Traveling is often an amazing experience that can broaden you as a person or just provide some much-needed rest and relaxation. But what can you do when you want to travel but are a full or part time caregiver?
Don’t give up on travel, instead use these tips to travel smarter:
- Think ahead
Are you flying? Call TSA to let them know if your loved one needs any accommodations. You can even call customer service for the airlines and ask questions before booking a flight. Staying at a hotel? Call to make sure your loved one will be comfortable staying there (e.g., how many accessible rooms do they have available?). Are you driving? Think about how many hours your loved one will be able to sit in a car comfortably. It may be worth it to plan an extra day for travel. AARP has an excellent article on traveling as a caregiver.
You may enjoy hiking or spending the day at a theme park, but these activities could be difficult or even exhausting for your loved one. Be prepared to take frequent breaks or plan activities that they feel confident participating in. The Travel Channel has a guide to traveling with disabilities that can be helpful.
3. Pay attention to WHEN you plan activities
It’s natural to want to see and do as much as possible on a vacation but be sure to not over-plan your days. Take your loved one’s usual routine into consideration when planning. Are they an early riser? Then a morning flight or spending the morning at a museum will probably work. Do they tend to sleep in? If so, an afternoon flight might be more doable.
4. Refill prescriptions before the trip
This makes sure that your loved one won’t have a gap in taking their medicine and cuts down on the chance for negative effects from skipping a dose. Bring along your loved one’s doctor’s number as well as a copy of their medical records in case they need medical attention during the vacation.
5. Rethink your vacations
Right now you may be laughing at the thought of having enough time or mental energy to plan a full vacation that takes you out of your state or even out of the country! Vacations can be big or small. During the Great Recession, “staycations” became a trend. These vacations involved taking time off work but playing tourist in your own city. If the thought of taking your loved one too far from their doctor worries you, think about spending a day with them visiting local spots you always meant to visit but never got around to. Find local places that cater to their interests. Do they love cats but aren’t allowed to have pets? A relaxing afternoon at a cat café could be just what both of you need!