Traveling with seniors is not something I have done often because my mom has been uninterested in traveling outside of Memphis. My mom worked hard her entire life, saved money and I thought it was time for her to get out and see the world, visit places she always dreamed of seeing in person and eating foods she has never heard of! I’ve been begging my mom to take a family vacation for a really long time because the idea of three generations traveling to island and playing in the sand made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
Although many seniors look forward to spending their retirement years traveling the world whether it’s enjoying relaxing on the beach in Hawaii or attending a lobster festival in Belize because she didn’t have time earlier life when she was busy working and taking care of me.
Whether your parents are affected by physical limitations, memory loss or just simply afraid to travel, some older travelers might need extra help, especially navigating through the airport. These tips and tricks will help senior travelers have peace of mind and make their vacation as effortless as possible not only for senior travelers but also their family members who are traveling with them.
Tips and Tricks For Traveling With Seniors
1. When Senior Travelers Should Go
I suggest traveling in the shoulder season shoulder season whether you are a senior or millennial (April through mid-June, or September and October). Traveling in the off season allows travelers to avoid the crowds, summer heat, and most importantly the high cost of hotels.
2. Travel Insurance
When you’re a senior, buying travel insurance you will need additional insurance because, at 65 and older, because seniors are more likely to be less healthy than other travelers. Just in case a trip is interrupted or has to be canceled please make sure you choose a plan that covers additional risks, including medical emergencies because you never know when a medical emergency will happen as I experienced in the Czech Republic.
Senior Travel Insurance Coverage Should Include The Following:
- Trip Cancellation – In addition to your trip being canceled through no fault of your own, other events particular to you and your situation could leave you financially and medically vulnerable.
- Stolen Luggage or Belongings – Your luggage may contain medicines and other valuable items besides clothing.
- Preexisting Condition – If you have a serious pre-existing medical condition, you may need to purchase a waiver.
- Medical Emergency – Seniors are more subject to medical emergencies than younger travelers. You need to have full medical coverage, including transportation to the ER.
- Medical Evacuation – Medical coverage does not include evacuation in the event you need more specialized care.
- Travel Advice/Emergency Assistance – Senior travelers often need help or advice, including communication in a foreign language.
3. Packing For Seniors
All travelers should pack light but this is especially important for seniors because you do want to haul around heavy luggage because remember you will have to carry to the airport, to the shuttle, and to the hotel, you will be staying in. Whatever you have in your suitcase take out 50% because you will not wear or need most of the things you pack.
Also, pack a small notebook for jotting down important facts like the name of your hotel, telephone numbers, attractions, etc.
Make sure you take your entire supply of medications with you and DO NOT put them in one of those medicine containers because if you need to refill your prescription you will need the original container. Before you leave, ask your doctor for a list of the precise names of your medications because doctors in other countries might not be aware of American names.
I suggest if you are a senior checking your bag is a must because if you have a connecting flight the last thing you want to do is lugging a carry-on bag through the airport. Don’t feel ashamed about requesting a wheelchair when you book your flight so you can make your connecting flights in a timely manner.
Think about where you are going to stay and whether you want to stay in a huge hotel, a resort or a smaller boutique hotel. I suggest staying at a smaller boutique hotel because you will less likely have to stairs, there will be more attention to detail and transportation will likely be provided.
No matter where you stay, ask about your accommodation’s accessibility and make sure ask to be on the first floor.
I suggest using a taxis instead of walking or renting a car but if you decide to rent a car be aware that some rental car companies have an age limit or require additional insurance. In order to avoid any mishaps make sure you tell the agent your age when you reserve your car.
8. Senior Discounts
Always ask about senior discounts even if you don’t see a sign that offers senior discounts.
Seniors can get deals on point-to-point rail tickets in:
To get rail discounts in most countries you must purchase a senior card at a local train station and if you take several train rides during your stay the discount will be worthwhile.
If you are going sightseeing make sure you ask where are the elevators and take advantage of the bike tours so you will not be on your feet the entire time. Also, take bus tours, boat tours or even a private guide to take you on a tour of a city or region
More Tips For Senior Travelers
The AARP (American Association of Retired People) has an extensive online library of travel-related articles for seniors, including destination guides, budget travel, and an interactive trip finder.
Now that you have all of the information to help you travel with your senior parents the only question left is, where do you take your aging parent for the vacation of a lifetime?
Where To Take Elderly Parents On Vacation
After researching for months I knew I wanted to take my mom on an all-inclusive vacation for seniors. While my mom is out of the workforce she still deserves to go on vacation. My mom was one of those people who thought she would travel once she retired but somehow life got in the way and she had traveled anywhere outside of Memphis.
When I was invited to attend Beaches Social Media on the Sand which is an invitation-only social media conference hosted by Beaches Resorts I jumped at the chance to take my mom on her first ever international trip.
It took 74 years for my mom to sit on a plane. A plane that would fly her 1,345 miles to a country that others have only dreamt of visiting. This would be her very first time out of the country, her first time out of her state, her first of many firsts.
There are three generations of first on this flight. Myself, my daughter Madison, my stepdaughter Camille, and my husband James, traveling to Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos.
Travel may be one of the greatest gifts you can give mom or dad so sit back and let me take you on a ride… If you are struggling with where to take elderly parents on vacation allow Beaches Resort to ease your fears.
While I was sharpening my social media skills, participating in inspiring and empowering sessions while connecting with other like-minded bloggers in the Caribbean my mom was living her best life.
Why Beaches Turks and Caicos All For Seniors?
As a travel blogger and unofficial Brand Ambassador for both Sandals and Beaches Resorts, I have traveled all over the world but my mom and I wanted my mom to feel safe, secure and be able to have fun without worrying about her surroundings and I knew Beaches could provide exactly what we needed.
My mom was extremely nervous about traveling out of the country so I needed her experience to seamless from the airport transportation, getting around the resort without fear of falling to what she was going to eat. Beaches Resort took the ease out of struggling with where to take elderly parents on vacation.
If you are researching all-inclusive vacations for seniors look no further than Beaches Resorts in Turks and Caicos; your mom or dad can relax and allow Beaches to take care of everything your family will need to make this the vacation of a lifetime.
How To Get To Beaches Resorts In Turks and Caicos
All US citizens visiting the Caribbean must be in possession of a valid US passport so if you don’t have a passport click here for instructions on how to apply for a US Passport.
American Airlines has two daily flights from Miami and one a day from Dallas on Saturdays.
Delta offers Thursday, Friday and Saturday service from Atlanta, as well as Saturday only flights from Boston and New York.
Air Canada has direct flights from Toronto every day, except Tuesday and Thursday; and from Montreal on Sundays.
JetBlue has daily flights from New York and Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Saturday service from Boston.
United Airline offers service from Newark, NY every day except Tuesdays.
Westjet has service from Toronto on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and a flight from Montreal on Fridays.
British Airways provides service to London via Antigua on Sundays and Thursdays
The Turks and Caicos Islands currently have 2 full-service international airports on Providenciales and Grand Turk, and all other inhabited islands have domestic airports, some with limited international entry facilities.
Airport Transfers To Beaches Resort
One of the best things about staying at an all-inclusive resort is just that, it’s all-inclusive. Airport transfers are included in a stay at Beaches Turks & Caicos. The airport (Providenciales) is about a 10 to 15-minute drive to the resort.
When making your flight reservations, I suggest departing as early as possible which means you will arrive in Turks and Caicos around 2 pm. There are two departing flights; one is the 9 am flight means a 6:30 am a shuttle to the airport from Beaches Resorts or the later flight which departs around 2 pm and you will need a shuttle transfer to the airport at 12:30.
This will gives you plenty of time to get the kiddos and family breakfast and allow the family to enjoy the resort one last time before leaving paradise.
Overview Of The Resort
Many senior citizens don’t need a wheelchair in their everyday lives, but that doesn’t mean they can walk long distances or handle lots of stairs. The Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos understood the importance of putting us in a room that would minimize the amount of walking between our hotel room and other hotel amenities.
My mom doesn’t require a wheelchair but if a wheelchair is required, I suggest arranging a dedicated wheelchair from the hotel beforehand. Otherwise, hotels typically provide a wheelchair to get to the room, but not for exclusive use.
The 758-room resort is a destination in itself, with several different villages — Caribbean, French, Key West and Italian — each village is designed to reflect the style of its region.
Pro tip: Bring bug repellant as the mosquitos feel quite at home in Turks and Caicos.
The resort underwent a $125 million dollar renovation which included the Italian Village, Key West Village, new pools and restaurants.
The water park, now expanded to 10 times its original size, features eight slides, a Body Glove Waves surf simulator, a 650-foot lazy river and much more.
Because I was traveling with my elderly mom and I had reservations for two rooms and I requested adjoining rooms which they were able to accommodate. If you are traveling with family and Y’all have multiple rooms make sure you are staying in the same village because it is quite a hike to get to the other villages.
Each village has its own front desk concierge for check-in, although any of them can assist you with any questions you may have.
Watch Drone Footage of Beaches Turks and Caicos
We stayed in the French Village which has a European vibe, sidewalks with bistros, cafes and beautiful gardens, inspired by those in Versailles. One massive pool with zero-entry, a swim-up bar, and hot tub are the main focal point of the village. The room options are better suited for large families with one, two and three-bedroom suites accommodating up to 14 people.
The French Village is also the most budget-friendly. My mom and two daughters stayed in the Standard room which has two double beds and a single sleep chair and my hubby and I stayed in the adjoining room which had one king bed along with one twin daybed with a trundle.
Many rooms in the French Village don’t have actual patios or balconies, but French balconettes which can be opened and you can see views of the pool, gardens or ocean but you cannot walk out onto them.
Pool and Water Fun
There are 10 swimming pools –three with swim-up bars – and four whirlpool hot tubs, including one stand-alone, adults-only hot tub with ocean views.
- Caribbean Village pool
- Cascade’s, Iguana’s
- Camp Sesame
- Pirate’s Island Waterpark (kiddos under 4)
- Riviera Pool
- French Village Pool
- Key West Village Pools (Adult Only Pool)
- Italian Village Pool
The Pirate’s Island Waterpark, a 45,000-square-foot aquatic playground with water slides, two kiddie pools, a 650-foot lazy river and Body Glove Waves surf simulator for simulated surf experiences, are absolutely amazing.
On the beach, families can canoe, kayak, snorkel, windsurf, dive, sail and hydro-bike at no extra charge because you guess it Beaches Resort is all inclusive which means water activities are free as well.
Vacation Activities For Adults and Seniors
Red Lane Spa Teen Spa Experience
Even grandma deserves to be treated like a Queen every once in a while, so look no further than Red Lane Spa for such extravagant treatment. My mom received a relaxing manicure and pedicure, along with a facial devoted to the complexion needs of an aging woman. Exclusive Red Lane botanical products and essential oils were used.
At Beaches Resorts in Turks and Caicos, both experts and beginners can enjoy guided dives to see spectacular coral reefs, colorful marine life, and exotic underwater treasures. Beaches Turks & Caicos has expanded the diving program to include a special course for disabled divers.
Doing Absolutely Nothing on the Beach
We live in a world where we’re encouraged to take transformative trips—vacations that we should fill with experiences that broaden our perspectives and take us outside our comfort zone. But what if the biggest challenge is to do nothing?
This was my mom’s first time ever feeling sand in between her toes, first time ever seeing water and to my surprise the first couple of days she found her a spot on the beach with an umbrella and would sit and read her bible for hours. I would catch her staring off into the mesmerizing blue horizon in awe of her surroundings and in her words Gawds work.
By the end of the trip, my mom decided she had enough lounging and reflecting and decided to get in the ocean, go dancing, and eat as much food as she could consume in one night.
We were not on a time schedule so if she got too hot laying on the beach; she could jump in the cool ocean, Feeling tired? Go to sleep or meet new folk at the swim up bar.
Even seniors need a digital detox: Free of distractions from your day to day schedule and take in the surroundings and fully appreciate the blue in the waters, the sensation of soft white sand between your toes.
Even a walk on the beach with my daughter to find seashells became a moment she will remember forever.
Pro tip: If your parent is technically challenged like my mom give your parent a disposable camera to take photos of the sunset. Your parents will love having a tangible memory from their view of the sunset.
Where To Eat At Beaches Turks and Caicos
There are 21 restaurants at Beaches Turks & Caicos so even the pickiest eater in your family will have an array of culinary choices from barefoot eating beachside, to gourmet themed-choices, to adult-only romantic dining. Try to eat at all 21 restaurants!
My mom turned 74 and at the BBQ Beach Party which is held on Friday nights is when she decided to let her hair down and danced to the live music, ate BBQ’s and select dishes from all over the Caribbean.
It’s all-inclusive so why not right? We didn’t get to all 21 but below are a few of the highlights.
Enjoy meals with Southwestern flair serving traditional favorites like Ceviche, Tortilla Soup, and Enchiladas, long with Mahi Mahi Gratin with Tequila, Grilled Ribeye Steak, and BBQ Baby Back Ribs. Not to be left out, the kids also have plenty of delicious options including BBQ Buffalo Wings, Chicken Tacos and Quesadillas.
If dining outside is your pleasure, a patio table is a great bet. The dress code for this restaurant is casual.
Lunch: 12 to 4 p.m.; Dinner: 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Barefoot by the Sea
Barefoot is one of the few restaurants where you can actually show up…barefoot, digging your toes into the sand while enjoying yummy seafood. The food here is just as enticing as the blue Caribbean waters offering distinctive seafood dishes such as Lobster Bisque with Sourdough Croutons, Herb-Crusted Mahi Mahi, and Coconut-Fried Tiger Shrimp are just a few of the tantalizing options that grace Barefoot’s palatable menu.
Breakfast: 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.; Lunch: 12:30 to 2:30 p.mx.; Dinner: 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Bella Napoli Pizzeria
Nothing says comfort food better than a warm slice of brick-oven pizza made fresh with mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce, and tasty toppings. Bella Napoli hits the spot any time of day or night with oven-baked bread and choice toppings including, Gorgonzola, pear, Brie, prosciutto, sausage, artichokes, seafood, and even ripe banana and dark chocolate toppings for the savory dessert pizza.-fired ovens make wonderful pizzas.
My personal favorite is the conk pizza and I should be ashamed to tell you I ate 3 whole pizzas at one time but this is a no diet and no judgment zone!
The dress code for this restaurant is casual, and it’s open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Located within the Jolly Roger ship on Pirate’s Island. Bobby Dee’s was my mom’s favorite restaurant even though the restaurant is for the kiddos. The décor of this enchanting place is made to look like a pirate ship but also has the bubbly décor of a 1950s American diner with brightly colored tables and chairs, and checkered flooring. The onion rings are amazing!
It’s open from 11 a.m. to 6 a.m. (yes, 6 a.m. — the restaurant aims to provide kid-friendly food around the clock).
Bar (non-alcoholic): 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
Knives banging on the stove, shrimp flying through the air, and lots off-tune singing will surely make the kids smile inside this Teppanyaki-style eatery but it was a little much for my mom. Take the noise into consideration when dining here with your elderly parents.
Kimonos Restaurant is so popular that it’s the only onsite restaurant that requires reservations; book as soon as you get to the resort! The dress code for this dinner-only restaurant is resort casual.
Le Petit Chateau
Le Petit Chateau is encircled by tropical foliage and understated beauty. A popular meeting place to enjoy the Parisian-inspired cuisine, elegant décor, and excellent wines from around the world.
Le Petit Chateau is a favorite stop after an eventful day frolicking along the white sand beach and splashing in the refreshing Caribbean Sea. Modeled after the fascinating manor houses of the 19th century where nobles gathered and dined, this must–visit, the adult-only restaurant delivers in every aspect.
(It states adult only but my girls are 12 and they were allowed to dine there).
Medical Issues at Beaches Resort all-inclusive vacations for seniors
Though some may have health limitations Beaches Turks and Caicos will ensure your elderly parent or kid is taken care of and their medical needs are met.
The staff is sensitive to any medical conditions, such as diabetes, since it involves its own set of procedures while traveling. Also remember that many seniors take medication with food, so you may need to set a meal schedule.
If your elderly parent becomes sick, they will be taken to a nurse for treatment. Parents or the senior vacationing will be charged for services rendered and the charges will be applied automatically to the room.
Beaches Resort is always ready for emergencies and a trained nurse is available daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Because Beaches is an all-inclusive resort, Beaches has a “no-tipping” policy. Please do not Tip housekeeping, servers, bartenders, or even pool attendants because it is included in the rate you paid.
They really mean no-tipping even though you may be tempted.
Important Considerations for Senior Travel
When looking for where to take elderly parents on vacation, the following are important:
- Access to amenities
- Access to a doctor, if needed
- Accessibility for seniors with limited mobility
- English-speaking destinations (especially important should you need medical advice, prescriptions, etc…)
With the baby boom generation moving into its senior years, Beaches Resorts have adapted their services and facilities to the needs of older travelers.
Don’t forget there are plenty of activities for everyone!
- 6 pools, 3 with swim-up bars
- Dedicated toddler pool with
- Huge Pirates Island Waterpark
- Xbox Play Lounge
- Liquid at Beaches Nightclub
- Family suites for large families
- 21 specialty restaurants
- 15 bars serving unlimited premium spirits
- Supervised kids camp for kids of all ages
- Trench Town Teens-only game room
- Top scuba diving destination
- Comprehensive scuba diving program
There is also ample sunshine and white sand beaches once your family is tired and just needs a break from the fun.
The sunsets are gorgeous so merit a sail in the evening. Or simply pull up deck chairs close to the water, grab fruity drinks (rum cocktail for yourself!), and watch the sunset.
Additional Vacation Tips for Senior Travelers
Safety, Security, and Comfort For Your Mom or Dad
Don’t give thieves the opportunity to steal from your parent so follow the rules below:
- Mom should not carry a purse but, instead, wear a money belt worn under clothing or a neat Passage Wallet hidden under her coat by a neck cord.
- Dad should not carry a wallet in his back pocket but, instead, the same Passage Wallet from the neck cord or as a hidden wallet tucked into his pants and secured by a cord to his belt.
- Advise Mom or Dad, if traveling alone, always to keep their carry-on between their feet when standing, or with the shoulder strap looped around the leg of a chair when seated.
- For comfort, consider the purchase of a travel pillow, a c-shaped balloon that supports the neck and head when resting aboard transportation.
Seniors and Security Checkpoints
- If mom or dad is in a wheelchair let the airline know and you all will have easier access going through TSA (transportation security administration).
- Brief your parent (or state to the TSA, if you are traveling together) about any medical condition that would set off alarms, such as surgical hip and knee implants.
- To avoid unwanted delays, get a physician’s statement about the implanted steel and make sure your parent has that documentation with them.
- Oftentimes, personnel will ask the elder to step aside and perform a wand screening, rather than passing through the sensors. If your parent is in a wheelchair, security will use a wand while he or she is seated.
- Dress your parent in easily-removed (but safe) walking shoes. Security will probably want them removed.
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