is worth the investment.    

Senior Services

Being a senior comes with the advantages of wisdom and experience. And that is great, but not as important to your travel experience as airline services for seniors. As you plan your holiday excursion, contact your airline’s special needs representative to find out if you qualify for perks like pre-boarding that can make your day less stressful. If you are over 75, you’ll enjoy breezing through security without removing shoes or jackets. 

Also, be on the lookout for great senior discounts. From plane and Amtrak tickets, to hotels, to entertainment venues, there are lots of special senior rates to be had—if you ask.

The Early Bird Takes Off on Time

Even though getting to the airport at the crack of dawn is a pain, the earlier your flight, the better chance you have of taking off as scheduled, especially at this time of year. This is particularly important if you are booking a connecting flight. Watch the weather for a week before your departure date. If bad weather is on the horizon, the airlines will usually work with you to reschedule your flight at no extra charge. If you download your airline’s mobile app to your phone, you’ll get helpful info and updates immediately.  

To Carry On…or Not?

These days nobody likes to check a bag if they don’t have to.  But the carry-on situation has become a bit like musical chairs. If your boarding zone is one of the last groups, chances are you will find all the overhead bins taken. This means scrambling to take medications and valuables out of the carry on so it can be checked. Even if there is a bin, these rolling suitcases are heavy and you may require assistance lifting it overhead. All things considered, it may serve your purposes to bring a small under the seat tote for your medicines and jewelry, and deal with the heavy luggage at the other end.  

Hitting the Road?

If this holiday season involves a road trip, you will have to pack your patience as well as plenty of water, and snacks. No matter when you leave, if it’s close to Christmas, you will face traffic. So, give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. Make frequent stops to stretch your legs and regroup. An audiobook can be a lifesaver when traffic is at a standstill. 

Here’s hoping your smart travel planning and sunny attitude will keep your holiday travel excitement from turning into bah humbug!