Traveling abroad with aging parents can be one of the most stressful and rewarding experiences. I realised this year that my poor parents are not getting any younger and haven’t seen the world. Practically every month I travel abroad its an incredible experience which I want my parents to experience too. They have given up so much for my siblings and I that I felt it’s time I paid them back. Well at least in part as I don’t think I have even scratched the surface of what they gave up.
One thing I knew about traveling abroad with aging parents is I needed to make some preparations. As my parents have gotten older, they have become slower and take a lot more time to do things. Therefore when I decided that 2018 was the year they saw the world, I need to plan ahead. If you’re ever planning to travel with your aging parents abroad, we’ve put together some tips to consider.
Traveling Abroad with Aging Parents
When I made the decision to travel with my aging parents this year, I didn’t really put much thought into it. I knew the touring of whatever destination would need to be slower pace than I am used to. There are certain things which I ended up learning ‘on the job’ so to
speak write. But one thing that I definitely knew was that I was going to make the trips memorable for my parents. Before you go off taking your parents abroad with you, here are some things to consider:
One of the perks of my platinum bank account with Natwest is that I get travel insurance on all my trips. When traveling with my parents I needed to add-on more in case of medical emergencies. It is important to assess each of your parents and their individual needs and see what insurance works best. God forbid should something happen, make sure you have adequate cover for all eventualities.
As an avid traveler, I am a pro at packing light as often I visit European cities for less than 48 hours. Even if I go for more than 3 days, I only travel with a carry on and that’s enough. We learned on our first adventure that my parents need support with traveling light. Obviously my mother packed the entire house including the kitchen sink, I ended up carrying her bags. A lesson was learned for the second trip to Tuscany where packing light was second nature for all. Depending on your individual parents, it is important to check they have everything they need. Medication is one necessity that comes to mind, always check you have the relevant documentation to go with medication.
Destination – choose wisely
Living in the UK we have Europe as our playground but I still had to consider my destinations wisely. Again, this I speak from experience, it’s important to choose the destination carefully before traveling. Our first adventure traveling abroad with aging parents was to Toulouse, a french city. To this day my parents are still talking about this city and how accessible it was for them. Our hotel was close to all major city attractions, we walked to their pace and public transport was available too.
Amenities – use them if available
One thing we didn’t need during our recent adventures abroad is making use of the airline amenities. But if your family needs them make sure to utilize them as they make the journey much easier. One thing we often check with each hotel we book is accessibility, especially with the bathroom. My parents need a *walk in bath it is much better than hopping in and out of the tub. We’ve been fortunate so far that all our accommodations were accessible, our recent adventure to Casale Amati was accessible. It’s paramount to ensure you take full advantage of available amenities when traveling abroad with aging parents.
One thing that has been made much easier when it comes to travel documents is the electronic boarding pass. I can not remember the last time I printed my boarding pass and even traveling with my parents I just have them on my phone. But these are not the only important documents you need to have. Passports and any medical reports should be put together, packed first, checked last. It’s a little ritual I have where I pack my passport and other relevant documents first and before I leave the house, I check I still have them.
Whenever I travel I ensure to look at the available city tour options because I want to make use of my time. Using city tours allows me to prioritize what I want to see just from the bus and what I wish to explore further. Traveling abroad with aging parents calls for booking a city tour bus a must to spare too much walking. Our adventure to Florence called for enjoying most of the city sights from the comfort of a city tour bus. We covered more ground, allocated time to places of much interest to us and can’t recommend it more.
Traveling with elderly parents can be such a rewarding experience, the excitement on my parent’s face is priceless. Obviously we all have to consider our personal circumstances on affordability of traveling abroad with our families. But if you’re in a position to take your parents abroad or somewhere within your country, that is awesome. I am keen on showing my parents the world outside our family home and they are looking forward to it.