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Travelling with older family members? These are the tips to keep in mind

Recently updated on July 12th, 2022 at 05:12 pm

Travelling isn’t just a young person’s game. Research shows that mature-aged travellers love to get out there, with AARP’s 2022 Travel Trends Report finding that 66% of people aged over 70 plan to travel this year – many of them with family. If you can’t wait to go travelling with your mum and dad, or treat them to a surprise adventure, but you know they might need to take things a little slower, we’ve got a few family travel tips to ensure things run smoothly on your trip. From planning ahead to staying flexible, here are eight tips for travelling with family members in need of a slower travel pace.

Plan ahead

When you’re travelling with your parents or older family members, planning ahead is key. You’ll want to start planning your trip months in advance so you have time to thoroughly research your destination options. It’s best to plan out as much of your trip as possible and book ahead with things like tours, accommodation, flights, trains, and activities. 

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travellers sharing a meal al fresco

Be aware of needs when choosing your destination

You’ll also need to get input from your family members on what kind of experiences they’d like to have on the trip and their needs and routines. Your family members might have regular medication they need to take or mobility limitations that need to be considered. For example, they may not do well in destinations with lots of hills and steps or cities with a rowdy party scene. 

The key to multigenerational travel is choosing a destination that has something for everyone in your group. But don’t worry – there are tons of suitable destinations, from Italy to Ireland and from the USA to Costa Rica. 

Any travel limitations or preferences can easily be addressed with the right planning… And all this forward thinking means you’re sure to have the holiday everyone’s been dreaming about. 

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Don’t pack it in

While it’s important to plan ahead, you also should avoid over-planning. Flexibility is key when travelling with older family members and your mindset can make a huge difference in your trip. Try to expect the unexpected and manage delays and challenges with a calm and composed nature. That way, everyone is sure to have a more enjoyable experience. And after all, overcoming obstacles is what travel adventures are all about! 

You should also avoid overscheduling your trip. That means only scheduling one planned activity per day and being sure to allow plenty of downtime to relax and sleep and lots of time for getting ready in the mornings and evenings. You should also arrive extra early for transport to your destination, whether you’re travelling by plane, train or bus. Things might take longer when you’re travelling with older family members, but we think it’s better to slow down and smell the roses anyway. 

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elderly couple travelling in mountains

Pick some universally enjoyable activities

Travelling with your parents and older family members can be so much fun. It’s a beautiful chance to strengthen your bond and learn more about them… And you may be surprised to see what kinds of things they enjoy doing! When you’re planning activities, be sure to go for things that everyone can enjoy, like boat cruises in Budapest, game drives in Kenya, or cheese tasting in France. At the end of the day, what matters most is that you’re all spending time together and making precious memories. 

Taking a guided tour can be another great option. When you travel as a family with Trafalgar, we’ll take care of all the details so you can kick back and enjoy your trip. We’ll also plan out the very best experiences, but leave room for flexibility so you can pick and choose what you’d like to do. It’s perfect for older family members who may need some extra help to navigate unfamiliar destinations, but also want the independence to choose activities that interest them.

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elderly couple hugging in vineyard

Go for the most comfortable transport

When it comes to choosing your transport, sometimes it’s best to not go the extra mile. When travelling with older family members, your goal is to get to your destination as smoothly and comfortably as possible. So that may mean only booking direct flights instead of multi-stop, multi-day sagas. Some family members may not want to fly and would prefer to travel somewhere closer to home or within driving distance. If you’re driving, be sure to plan lots of restroom and snack breaks. Or, you may prefer to take a romantic train journey as part of your holiday. 

If you do decide to fly, remember to ask your airline for assistance. Many airlines can arrange for early boarding, onboard assistance, and seats with extra legroom. They can also provide a wheelchair which can be great when facing long security lines or delays. 

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Choose suitable accommodation

The right accommodation is key to a fantastic holiday for anyone. When travelling with older family members, it helps to plan ahead so you can choose the most suitable accommodation. 

For example, you may prefer to book adjoining rooms so you can be close to your loved ones if they need you at night. Or if your family member has mobility issues, you may need wheelchair-friendly rooms and showers, or reliable elevators. The good news is that most hotels and accommodations are willing to assist you, so don’t hesitate to contact them and ask for anything you need. 

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multigenerational family trip

Visit a doctor before your trip

A trip to the doctor before travelling is important for anyone, but especially so for the elderly. Your older family members should head to their doctor to confirm they are fit and well to travel. You’ll also need to get prescriptions for enough medication to last the trip and discuss any health issues that may arise. If any family members struggle with anxiety around travelling, your doctor may suggest strategies to ease their nerves during the trip. 

When it comes to travelling with medication, you’ll need to keep a list of the medications and dosages, plus a letter from your doctor confirming the prescriptions and medications. You’ll also need to carry all medications in the original containers in your carry-on luggage – just in case your checked luggage gets lost or delayed! And bring extras – you never know when you’ll need them. 

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Get insurance

Everyone needs travel insurance and you’ll need to ensure your older family members have appropriate cover. Be sure to have a chat with your insurance provider about any pre-existing medical conditions. That way, you can get the right insurance policy that will cover your family members. 

Do you have any great multigenerational family travel tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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