Thanksgiving Travel Tips for Seniors and Their Families
Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away, and for many families that means it is time to start planning for Thanksgiving travel. Thanksgiving is notoriously the busiest travel weekend of the year, which means no matter where you are planning on going, you can expect your travel to be even more difficult than normal. Roadways are going to be congested with traffic, airports are going to have overbooked flights and long security lines and everyone is going to feel more stressed than ever about traveling.
Traveling in these conditions can be stressful enough, but if you are enduring this type of travel situation with a senior family member, it can be even more overwhelming. Everyone traveling with a senior family member wants their loved ones to stay safe and comfortable during this type of travel experience so that they can make the most out of their upcoming holiday. Here are a few tips on how you can make this process more enjoyable for everyone involved.
- Give yourself an extra hour on everything. If your drive is normally two hours, plan for three. If you normally get to the airport 90 minutes in advance, plan on 2 ½ hours. This is an easy rule of thumb for Thanksgiving weekend that will have everyone feeling less stressed.
- Do your best to avoid those big travel days. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving are the two most congested travel days on these weekends, so if your loved one’s schedule is flexible, try to avoid these days all together.
- Don’t assume that driving is always a better option. There are many people who attempt to avoid flying or trains on Thanksgiving weekend, and instead drive distances they would not normally drive. However, driving can be just as stressful for seniors, and you can expect roads, gas stations and travel plazas to be overrun with other travelers.
- Always pack snacks. Nothing can make the stress of traveling worse than feeling hungry or having low blood sugar. Snacks can be your best friend when traveling with a senior, and can help them keep their energy and their spirits high.
- Have a detailed plan. While some plans may never come to fruition, it is still smart to have a plan in place, if you can. This will at least give you a blueprint of how the travel day should be going.
- Know the perks of traveling in airports with seniors. While the airport can be a chaotic mess on Thanksgiving weekend, there are many perks that seniors can take advantage of. Call ahead to schedule wheelchair service if your loved one may have issues walking long distances. Also remember that seniors don’t have to remove their jackets or shoes when going through security! Little things like this can help you save time when going though the airport.
If you fail to prepare for the trials and tribulations that can come with Thanksgiving travel, it can seriously impact your entire Thanksgiving holiday. Keep these tips in mind to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible and everyone can enjoy their Thanksgiving vacation together.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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