It happens every time: the day of your flight arrives, and you can’t decide if you feel excited or exhausted. Traveling is always full of unexpected excitements, and of course, there’s whatever joy waits at your destination, but for seniors especially, air travel also presents hazards and complications. If you’re taking to the skies this holiday season, consider these air travel safety tips to avoid issues large and small.
- Carry Only Your Essentials
If there’s one tip you obey above all others from this list, make it this one: If you can’t afford to be missing it at your destination, pack it in your carry on if at all possible. This means everything from medications, to toiletries, to a special gift for a loved one. This might mean a little extra time at the security checkpoint, but is especially worth it if you’re changing planes or have a stopover: 47% of bags lost by airlines last year were misplaced during a transfer.
- Remember Your Water
Did you know that flying is scientifically proven to cause dehydration? For seniors especially, the effects of this condition can compound and escalate quickly. Though the flight attendants will be around eventually, waiting even a few extra minutes for a drink can be painful under the right conditions. You’ll have to buy some water or fill an empty bottle after coming through security, but the opportunity to wet your whistle whenever you please is well worth the effort when you follow this tip.
- Defend Your Skin
Human skin is happiest in conditions ranging from 40-70% humidity, but the average plane cabin is only 20%. If chronic dry skin is a problem for you, take advantage of the opportunity to bring a small 2-3 oz. lotion or other hydrating product in your carry-on. When a cuticle splits or your legs won’t stop itching during the flight, you’ll be glad to have it.
Also, don’t forget sunscreen before you get on the plane. It’s not just an illusion: you really are closer to the sun, meaning you really are at a higher risk for harmful UVA and UVB rays to damage your skin.
- Staying Comfortable On-Board
Staying comfortable on board the plane is closely related to what you do before and after the flight. If you know you’ll be exhausted and achy after the trip through the terminal, call ahead to the airport about a wheelchair or other mobility accommodation to get you to the gate more easily. Bring a pillow, blanket, fuzzy socks, and whatever else you will need to stay cozy on the flight. Wear loose clothes, and don’t forget the gum for popping ears, or Dramamine for those with motion sickness.
- Handling Baggage
One of the fastest and easiest ways a senior can injure themselves before, during, or after travel is trying to lift a too-heavy bag into or out of an overhead compartment, or off a baggage carousel. Don’t hesitate to ask for help in these scenarios. Helping you with your bags is part of what airline attendants and other airport staff are hired to do. But, you can also take practical steps to reduce the weight of your bag. First off, how heavy is the empty suitcase itself? If it’s more than 3-5 pounds, it’s part of the problem, not the solution. Pack light, and when in doubt, get someone younger to ruin their shoulders doing the heavy lifting.
- Slow and Steady
Lastly, it’s simply important to remember that despite how hectic and rushed an airport can feel around the holidays, no one on your flight is really going to reach their destination significantly faster than anyone else. Therefore, give yourself permission to take your time checking in, going through security, getting to the gate, walking down the jetway, getting on and off the plane itself—pretty much all day, imagine yourself the tortoise. The hares might sprint on ahead, but we all remember who won in the end.
If you’re nervous about an upcoming flight, also remember that many airlines offer assistance services. Some, like Delta, give free support to senior passengers with 48 hours’ notice, while others, like American, will charge only a small fee to facilitate your journey to your airline seat from the moment you step out your front door. If you’re ready to travel this season, but still feeling wary of all the holiday costs, you’ll be glad to know there are creative options to help your finances this holiday season. If you still maintain a life insurance policy you no longer need, did you know you can sell all or a portion of your life insurance policy for an amount greater than the cash surrender value? Life settlements (also known as viatical settlements) can provide the extra income you need. Our website has answers for you, to these questions and others, like, “What is a viatical settlement?” Visit Life Settlement Advisors and learn more.
Regardless of how much or how little support you need while travelling, we wish you and yours the very best this holiday season, and hope you make the most of every destination you reach.
Dennis recently sold his business and had a term life insurance policy that he was not sure what to do with it. Dennis was planning to let the policy lapse until his wife Peggy Sue thought it would be a good idea to keep some extra coverage just in case. Dennis discovered he could sell a portion and keep some coverage for Peggy Sue. Dennis sold his policy for $207,000 and maintained $50,000 in death benefit for Peggy Sue.
Life Settlement Advisors