Traveling as an older adult is great for meeting new people, staying physically active, and having fun. Whether you’re traveling domestically or wanting to explore the world, travel is great for the mind, body, and soul.
According to a 2022 AARP survey, 67% of American travelers ages 50 and up plan on taking at least four trips this year.
If you’re traveling as an older adult or planning a trip for a loved one, here are tips to make your trip as seamless as possible.
Always ask about senior discounts
Closed mouths don’t get fed, which means you should always ask for discounts. Some airlines offer reduced fares for older adults, but it isn’t advertised. Delta, for example, offers senior discounts in some markets but does not offer senior discounts online.
Travel in off-peak seasons
Avoid months where tourism is high. This will not only save you money, but you’ll also avoid crowded destinations.
Check in before arriving at the airport
Most airlines will allow you to check in online 24 hours in advance of your flight. This cuts down on checking in at the ticket counter, especially if you only have carry-on luggage. You will, however, still have to check in at the airport counter if you need a wheelchair or assistance.
Arrive at the airport early
Try to be at the airport at least two hours before your flight’s departure time. If you’re traveling internationally, get there three hours before. Lines are long and you don’t want to feel flustered rushing to your gate.
Know your TSA rights
Travelers ages 75 and older won’t have to take their shoes off while going through TSA. Light jackets can be kept on.
Fill out a TSA Notification Card to inform security about any medical conditions or disabilities.
Ask about pre-boarding
In another case of closed mouths don’t get fed, you can pre-board your flight and get to your seat sooner. Depending on the airline, you can ask to be pre-boarded. Most of the time seniors or people with a disability will be allowed to board the aircraft early.
Get great travel gear
Having the right gear makes all the difference for your travel experience.
-Travel pillow for a comfortable flight
-Luggage tags and suitcase marker to identify your checked baggage
-Travel bag or pouch to hold important documents, your passport, credit cards, IDs…etc.
Book a guided tour
Guided tours are great when traveling as an older adult because everything will be planned and coordinated for you. Try booking tours early in the day to avoid extreme temperatures as well as crowds.
Booking travel for an older loved one
When booking travel for your older loved one, you should always try to get the shortest and direct route. Also, look at travel times that align with your loved one’s schedule.
Urge your loved on to pack as light as possible, especially if they’ll be traveling alone. Arrange their travel to the airport and arrange for someone at the airport to escort them to their gate. Make sure that transportation is arranged at their destination airport.