Travel Planning Tips for Seniors with Limited Mobility

How to Plan A Safe Travel for Seniors with Limited Mobility

Senior couple with suit cases sitting on sidewalk

Taking a vacation gives people of all ages a chance to get away from the ordinary and experience the sights and sounds of different locations. There are no age restrictions on traveling, and there are plenty of seniors who enjoy taking short and long travel trips. But some may wonder if traveling long distances is okay for seniors with limited mobility. The good news is that vacations for senior citizens with limited mobility can be as rewarding as for other groups of people. The key to travel success for these seniors is researching and planning for accessibility accommodations.

senior couple walking and laughing to each other

Choose Destinations That Offer Mobility Accommodations

It would be nice if every travel destination were easily accessible to people with limited mobility. But this isn’t the case, and seniors should research to see if their desired city or resort has adequate accessibility accommodations that make getting around the area hassle-free. Cities in the U.S. that are good mobile assessable choices include the Metro D.C. area (Alexandria, VA, Arlington, VA and Washington DC), Tampa, FL, Atlanta, GA, San Jose, CA and San Antonio, TX. This is just a sample of the many destinations that make visiting a pleasure for seniors with mobility issues.

Create a Mobility Friendly Itinerary

After arriving at their destination, seniors are going to want to see the sights and do fun things. With proactive pre-planning, they can easily find activities for seniors with limited mobility. Suggestions include:

  • Amusement Parks
  • Art Galleries and Museums
  • Beaches
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Bus Tours
  • City Walking Tours
  • Local Boat Tours
  • Local Parks
  • Music Theme Parks
  • National Parks

Most travel tips for seniors recommend researching each type of activity to find out how venues accommodate people who use canes, walkers and wheelchairs, and those who need to take periodic rest breaks. If a wheelchair is needed, companies that specialize in this area can be contacted about arrangements for local wheelchair rental.

Discuss Travel Plans with Medical Professionals

Seniors under a doctor’s care can get insight from a physician’s perspective about any specific obstacles they need to be aware of when traveling.

Choose Accessible Accommodations

When it comes to accessibility, seniors shouldn’t assume that all hotels comply with mobility recommendations. Before booking a hotel or resort room:

  • Call ahead and ask how they provide for guests who have mobility challenges.
  • Ask specific questions to get honest answers to these important questions.
  • Contact several hotels and compare notes before making a final decision.
Couple in vehicle smiling and reading a map

Tips for Travelling by Car:

Many seniors prefer taking trips by car, and this means that there is going to be lots of driving on long stretches of roadway. Before hitting the road, there are a few things that seniors can do to reduce the risk of discomfort or accidents.

Consider a motor skills assessment. Senior drivers with mobility challenges may want to get a motor skills test that can identify any problem areas affecting driving skills. Contact a doctor or the local DMV to get referrals for professionals conducting this test.

Vision test. Vision can deteriorate with age, and it may be time to schedule an appointment with the optometrist for a thorough vision evaluation. If eyeglasses are needed, it’s better to find out before going on a big road trip. If it turns out that one or more seniors are not able to drive safely, consider planning the trip with other family members or close friends who do drive.

Tips for the car. Adjust the seats and sit in them after the adjustments to ensure seating comfort. Also, car mirrors may need adjusting, which can be done at the same time. Additionally, make sure the car is in good running condition.

Tips for Travelling by Air:

Most airlines are familiar with accommodating seniors and others who have mobility issues. Still, it’s a good idea to call ahead of the scheduled departure time and request assistance with mobility. This way, the airline is prepared to handle the specific needs of each individual. If it’s necessary to bring medications into the passenger area, check the TSA rules about carrying pills, liquid medications, pumps, syringes and other critical medical necessities. Let the airline know that certain medical items must be taken aboard in the carry-on bag. Be sure to drink plenty of water during the flight to stay hydrated. Airplane cabin air doesn’t have much moisture, and it’s easy to get dehydrated.

Mobility Aids and Travel

Many seniors prefer to bring their mobility aids with them while traveling to various destinations. While planning for the trip, these mobility aids should be included in any plans for booking hotel accommodations and transportation. Common aids to consider are canes, walkers, rollators, transport chairs and wheelchairs.

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