The holidays are an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, but if your family and friends live far away, senior travel can bring a unique set of challenges.
In this article, we’re giving you 14 valuable holiday travel tips for a safe, comfortable journey to visit your loved ones this season.
1. Plan senior travel in advance.
Successful senior travel starts with planning. Make a checklist of everything you need to arrange, like hotels, flights, rental cars, tours, activities, etc. This will help you schedule all necessary transportation and accommodations, so you don’t run into any snags while traveling.
If you want consistent, convenient transportation while traveling, use GoGoRides. GoGoGrandparent is available in all 50 states, offering an accessible and affordable alternative to renting a car, catching a train, or trying to nab a taxi. Plus, you get consistency of service; no matter where you are, you know you’re in safe hands with GoGo. Our Family Features mean your loved ones can monitor your rides for peace of mind and seamless senior travel scheduling.
If you want to go on a trip but don’t know where to go, check out this article with some popular senior travel hot spots.
2. Pack smart.
You may want to create a packing list so you don’t forget anything important. One of our top senior travel tips is to pack light. Traveling with less luggage reduces the physical strain of carrying heavy bags and makes it easier to get around.
Along with the go-to’s like clothes and toiletries, don’t forget to pack:
- Travel documents, like necessary passports or visas (make sure these are up to date and not expired)
- Medications and medical supplies
- Prescription glasses and hearing aids
- Emergency contact information
- Travel insurance information
- Personal identification like a driver’s license, passport, or I.D. card
- Photocopies of important documents
- Warm, comfortable clothes and shoes, especially for travel days and outdoor activities
- Technology chargers and adapters
- Wallet essentials like credit or debit cards, cash, and an extra form of payment
- Personal hygiene items
- Spare house keys
- Travel itinerary
- GPS or navigation app
- Luggage locks
- Travel cushion or pillow for comfort
- Books, crossword puzzles, or other entertainment for travel days
- Comfort items like blankets, slippers, or sweaters that offer familiarity
If your holiday senior travel takes you somewhere chilly, pack warm, layered clothing, hand warmers, and winter-friendly accessories like hats and scarves. If you’re going somewhere warm, don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats to protect from the sun.
3. Arrange for assistance.
If you have mobility issues or need additional support, consider arranging for assistance at the airport or other transportation hubs. Many airports offer wheelchair and baggage assistance for senior travel. If you let the airport know in advance, they may also be able to offer priority boarding or extra legroom seats.
Catch an accessible, familiar ride with GoGoRides. Our GoGoGuardians will communicate your accessibility needs to your driver so you can sit back and relax, knowing you’ll have safe, reliable transportation wherever you travel in the U.S.
4. Travel during off-peak times
Make your senior travel smoother and less stressful by avoiding peak travel times if possible. Plus, traveling during off-hours or days may result in more affordable fares.
According to Nerdwallet, the busiest holiday senior travel days are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, December 20, December 27, and December 30. However, all dates immediately around Thanksgiving and Christmas will likely be packed. Pro-tip: airports and highways are often less crowded during the early morning or mid-week, and Tuesday is typically the least traveled day.
If you’re willing to compromise on travel dates, consider traveling before or after the holidays. You’ll still be able to share cherished memories with your loved ones, but you won’t be battling the holiday crowds.
5. Allow for extra time.
One of our best senior travel tips is to plan “extra” time in your schedule. Plan to arrive at the airport and other transportation hubs in advance. Leave time for security checks, boarding, and necessary assistance. When it comes to stress-free senior travel, it’s better to have extra time on your hands than to rush.
6. Consider travel insurance.
A lot can go wrong when it comes to senior travel over the holidays. Unexpected events can and will pop up, from medical emergencies to plane delays to snowstorms. A good travel insurance policy can help protect your journey from cancellations or unforeseen incurred costs.
7. Communicate with loved ones.
One of our most crucial senior travel tips is having someone look out for you as you travel. Throughout the process, keep your loved ones informed about your senior travel itinerary, accommodation details, and emergency contacts. Share your senior travel plans with someone you trust, and provide regular updates throughout your trip.
Check out these safety senior travel tips while using rideshare.
8. Keep necessities and important documents handy.
Keep essential items like medications, medical supplies, and travel documents in your purse or carry-on bag so you have immediate access to them. Also pack a change of clothes and a few TSA-approved toiletries in your carry-on in case your checked luggage is delayed or lost. In case of loss or theft, make duplicates or digital copies of your travel documents – I.D. card, insurance, itinerary, and tickets.
9. Pack healthy snacks.
Senior travel days often have long periods without access to healthy, yummy food. Pack healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, whole-grain crackers, and granola bars to stay energized and satisfied throughout your trip. These will help maintain your energy levels and blood sugar during those energy-intensive senior travel days.
10. Stay hydrated.
It’s also important to stay hydrated during senior travel. Dehydration is a common concern during travel, and it can especially impact on seniors. Carry a refillable water bottle to help you drink plenty of water throughout your journey. Add more fruits and hydrating snacks into your senior travel pack as well. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, as these can contribute to dehydration.
11. Prioritize rest.
If you remember any of these holiday travel tips, let it be this: listen to your body. Senior travel can be exhausting, and getting adequate rest and relaxation is imperative. If you’re feeling tired, take a break. Consider napping during or after long flights or travel days, and opt for low-stress activities that won’t tax your body. Travel should be fun, so don’t push yourself beyond your limits.
12. Secure your home.
One of the most overlooked senior travel tips has to do with leaving your home behind. Before embarking on your journey, secure your home against weather, damage, and theft.
- Lock all doors and windows, including garage doors.
- Close the blinds and curtains to prevent curious eyes from peeking in.
- Set the alarm system.
- Install timed lights to give the impression someone is home.
- Place a wooden dowel or security bar in sliding glass doors to prevent them from being forced open.
- Unplug non-essential appliances like toasters, coffee makers, and chargers to reduce the risk of electrical fires.
- Stop mail and newspaper delivery. A buildup of mail is a clear sign no one is home.
- Inform trusted neighbors or friends about your senior travel plans. Ask them to keep an eye on your property, collect mail and packages, and report suspicious activity.
- Secure your valuables in a safe or secure location.
- Adjust the thermostat to prevent extreme heat or cold while still conserving energy.
- Put a piece of ice in the freezer. If it’s melted or reshaped when you return home, you lost power at some point, and the food in your fridge and freezer may have spoiled.
- Turn off your water supply to prevent potential leaks or water damage, or consider leaving one faucet dripping to help prevent ice dams or blockages while gone.
- Empty the fridge to prevent odors and pests.
- Secure outdoor equipment and tools that could be used to break into your home.
- Ensure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly with fresh batteries.
- Set up remote monitoring with your home security system.
- Close your fireplace flue to prevent drafts, debris, and pests.
- Don’t share your senior travel plans on social media. Disclosing your absence could alert potential burglars.
13. Stay informed.
Stay updated on all travel advisories, weather conditions, and changes to your itinerary. Subscribe to email or text alerts from your airline, travel agency, and hotel to receive real-time updates while you travel. Being informed allows you to adjust your senior travel plans quickly and efficiently for the most seamless trip possible.
14. Sign up for GoGoGrandparent.
GoGoRides offers safe, reliable, and convenient transportation in all states across the USA. Whether traveling to visit family or exploring a new destination, GoGoRides ensures a consistent and comfortable travel experience. Enjoy the freedom of adventure while still having dependable transportation tailored to senior travel needs like accessibility and trustworthiness. Our GoGoGuardians constantly monitor your rides from start to finish, so you can feel confident that someone is always looking out for you while you’re on the road.
Learn more about GoGoRides here.
Holiday senior travel tips
Senior travel during the holidays can be a rewarding experience filled with cherished moments with family and friends. By following these senior travel tips, you can confidently embark on your journey, knowing you’ve taken measures to prioritize your safety, comfort, and wellbeing.
To make your travel even more dependable, consider using GoGoRides. Available in all states across America, GoGoGrandparent ensures consistency of service no matter where your senior travel adventures take you. Safe travels and happy holidays!