Snowbirding or Vacationing: Making Airline Travel Work
These days, traveling by plane is challenging no matter your age, agility or station in life. From increased security measures to increased costs of airfare and baggage - air travel is not as easy or convenient as it used to be. For some seniors, whether agile or disabled, air travel can be quite intimidating.
There are things seniors can do, however, to make air travel easier and more attractive. Whether you are a seasoned snowbird, one who travels frequently, or an infrequent traveler planning to go on vacation - these tips can help your air travel experience be successful.
Booking Your Flight
Some airlines offer senior citizen discounts. If you are Internet savvy, you may be able to find discounts and other specials on travel and airline websites. You might also consider booking through a travel agent who may be able to offer the best deals available that fall within your budget and time constraints. Make sure your tickets are either refundable or transferable to another date in the event you have to cancel your trip after booking. Most airlines offer this type of fare and knowing you will not lose money can alleviate additional stress should an emergency situation occur.
Seating selections are important. Some seniors have to use the restroom frequently. Others may not be agile enough to navigate past passengers if seated by a window. In these instances, aisle seats are convenient and safe options. Avoid emergency exit seats even though they offer abundant legroom. While many seniors may be capable of helping others in cases of emergencies, it might be better to leave those seats to stronger people who can assist passengers in getting off the plane in urgent and highly stressful situations.
Packing Your Bags
Find out in advance if the airline charges for checking baggage. Knowing ahead of time eliminates unplanned last-minute expenditures. When packing a carry-on, make sure liquids you carry are within the three-ounce limit and are easily accessible in a clear, sealable plastic baggie for security check-points. Keep any medications and critical health aids in your carry-on bag instead of checked baggage. In the event that baggage gets lost, you will not have to worry about calling your doctor for a new prescription or locating a medical device. Keep your bag as light as you can for carrying purposes but include a book or a few magazines, along with some snacks. Even though some flights provide pretzels or peanuts, you may prefer something different with more sustenance.
What to Wear on the Flight
Consider your outfit carefully for several reasons. If you chill easily, you may want to include a sweater in your carry-on and wear long pants. Wear comfortable shoes, preferably slip-ons that will be easy to take off and on at security checks. Remember you may have to remove any belts or jewelry, money clips and cell phones before passing through the security gate, as well.
Other suggestions for stress-free travel include calling ahead to ensure your plane is on time and checking your gate number several times after arriving at the airport. Gate changes are often made at the last-minute but are posted throughout the airport on the electronic televisions provided for that purpose. Last but not least, plan to arrive well ahead of your plane's departure time. Doing so ensures you will not miss your plane due to traffic, long security lines or any other reason - allowing you to begin your travel happy and stress-free.