Growing up in kampungs, many senior citizens and elderly never would have dreamed of setting foot in these European countries much less having a holiday there. Pampering your parents or grandparents a trip to these parts of the world is definitely a treat!
While going to Europe is an exciting holiday anyone would look forward to, it’s still important to remember that travelling with your Asian elderly relatives isn’t quite the same as going with your friends. If you’ve been thinking about planning a trip to Europe with your relatives without signing up for a tour package, you might want to keep a few things in mind:
Getting used to jet lag
If you know senior citizens well, you’d know that they don’t really sleep long hours to begin with. For them, having jet lag is quite a torture because it makes it even harder for them to enjoy restful sleep! To avoid kick-starting your trip with a bunch of grumpy elderlies, try to book more comfortable seats on the night flight there so they can get as much rest as they can. Tip: Choose seats away from the toilets because no one can possibly have a good rest next to toilet doors slamming every 5 minutes.
Keep things slow
When you’re travelling with elderly relatives, remember to take things slow. Try visiting no more than 3 different places in a day with time for rest in between. If rides are long on the road, perhaps 2 spots in that day would suffice. Many senior citizens suffer from arthritis or have weak knees so walking or sitting for prolonged periods of time can cause quite a lot of discomfort – remember to keep that in mind!
Rent a car
This goes without saying but if you’re not planning to travel with a tour group, you’d have to rent a car. Getting from place to place with public transport can be quite distressing for your elderly relatives. Lots of problems might come up – getting lost in the crowd, having trouble squeezing onto trains – and it can be distressing for everyone. Renting a car isn’t too expensive if you rent in advance and it’s definitely more convenient!
Keep traditional Chinese medicines at home
TCM teas and pills aren’t common in the west and bringing them along might get you into trouble at customs. If your elderly relatives want to bring some herbs with them to “balance out” the cold weather or bring up the “heat” in their bodies, insist on getting them to leave their TCM remedies at home. Getting stuck at customs is not the way you want to start your holiday!
Do a little more planning
Although travelling with your parents means you don’t jam pack each day with activities, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan at all. Some research is always needed to check if the areas you’re visiting are senior friendly – are lifts available or will you need to climb long flights of steps?
Have meals on time
This is especially important if your parents or relatives take diabetic medication which lowers their blood sugar. Having meals too far apart can cause quite a lot of discomfort and perhaps even nausea. Additionally, it’s also important to choose restaurants that serve dishes which are suitable for your elderly relatives if they are diabetic!
Pack along some instant noodles
One of the things your Asian elderly relatives are going to miss is their staple Asian meals. In fact, after the first two days of having pasta and sandwiches, they might start to crave for a bowl of soupy noodles. It can be really hard to find good Asian restaurants in western countries so packing along instant noodles with you is a great way to curb their cravings. We guarantee that spicy flavours like tom yum seafood or kimchi will be a great hit with them!
Don’t skip out on insurance if you’re travelling with your older relatives. Taking things slow and watching out for them should be able to prevent any unwanted accidents but it’s always good to have insurance prepared. Additionally, it’s also a good idea to get your parents to bring a written prescription or letter from their doctor with them just in case you have a medical emergency on your trip.
On a side note, it’s also a good idea to get your elderly relatives to go for a health check up before your trip so you know whether they’re fit for travelling.
Tip: Do you know HyfeAssure offers the cheapest travel insurance in town with comprehensive coverage and instant claims at Changi Recommends’ counters? HyfeAssure covers travel delay/postponement, flight diversion/overbooking, trip cancellation and loss of deposit in the case of a natural disaster.
Senior citizen discounts
“Huh, Europe also got discount for overseas old people?” YES. There are some perks that can come out of bringing elderly relatives on a trip too. When you’re visiting museums or other tourist attractions, you might get senior citizen discounts or even join the priority queue! Keep your eyes peeled for these goodies.
Travelling with Asian parents or relatives in Europe is quite different compared to travelling with your friends. It’s important to be aware of their physical needs especially when you’re travelling to a country that feels very foreign to them. Just do a little research and planning before the trip to make sure accommodations and sightseeing spots are senior-friendly! When everyone is enjoying themselves during the holiday, you’ll enjoy yourself too.
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