Have an upcoming trip planned with your parents or other senior family members or friends? Traveling with seniors requires advanced planning and you must think through a variety of possible scenarios to ensure you are able to handle any situation which may arise during your trip. Check out our complete guide below for a variety of tips and advice to consider when traveling with seniors. With this advice in hand, we hope your future trips with seniors are smooth and safe!

Have your own tip for traveling with seniors that we didn’t include in our guide? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Traveling With Seniors: The Complete Guide

Senior Travel Facts & Figures

  • 41.4 million seniors age 65 and older in the US
    • This number will grow to 92 million by 2060
  • Median net worth of households 65 and older = $170,128
  • Married Population 65+: 58%
  • 36% of leisure travelers in the U.S. were mature travelers
    • 18% were 55-64
    • 18% were 65 and older
  • Adults ages 50 and over account for 80% of all luxury travel spending (including cruises and tours)

Most Popular Destinations Among Seniors

  • Domestic
    • Portland, Oregon
    • Las Vegas, Nevada
    • Branson, Missouri
    • Orlando, Florida
    • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Washington, D.C.
  • International
    • Australia
    • Italy
    • Ireland
    • France
    • Spain
    • New Zealand

Seniors Are Embracing The Hottest Trends in Travel

  • Ecotourism – Hiking through undisturbed nature and wilderness
  • Multigenerational – Sharing family trips will make lifelong memories
  • Bucket List – Lifelong dream trips spent visiting exotic destinations or an ancestor’s homeland, or taking a European tour
  • Adventure Tours – Kayaking, Cycling, Hiking, Snorkeling and Skiing
  • Special Interest Tours – Learning a new language or how to cook, or taking a culinary tour or wine tour
  • Spiritual – Traveling to ancient ruins and sites, or heading out on a retreat
  • Genealogical Tourism – Creating ties to family roots
  • Destination Reveal Tours – Trips that don’t reveal your destination until you reach your hotel or land at a particular airport. Some seniors enjoy a surprise.
  • Educational Travel – Provides seniors with learning experiences as well as the fun and relaxation.
  • Train Tours – Especially enjoyed by senior men, perhaps satisfying an interest from their youth when they saw the train passing through their towns or owned a train set.
  • Mystery Tours – Joining a colorful cast of characters in a mysterious “whodunit” adventure has many seniors traveling to all kinds of destinations to experience the thrill of the hunt.
  • Volunteer Tourism – With a desire to include learning with travel, many seniors are seeking to find fulfillment as they travel the globe. They are doing this by committing a portion of their trip to supporting non-profit projects.
  • River and Canal Cruising – The waterways of the world are providing a form of travel that is becoming more and more popular.

Tips for Traveling With A Senior

  • Plan travel arrangements ahead and ensure accommodations and activities are appropriate for a senior
    • Avoid connecting flights and opt for non-stop
    • Book aisle seats for easier bathroom access
    • Ensure hotel bathrooms are handicap accessible for those in wheelchairs
  • Ask about senior citizen discounts and services
    • Using a travel agent? Look for one that specializes in senior travel (AARP has resources)
  • Notify the senior’s doctor prior to travel / schedule a visit when recommended by doctor
    • Ask for the doctor’s recommendation about local vaccines
  • Prepare Documentation (identification, prescriptions, list of medical conditions, etc)
  • Think about getting a comprehensive travel insurance policy
  • Consider safety and security (money belt, hidden wallet, limit wearing expensive jewelry, etc)
  • Medications
    • Ensure proper medication management & scheduling
    • Carry additional medicines in case of emergency
  • Plan for security checkpoints and brief the senior beforehand (TSA, customs, etc)
  • Watch what seniors eat and drink; try to maintain a typical diet and have them drink lots of water.
  • When traveling in airplanes, have the senior stand up and stretch often. When on longer car rides, plan for more frequent stops.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask other for help!

Planning for Medical Emergencies

  • Make a list of contact information and locations/addresses of local hospitals and medical treatment facilities for each destination during your trip.
  • Research your local hospital/medical facility transportation options in each location you plan to visit.
  • Find a reputable U.S. based air ambulance company that you can contact in case of emergency. This will allow you to transport home the senior you are traveling with if medical care is not available or ideal at your travel destination.
    • Qualified air ambulance companies will have the option of either a private flight, or in cases where commercial travel is possible, they will offer a medically trained travel companion to accompany the senior on a commercial flight.