International Travel Tips for Your Elderly Parents

Vacations are integral to many happy, close-knit families. So many people cherish the memories from their family vacations their whole lives. Upon growing up, work, education or other responsibilities may make it difficult to go on a vacation. Specifically for our now-old parents, trips especially abroad can be challenging, however, there are always ways to make it smoother!

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What are the Problems Faced by Elderly Parents While Travelling?

Ageing is a bittersweet reality of life. The parents who used to hold our hands and guide us won’t always be young and full of life.

Travel Tips for Parents

Many elderly parents over 60 years of age may face a variety of challenges when travelling abroad, so it’s important to be aware of them before we can do anything about them:

  • Physical Limitations: As people age, they may experience reduced mobility, difficulty walking, or chronic health conditions that can make travel more challenging. Especially in women, there can be bladder incontinence, which can cause a lot of discomfort during travel.
  • Medical Issues: Older travellers may have medical issues that require medication, medical equipment, or specialized care. They may also be at higher risk for illnesses or injuries while travelling, which can be especially concerning when in a foreign country.
  • Language Barriers: Communication can be difficult when travelling abroad, especially if our parents don’t speak the local language. It will be even more challenging for the elderly who may have hearing or cognitive impairments. Moreover, if it’s a non-English speaking country, many Indian parents may face communication issues.
  • Culture Shock: Travelling to a foreign country with different customs, traditions, and ways of life can be overwhelming, especially for older travellers who may be more set in their ways.
  • Safety Concerns: Elderly people may be more vulnerable to theft, scams, or other safety issues while travelling abroad.
  • Jet Lag and Fatigue: Older parents may have a harder time adjusting to time zone changes and may experience more fatigue and exhaustion during travel.

It's important to take these challenges into consideration when planning a trip with older travellers and to make necessary accommodations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. In the next section, we have shared some tips to battle these issues for a great vacation with your parents.

Travel Tips for Ageing Parents

Travel Tips for Ageing Parents

After a life full of hard work and responsibilities, vacations are a welcome gift capable of enriching our parents' lives. A little care and preparation can easily help your parents overcome that travel fatigue and have the dream foreign vacation they have been waiting for! Here are some tips to make their next international trip memorable and hassle-free:

Plan Ahead

When travelling with elderly parents, it's essential to plan ahead. Consider their mobility, medical needs, and preferences when planning your itinerary. Many seniors have chronic health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. Many of them have difficulty with at least one activity of daily living (ADL), such as bathing or dressing. Therefore, you should plan to ensure their comfort and safety. 

Get them a medical checkup and doctor’s clearance for travelling, and then proceed with important things like trip itinerary, buying travel insurance, visa work, etc.

Pick the Right Destination

Consider destinations that are senior-friendly with easy access to public transportation and senior-friendly activities. A simple google search will list the most popular international destinations for senior travellers. 

Popular places include countries in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. These destinations offer a range of senior-friendly activities, including sightseeing, cultural experiences, religious sites, pilgrimage and relaxation. Ensure that these are safe places with robust laws and healthcare so that they are always safe.

Book Direct Flights

Long layovers and connecting flights can be stressful and exhausting for elderly travellers, so try to book direct flights. Most seniors prefer to fly non-stop as long layovers can be exhausting. If direct flights are not possible, look for flights with short layovers. Meanwhile, if you have travellers credit card then you may also get international lounge access. It will be comfortable and affordable at the same time.

Arrange for Assistance

If your parents have trouble walking or can’t manage to take the stairs, you can ask for wheelchair assistance in advance. Most airports offer wheelchair assistance for elderly passengers. Make sure to arrange this in advance to avoid any issues at the airport. Similarly, in case of any other disability, you can pre-arrange assistance at the airports, hotels and even the tourist spots you plan to visit.

Pack Medications & Supplies

In case of any underlying health condition, you must pack all necessary medications and medical supplies for your elderly parents. You should also include copies of prescriptions and a list of medications as they may not be available abroad, or require a doctor’s prescription.

Buy Travel Insurance

Travel insurance can provide peace of mind for both you and your elderly parents. Thankfully, several travel insurance companies in India offer a senior citizen travel insurance that covers people above 60 and more. As our parents may already have pre-existing diseases, so you should declare them and buy senior citizen travel insurance for parents with health issues. Make sure to compare different plans before purchasing!

Choose Comfortable Accommodations

Look for accommodations that are easy to access for elderly travellers. Consider hotels with amenities like elevators, grab bars, and wheelchair accessibility. You should also consider their service and how proactive the staff is so that your parents don’t need to struggle or entirely depend on you.

Hire Private Guides & Plan for Rest Breaks

Hire Private Guides

Consider hiring a private guide to help your parents navigate new places and attractions. This will ensure they have an enjoyable and stress-free experience. You must also schedule rest breaks throughout your itinerary to give your elderly parents time to recharge for the next activity. Older adults may experience fatigue more quickly than younger adults, so it's important to plan for rest breaks.

In a Nutshell

Finally, remember to be patient and flexible when travelling with elderly parents. Allow for extra time and be prepared to adjust your plans if needed to ensure they have a comfortable and enjoyable trip. Our parents value the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends when travelling, so ultimately it's most important they have a positive experience with you abroad.

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*Price shown is for a 30 day trip to Thailand with 1 lakh dollar coverage for an adult of age 25 years

 
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