When it comes to air travel, comfort, glamour, even safety seem to have flown from the travel experience at jet speed. More and more people are complaining about the waits, the space, the treatment, the expense and the entire experience. Given its constraints, air travel can elevate concerns beyond just being uncomfortable; it can raise health concerns as well and these issues can also get costly.
These issues can be mitigated and, in some cases, even eliminated if we follow a few simple rules and take full advantage of expertise that most of us already have at our disposal.
Consult your doctor
As we age, a variety of activities are accompanied by the caveat “consult your doctor.” Air travel is no different, especially if you have medical devices or certain medical conditions. Recent surgeries, illnesses, or major medication changes warrant a consult before flying. Circulatory problems in particular demand a conversation. For all long flights, regardless of our circulatory health, simple exercises can help with circulation issues.
Besides recent health changes, many managed health conditions can be affected by flight, including medication schedules. It is a good idea to speak with your physician about how to manage meds.
In addition to your doctor, you may seek out other professionals who can help with your air travel. Pharmacists are a world of information and an underutilized healthcare resource. They may have over-the-counter ideas that will help ease the harsh cabin environment of travel. Likewise, gather advice from other wellness providers you may use, including chiropractors, massage therapists and even fitness experts.
Use Your Resources
Some of us want to avoid being the person who boards early or uses a wheelchair. We all want to feel independent. However, airports and planes are foreign spaces and are often not mobility friendly. In our day-to-day lives we manage and navigate with ease, due mostly to making wise choices about how and where to conduct our business. In an airport those choices are mostly removed. So, if you need it, ride through the airport on a cart. The service is free.
In today’s Do-it-yourself world we have forgotten about travel agents, who are an immense asset to the mature traveler. They can put together easier flight schedules, look for passenger friendly planes and carriers, arrange ground transportation, and easily flag special needs with the airlines. Most independent agents will also track your entire trip, helping you prepare and act as a one-phone-call-away resource during your travels. Many think using a travel agent might be costly but that if a fallacy. They can actually save you money as they have the resources you need readily available and don’t forget the travel insurance – it becomes a must with those over 55 to insure that you are covered in case of misfortune.
Air travel is physically taxing and, as we age, it becomes more so. However, with preparation, planning, and above all, a willingness to utilize available resources, air travel doesn’t have to be so difficult. With a few preparations the world is still just a flight or two away.