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7 Tips for Traveling with Grandpa

Travelling with a senior relative Travelling with a senior relative can be a pleasant experience, or it can be stressful—and it’s all up to how you interact with your relative. You might not even know about everything that your loved one needs to be comfortable on a long trip, so be sure to ask lots of questions and offer clear choices.

Alert the airline to any possible needs that your relative has. For example, if endurance might be a problem, request wheelchair service. If you need a special meal for your relative, make that request at the time of booking.

Help your senior relative do these things:

  • If grandpa is hearing-impaired and
    • Does not wear a hearing aid: Face him, make sure you have his attention, and then talk with a little louder than normal voice.
    • Does wear a hearing aid: Make sure the battery is working in addition to making sure you face and have his attention when speaking to him.
  • Show up at the airport as early as possible. You can tell grandpa what has to be done, but let him choose the pace.
  • Make sure you do what you have to do when passing through security. In the USA you can download the TSA app.
  • Include grandpa in the journey. Ask him to look for gate number on the sign.
  • Avoid topics that might cause passionate discussion. Instead, find out on the Internet what the weather is like at your destination or buy a magazine or snacks for the flight.
  • Take pictures before, during, and after the trip so you can reminisce about the flight later.
  • Try to anticipate the needs of your loved one:
    • Take something to do on the long flight. Take a game, such as a deck of cards or eBook reader, or other kind of quiet entertainment.
    • Visit the toilets before your flight departs.
    • If grandpa is napping when the drink cart comes by, ask for some water for him. Encourage him to drink water to avoid becoming dehydrated.
    • Encourage grandpa to move around in his seat. You can encourage him to pump his ankles or stretch his toes to encourage blood circulation. Check out Boeing’s airplane seat exercises.
    • Make sure your relative doesn’t leave anything behind on the plane.

Have a great trip with a well-rested loved one and memories of a pleasant flight.