If you, like moi, are 65+ and heading out on a long trek to visit family & friends over the holidays, pace yourself. It’s shockingly easy to think of yourself as the college student who drove down to Florida solo or the young dad who got there in two days. Don’t push it. Build in pauses during your driving, stretch your legs & stop early in order to ensure getting a good night’s sleep.
If you are flying, make sure you get to the airport in plenty of time. Make sure you are aware of luggage requirements & fees BEFORE arriving at the airport. It is not unusual for fees to be hidden, so check with friends who have recently used the same carrier for their experiences or research online. When you book your tickets, request an expedited boarding time. Consider investing in transport from check-in to your flight (money well spent); check ahead of time with the airlines about requesting cart transport to the departure gate or baggage claim. Also ask about any special support services it provides seniors (touch base with your credit card company, too – some provide special services). The level of support could be more important having a great trip than the ticket price. For example, American Airlines offers special airport assistance for seniors, from the curb to the gate – arrange it ahead of time! Mom could depend on my help straight through to the gate, but airport security would make that a no-no these days.
Speaking of Mom, she made numerous trips in her spry 70s to Bermuda as a traveling companion with a sprightly friend in her mid-80s – – at Connie’s expense. Connie’s family had the peace of mind that their beloved mother/grandmother was in good hands, Connie maintained her sense of independence & Mom had a ball, making many friends & seeing sights she would never have seen on her own.
A dear friend had planned a trip to Paris as a graduation present for a grandson. Several months before they were set to go, he was diagnosed with dementia. Instead of changing their travel plans, they added another companion – a granddaughter who knew Paris (her grandfather had taken her after graduation, too) came along specifically to lend a hand, freeing the two fellas to be footloose & fancy free. The trip was a smash!
You’re not a kid anymore. Build in some savvy precautions & make ensure a happy holiday. Your luggage might end up in Portland ME instead of WA, there might be a traffic jam on I-95 or a blizzard might strand you New Jersey, but at least you can do what you can make sure your travels opt for merry over miserable.