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Importance of Senior Travel and Tips to Overcome the Difficulties

by Susan Saurel
Senior couple traveling airport scene

When aging knocks, it’s the right time to travel. Why? You boost your physical, mental, and emotional health.

We all understand how beneficial traveling is to our wellbeing but for seniors, traveling to a favorite destination or a new city can be a way to rebirth.

A report by the Global Coalition on Aging suggests that engaging in social activities like traveling reduces the risk of dementia, can combat depression and is also said to improve heart health.

There are loads of impressive benefits that come from traveling, especially for seniors.

In this article, we take a look at the importance of traveling for seniors, the difficulties of senior travel and in the end, we will share some tips to overcome such difficulties.

The Importance of Traveling for Seniors

  • Improves Heart Health

As traveling nourishes your mental and emotional health, it also keeps you physically healthy and boosts your heart health. A report by Framingham Heart Study suggests that old women who travel occasionally have higher chances of suffering from heart disease than younger ones who traveled occasionally.

A 2000 study also reported the same results. In the study, those who traveled frequently and were likely to suffer from coronary heart disease were found to be less likely to die of heart disease.

Perhaps these benefits are brought about by the fact that when you travel, you relieve your heart and brain from everyday stress. When traveling, you are also exercising and this is also beneficial to reduce the chances of suffering from high blood pressure and stroke.

  • Traveling for Seniors Boosts Mood and Mental Health

When you travel you meet fresh people, things, and you also change the environment you are used to living in. This way, you boost your mood and mental health.

And for the elderly people, travel helps them meet and interact with their loved ones from different countries which encourage healthy relationships.

Loneliness and isolation are the two causes of depression, meager mood, and even high blood pressure in older people. When you travel, you get the company of people which is beneficial for your psychological and emotional health.

You also get to understand other people in a different way, get used to nature, and also experience your other part of life.

  • Travel for Seniors is Good for Brain Health

When you travel, you meet different people some of who you have never met, you also experience life in different environments, and participate in activities you haven’t engaged yourself in. This way, you challenge your brain and hence your mind stays active.

  • It’s a Way To Relax

Yes, when you travel you relax. Traveling is one of the best ways to break from your everyday activities.

Well, perhaps you are too old and that you retired from work a long time ago, but changing environments is also a good way to relax.

  • Traveling for Seniors is a Way to Stay Active

Even if you can’t run but as you travel, you move. Well, perhaps you are thinking that you are already active because you always move from your home to your place of work but when you experience and explore new locations, you become more active as you will want to know more and explore more of the things you don’t know.

Difficulties of Senior Travelers

Traveling for seniors is not the same as traveling for the younger population. These are people who do not travel frequently and so they aren’t used to some of the encounters in airports. For instance, they aren’t aware of the rigorous security measures. Besides, as you age, you become physically limited. Senior travelers also need medical preparation, especially for those with pre-existing medical issues.

Here are some of the difficulties of senior travelers. We will talk about how to overcome them later in this article.

  • New Encounters

Perhaps in the past, when there were no cases of terrorist attacks, security measures weren’t tighter. But these days, things have become tighter. New security measures have been put in place that require one to be screened thoroughly from one checkpoint to another and for senior travelers who aren’t patient; it can be frustrating to them. Most airports these days have put in place senior travelers’ facilities to address this issue though, but still, they aren’t exempted from thorough security checks.

  • Medical Precincts

Before traveling, many senior travelers, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions have to figure out many things. This way, they end up being limited to the things they can do. That’s why many prefer to stay at home than to travel.

Others would need to be accompanied by their peers due to the medications they would want to take during their journey.

  • Physical Struggles

Aging comes with many things. You can walk, react, or hear as well as you used to. Your vision is also weakening. Some even find it difficult to understand. These are some of the physical difficulties of traveling for seniors.

As a result, when traveling with senior citizens, one needs to make sure there is the availability of wheelchairs and motorized carts otherwise, if traveling for leisure, you can’t enjoy it if you accompany an older citizen who can’t move fast. Of course, with a good budget, one can hire a service vehicle.

Tips to Overcome Difficulties of Senior Travel

The difficulties of senior travel we have described above can even stop many from exploring the world. It doesn’t have to be that way. These tips will help senior travelers and those accompanying them have an enjoyable journey.

  • If possible, book an express flight.

Too many stop-overs can be frustrating, especially when traveling with seniors with disabilities. For that reason, it would be better to book non-stop flights than connecting flights as this can also minimize the total travel time.

Sometimes non-stop flight fares are higher than connecting flights but if you want to travel comfortably, it is better.

Other things to avoid are booking regional jets, particularly if the airports don’t have a jet-bridge. These regional jets require passengers to board the plane using stairs and aren’t ideal for seniors.

  • Select a suitable disability facility

While booking, it is recommended to choose the right disability option, especially when traveling with seniors with disabilities. Some airlines will allow you to choose as you book but others will require you to call the airline by phone to ask for these services.

Consider traveling with an Airline-Approved Scooter

  • There are many folding and lightweight mobility scooters approved for cruise ships and airplanes. We recommend this long list of top brand options sold at by Senior.com. You can ride a scooter to the gate and then the airline will add it to baggage with the strollers. Often you will be required you to carry the battery with you on the flight for safety. Scooters are a great way to get around on your trip. In addition, they help you reserve your energy.
  • Ask for a wheelchair from the airport

This applies to seniors who have problems with walking and may not have carried their wheelchairs while traveling. Usually, most airports have wheelchairs to carry such passengers from the airport to the gate where they can take a hire service vehicle.

  • Pack any medications for any possible health condition

Now with this one, you don’t have to be senior to carry medications. In fact, it is better to avoid putting medications in checked baggage. A good rule of thumb is to carry your medications with you either in a small handbag or luggage, then place it nearby.

The rest can go into a checked bag.

  • Observe the time of travel

Another important tip for traveling for seniors is to travel at the right time of the day. When still young, you can travel any time of the day, but when you age, the best time to depart is mid-morning or early afternoon.

  • Have a family member to accompany you

If you are traveling with the whole family, the better. However, it can be difficult to land in a foreign country where you cannot community the language of that country properly, and you are alone. You will have to be cleared before you are allowed entry to any country and if you are unable to fill the forms provided, it can be challenging.

Although you may get someone to help you out, it’s better to travel with a family member.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. If you had planned a trip for seniors but you were wondering how to make it enjoyable, we hope our tips will help you.

Happy Travel!



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