Stress-free traveling for seniors with mobility concerns
A change in mobility doesn’t mean you need to put the kibosh on traveling. You can still visit spectacular tourist attractions, even ones built centuries ago, if you keep a few suggestions in mind.
First, start by planning early so you aren’t rushed, and you feel comfortable with all your travel decisions. Consulting with a travel agent can be a great initial step to get a lay of the land, particularly one who specializes in travel plans for seniors or older adults.
Tips for traveling to your destination
If you do your research, make task number one calling the airline to find out if you can take your walker or wheelchair on the plane. Even if you don’t use a wheelchair, consider asking the airline for one if you would have to walk long distances at the airport; overall, it can make airport navigation less stressful, too. If your flight has connections, be sure to investigate the layover time to ensure you have plenty of time to reach the next gate stress-free. You can also ask for an aisle or bulkhead seat, which will give you more legroom.
If you are planning to travel within the U.S., consider going by train. Contact Amtrak’s accessible travel services desk to reserve accessible seats, wheelchair space or overnight accommodation in an accessible room.
And if road-tripping by car is the name of the game, map out stops along the way where you can get out and walk around so you don’t feel too stiff when you reach your final destination.
Guidelines for a fun and comfortable stay
If you’re not staying with friends or family, make note of a hotel’s accessibility accommodations so arrangements can be made ahead of your arrival at the check-in desk. For other restaurants and tourist attractions, contact them directly. Even if a site advertises stairs only, a phone call might reveal that an elevator is available upon request so you don’t miss out on any of the sights or entertainment.
Advice about navigating the city
In advance of deciding on a hotel or a restaurant, research the neighborhood as well. You—or perhaps a tech-savvy friend or family member—can use Google Maps’ Street View to get the lay of the land. As this article points out, even if establishments are accessible, you may be faced with a steep hill or cobblestones when you step outside.
Another pointer: thoroughly look into local transportation options, like buses, subways and taxis, beforehand so you can easily hop in a ride home if walking back to the hotel is feeling tiresome at the end of a long sightseeing day.
A point about cruises
When it comes to cruises, it’s often best to book with a major cruise line as those ships are built with accessibility in mind and staff can usually arrange for things like collapsible wheelchairs. Before booking, though, make sure the ship plans to dock at its various ports of call. Some cruises rely instead on small boats, called tenders, to transport passengers to shore. So, depending on weather conditions and your mobility limitations, it might not be safe for you to board a tender.
Whether they travel by plane, train or automobile, Holiday Retirement residents always have the chance to share their adventures in our innovative Adventure Travel Club. It’s a form of traveling where everyone can participate, regardless of mobility. To find out more, get in touch with a community near you!