Traveling can inspire a surge of excitement for seniors, but it can also lead to a wealth of worries for some. In addition to the arduous process of flying or driving to a desired destination, staying in a hotel room can feel foreign and oftentimes be uncomfortable for an older loved one who is used to their own surroundings. But that shouldn’t prevent you or your extended family from taking a trip anywhere around the world.
Hotels and their management teams are designed for hospitality, so they are willing to accommodate the needs of seniors with special requests to make traveling a treat rather than a chore.
When it comes to booking an actual hotel room, the ground floor is usually the best option if you are a senior, said Bradley Lombardo, a hotel general manager with Remington management group. Lombardo has six years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Reserving a room that is near the entrance/exit also will cut down on the difficulties that can arise from taking the stairs or having to take long trips before and after adventures around any city. Seniors in wheelchairs can request guest rooms or suites with handicap accessibility. These accommodations feature more open layouts, lower countertops, wheel-in showers and tub grab handles so that your loved ones feel as independent as possible.
Hotels can also add non-slip mats to showers and baths or provide larger suites, Lombardo said.
If sleeping in an unfamiliar setting is difficult for you or your senior loved one, try bringing a pillow or two from home. That familiar scent will help you feel more at ease and allow for better slumbers during a vacation.
Seniors who have difficulty hearing can request amplifying options for their room’s telephone. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, hotels also must be able to provide visual and tactile ringers for guests who are hard of hearing. Closed captioning on TVs should also be offered.
When and where you travel can have a large impact on your overall hotel comfort. Booking a hotel room during spring break season could involve more noise than usual – although rules and hotel management can help out if your neighbors are a bit too rowdy. Traveling during peak holiday seasons can also increase booking prices even with a senior discount. Reserving a hotel room well in advance will help prevent price hikes, putting a senior’s mind at ease and therefore making them more comfortable in their temporary surroundings once they arrive.
Lombardo notes that the best time to travel is off-season periods because it allows for easier bookings in lodging and transportation. It also allows hotels more room to accommodate a senior’s needs as opposed to during sold-out time frames. More personalized service is available if seniors can book during downtimes as well, he said.
Choosing a hotel that is a short distance from tourist attractions you want to visit can cut down on transportation hassles, leaving seniors more at ease about their surroundings as a whole. Seniors and their family members or traveling companions should do ample research beforehand to plan destinations to visit as well as understand the best routes to and from the hotel. Hotel staff members can offer local insight as to which sites are worth visiting and what time of day is optimal for smaller crowds.
The best way to prepare for your future travels is to ensure a senior’s plans are in place and confirmed for lodging and transportation, Lombardo said. Because traveling to a new area can be stressful, he suggests making sure seniors research the area and find the places they want to visit. Of course, hotel staff is always available as well to answer any questions or provide insider tips for visiting popular and off-the-path attractions.
Some hotels provide a complimentary shuttle service to take guests to destinations within a set radius around the property. These hotels, though, may not publicize this service on their websites. Be sure to ask your hotel staff if this service exists and if there is also an airport shuttle that can pick you up and drop you off.
Save more on your travel by taking full advantage of senior discounts while you’re away from home. There are a variety of discounts available for individuals over the age of 65. Rental cars, airline tickets, hotel rooms, restaurants and even some shopping centers offer these special deals for their special senior guests.
Make your travel experience as comfortable as possible by working with the staff at the hotel where you’re staying. Fostering this relationship can help limit any discomforts about being away from home and sleeping in a different bed.