Dad Wants to Travel Alone
"My father likes to travel, and since my mother is gone, he is traveling alone. I love his adventurous spirit, yet I am starting to worry about these trips. He is not as sharp as he once was. He moves quite a bit slower than most and does not process information as well as he used to. Should he be traveling alone? And if not, how do we get him to stop?" - READER
Many elderly people travel, and yes they are at greater risk when alone. Actually, everyone traveling alone is at higher risk. Without an additional voice of reason from another adult travel companion, one is a bit more vulnerable. Yet, many of us travel alone every day.
It sounds like your father is an experienced traveler and likes a new adventure now and then. Good for him! He is alive and spending his time doing what he loves.
As long as Dad is able, I say let him see the world. I do strongly recommend, though, that he take reasonable precautions to protect himself and keep you from worrying more than necessary. Ask Dad to go over the list I have provided below so that you feel he is safe. Frankly, it is not bad advice for anyone traveling alone.
For the single traveler:
Provide a copy of your airline tickets, reservations and all arrangements with your loved ones.
Check in daily with those at home via phone, email, texts or video. If you do not know how to do some of these, practice until you feel comfortable.
I recommend that you stay at places that have wireless internet connection. Communication outside the country is much easier in Wi-Fi-enabled places.
Look into cell phone plans that have coverage in the locations you are traveling to.
If traveling outside of the US, carefully look at your health insurance coverage abroad and plan for the worst, including transport back to the US if needed.
If traveling in the US with a Medicare Advantage plan, verify your coverage outside of your home location.
Carry more than one credit card in case one is frozen. Sometimes traveling triggers credit card companies' fraud-prevention services.
This may be a time in your life when you do not rent a car and, rather, rely on taxis, car transport systems like Uber or shuttle services. Drivers are more accident-prone in foreign or unfamiliar cities.
Do not make any purchases over a set dollar amount without speaking to one of the children about it. It is easy to impulse-buy or get swindled while traveling. Someone back home will be seated in reality and will not be as easily swayed.
Consider traveling with a group, on a cruise or to a single location that does not require constant hotel changes and luggage movement.
Wear your passport or identification in a travel belt.
You have my recommendations for the single and elderly traveler. As Dad is planning his next trip, help plan it with him. It could be fun! Better yet, take the next trip together and watch how he maneuvers around the planet.
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