The holiday season is meant to be spent celebrating and relaxing with loved ones, yet often turns out to be one of the most stress-filled times of the year.
Long lines, crowded airports, ever-changing TSA regulations, even unpredictable winter weather can all combine to make holiday travel an experience many would prefer to avoid. A professional, mature, CPR-certified travel companion from Preferred Travel Helpers will help eliminate the stress associated with traveling, so families can focus on celebrating together. Whether it’s assisting grandma and grandpa, or a single mom flying alone with the kids, a Travel Helper can help make “getting there” more enjoyable and fun.
Just in time for the busiest travel season of the year, the assisted travel experts at Preferred Travel Helpers present the Top 10 Holiday Travel Tips* for the Elderly.
10. Remember, walkers, crutches, canes and other devices that can fit through the X-ray machine must undergo X-ray screening (with the exception of white collapsible canes). Ask a security officer for assistance (arm, hand, shoulder to lean on) until you are reunited with your device. Security will perform a hand inspection of your equipment if it cannot fit through the X-ray machine.
9. The limit of one carry-on and one personal item (purse briefcase or computer case) does not apply to medical supplies, equipment, mobility aids, and/or assistive devices.
8. If you have medical documentation regarding your medical condition or disability, have it with you to present it to a security officer to help inform him of your situation. This documentation is not required and will not exempt you from the security screening process, but may make the process easier.
7. If you have personal supplemental oxygen, it will need to undergo screening. Check with your doctor prior to coming to the airport to ensure disconnection can be done safely. If you need an oxygen supplier to meet you at the arrival gate, check with your airline well in advance of your departure about their procedures for allowing suppliers to meet you, since these procedures vary from airline to airline.
6. If traveling internationally, apply for a passport at least three months prior to travel. Be sure to fill out the emergency contact page of your passport. Make a copy of your passport and store it separate from the original. Some foreign countries will also require that you have a Visa.
5. High altitude, air pollution, humidity and extreme temperatures may cause health issues. Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance. Medicare does not cover medical expenses outside of the U.S.
4. If you have a medical device (on the interior or exterior of your body) check with your doctor prior to traveling to determine if it is safe for you to go through the metal detector or be hand-wanded. If your doctor indicates that you should not go through the metal detector or be hand-wanded, or if you are concerned, ask the security officer for a pat-down inspection instead.
3. Pack your medications in a separate pouch/bag to facilitate the inspection process. Ensure that containers holding medications are not too densely filled, and that all medication is clearly identified. If possible keep your medication in its original, marked container. The TSA recommends that passengers do not pack medications that they do not want exposed to X-rays in their checked baggage. Instead, send larger quantities of medications to your destination by mail ahead of time. Travel delays due to weather and unforeseen circumstances can happen. Bring at least three extra day’s worth of prescriptions with you, just to be safe.
2. Do not wrap gifts you’re taking on the plane. Security officers may have to unwrap gifts if they need to take a closer look. Plan to ship wrapped gifts ahead of time or wait until your destination to wrap them. You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they may require additional screening.
1. The number one travel tip for the elderly this season is to hire a travel assistant. Each Helper at Preferred Travel Helpers is an insured employee who is not only CPR-certified, but trained in Crisis Prevention Intervention, flight physiology and all current TSA requirements. The Helper’s focus is on the traveler’s comfort and safety as well as overseeing every detail of the trip. From check-in, baggage handling, gate and itinerary changes and security checkpoints to ensuring the traveler safely reaches their destination; the Helper is a constant companion and assistant, easing the fears, confusion and anxiety that can often be overwhelming during travel.
Additionally, Preferred Travel Helpers can coordinate and manage all equipment associated with accessible travel (securing proper oxygen concentrators, etc.), leaving the client free to relax and enjoy their trip.
“The holidays are meant to be spent together, surrounded by friends and family,” said Preferred Travel Helpers president and founder, Kimarie Jones. “You just can’t hug via video chat. We want to help bring families together for year-round special occasions, and especially the holidays.”
*Tips compiled from the US State Department and Transportation Security Administration.