If you are considering traveling with your parents or an older family member, you might be wondering, Where do I start? There are a few things to consider when traveling with an older person. This step-by-step guide will help you to plan a trip so that everyone has a great time.
The planning phase
Step 1: Spend time with your parent before the trip
If you haven’t spent time with your parents recently, you might envision them with the same amount of energy and mobility they had when you were growing up. But as they aged, their ability to do things may have changed.
Austin Naughton, 50, travels regularly with his 92-year-old father and 85-year-old mother. On a recent trip, his siblings, who hadn’t seen their parents in a while, were surprised at how much care they required. “They're not incapacitated. They just needed more care than I think my siblings had been aware of,” says Naughton. If you can spend time with them before your vacation, then you will get a better sense of what they can handle while traveling.
Step 2: Discuss ideas for the vacation
You and your parent can discuss all the particulars of a vacation like the destination, time of year, cost and length of the trip. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and that all will have a fun time.
“You have to include your parents in the discussion so they have a sense of agency. And, and it’s an exciting part of the phase,” says Geneviève Spicer, founder of Paris for Seniors. She regularly travels with her 85-year-old mother.
Spicer also recommends planning your trip at least six months in advance. “The most important thing when planning a trip with your elderly parents is preproduction. You have to start early,” she says. This will give you time to research and provide you with more availability options for accommodations, tour companies or airfare.