Published on July 9th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut


VIDEO: Travel Tips for How to Travel With an Elderly Parent

Travel with an elderly parent or other senior citizens can present its own unique challenges. Photo:


When I was growing up, my mother taught me many valuable lessons and travel tips as we criss-crossed the United States on road trips and once- or twice-yearly air trips (among her lessons: arrive a solid 60 minutes before domestic flights, a good two hours before international departures, and always carry peanut butter crackers in case you’re trapped somewhere with no food). But times have changed. So in this EXCLUSIVE VIDEO, my mother and I review several important travel tips about how to travel with an elderly parent. 

My mother is 86 now, and the only trip we make together is an annual transcontinental jaunt between Rochester, New York and Redding, California, to visit her sister. Since she is not as nimble about getting around (she uses a cane to walk and needs wheelchair assistance at the airport), together we’ve learned a whole new set of travel tips to make the trip go as smoothly as possible. Here are a few of the ways anyone can make traveling with an elderly parent go better: 

• When reserving a hotel, request an accessible room, even if your parent doesn’t need all of the features — the extra bars near the toilet and shower/tub can be helpful. 

• Bring lots of $1 bills to tip valets who push the wheelchairs. 

• Check your bags. You never know when you might end up being the one pushing the wheelchair, so you don’t want to be weighed down. 

• Ask the valet to let you keep the wheelchair at the gate. It can come in handy for trips to the restroom or last-minute gate changes before boarding. 

• Enjoy “priority boarding” before your flight — you’ll likely be among the first on the plane — but plan on being the last ones off after you land. 

• Don’t leave the plane until the wheelchair arrives and is visible on the jetway. 

• Rent a four-door car. Sometimes the back seat may be more comfortable or more accessible for your parent. 

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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