Over the years, many seniors move away from siblings, children and their extended family. Distance grows because of work, financial, housing or lifestyle choices. As seniors, we encounter health issues for the first time. Distant family and senior health issues combine to create concerns new and complications. However, these are concerns that cannot be ignored despite the miles.
Distant Family and Senior Health Issues
My wife and I are on the west coast. Our family, at least my side, are on the east coast. We only see each other once every couple of years. Because of the of the distance, we keep up relationships with texts and FaceTime. Because my oldest sister has been sick for awhile, we decided to visit her and have a little vacation on Cape Cod at the same time. Senior health issues seem are frequently the reason for travel with family members are far apart. Over the years, we have compiled some senior travel tips. We attempted to use them all for this cross country excursion.
With just a week for the trip, we decided to fly. Because we bought the cheapest tickets we had to pay for everything. Assigned seating was $12 each for every flight. A carry on was $30 each way. Despite the extras, we had cheap flights because we did not need to carry much with us. With planning, we have found that discounts fares are great. An unexpected benefit of the cheap tickets was that our row was not full on any of the flights.
We fly out of our regional airport. It means an extra, short flight to a major airport. Regional airports cost a bit more. But, they make flying much easier.
The TSA lines are short. There is a great restaurant on site. It’s not necessary to be at the airport hours in advance. Because the airport is close to home, there is no driving time involved. Usually, someone is able to give us a ride so there is no cost involved for parking the car. The inconvenience of an extra flight is far outweighed by how much easier the departure process is at a regional airport. From our point of view, when senior health is involved, things should be as easy as possible.
Inexpensive tickets mean carrying on only one personal item each. This can be a back-pack, computer bag, or a purse. A carry-on bag can be up to $30. A full size suitcase is $50. We have found that one carry-on between us and two backpacks are adequate for short trips. I usually don’t carry toiletries because they are inexpensive to buy where we are staying. Everything that needs to be presented at the TSA checkpoint is kept in one backpack for easy access. The backpacks are light and easy to manage in the airport.
We get the cheapest rental car possible with cruise control and air conditioning. This is particularly true if our destination is not far from the airport. It is often very inexpensive to rent a car from an off site agency because they are not paying the airport transportation tax. We have found that an Uber to and from an off site rental agency can save up to $25/ day on the car rental. However, the convenience of renting a car at the airport is nice. Reserving a rental car online does not require payment so changing pick up times is usually not a problem.
My wife and I like our privacy. We don’t like having to be “on all the time. As well, we don’t like making other family feel like they have to entertain us. So, we almost always stay in a hotel when visiting family. We aren’t extravigent, but we do try to choose accommodations that are comfortable, near to fun things to do and in nice settings.
Traveling during the off-season helps. We choose a hotel on the ocean, close to night life and not too far from my sister. Price is always a consideration, but comfort and proximity usually win out over price.
A Reason to Travel
I find the older I get, the more I want to stay put. Family illness is not the best reason to decide to travel, but it is a reason. For us, traveling means encounters with the world beyond our backyard. That’s fun. We don’t like the security lines when we fly. We aren’t happy with the traffic in some cities. Sometimes, weather frustrates our plans. But, traveling keeps us learning and keeps us feeling young…. even though we aren’t. Our trip to Cape Cod from California brought me to my sister. That was wonderful. But it gave us a chance to play in a different part of the country. We’re going to do it again. I hope you will.