Elderly people can face problems traveling during the holiday season because to various reasons like crowded airports, long security lines, TSA regulation changes or even crampy airline seats.
So here are some tips for the elderly to make their travel easier:
- The limit of one carry-on and one personal item (purse briefcase or computer case) does not apply to medical supplies, equipment, mobility aids, and/or assisted devices.
- Crutches, walkers, and canes that can fit through the X-ray machine must undergo X-ray screening. The while collapsible canes are an exception. Security officer may inspect with their hands if the equipment cannot fit through the X-ray machine.
- Carry your medical documentation regarding your medical condition or disability with you during the screening process and hand it over to the security officer, informing him or her of your situation. This documentation is not required and will not exempt you from the security screening process, but may make the process easier.
- Personal supplemental oxygen must undergo screening. Check with your doctor prior to coming to the airport to ensure disconnection can be done safely. If you need an oxygen supplier to meet you at the arrival gate, check with your airline well in advance of your departure about their procedures for allowing suppliers to meet you, since these procedures vary from airline to airline.
- If you have a medical device (on the interior or exterior of your body) check with your doctor prior to traveling to determine if it is safe for you to go through the metal detector or be hand-wanded. If your doctor indicates that you should not go through the metal detector or be hand-wanded, or if you are concerned, ask the security officer for a pat-down inspection instead.
- High altitude, air pollution, humidity and extreme temperatures may cause health issues. Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance. Medicare does not cover medical expenses outside of the U.S.
- If traveling internationally, apply for a passport at least three months prior to travel. Be sure to fill out the emergency contact page of your passport. Make a copy of your passport and store it separate from the original. Some foreign countries will also require that you have a Visa.
- Pack your medications in a separate pouch/bag to facilitate the inspection process. Ensure that containers holding medications are not too densely filled, and that all medication is clearly identified. If possible keep your medication in its original, marked container. The TSA recommends that passengers do not pack medications that they do not want exposed to X-rays in their checked baggage. Instead, send larger quantities of medications to your destination by mail ahead of time. Travel delays due to weather and unforeseen circumstances can happen. Bring at least three extra days worth of prescriptions with you, just to be safe.
- Ship wrapped gifts to your loved ones instead of carrying it with you while traveling, as security officers may have to unwrap gifts if they need to take a closer look. If you must carry them with you then keep them unwrapped and wait until you reach your destination.