How to Find Travel Companions for Older Travelers
Traveling can be challenging under the best circumstances, but for seniors with medical problems, physical limitations or dementia it can be unmanageable. Fortunately, there are several companies that provide traveling companion/escort services to help older adults with the rigors of travel.
A travel escort can provide your parents with transportation to and from the airport, manage their luggage, navigate and assist them through the airport, sit next to them on the flight, help them to their hotel and more. Some companion services provide personal care like medication management, dressing, bathing and feeding. For those with specific medical needs, traveling nurse services are available as well.
Note that these services can be costly. You will pay for the travel companion's travel tickets, hotel room, meals, incidentals and fees for the service. The price to accompany a client on a plane trip within the United States – including the companion fees and travel costs for all parties – can range anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the flight transfers and length of the trip.
To locate a travel companion service in your area, you can use a search engine and keywords such as "senior travel companion" or "senior travel escort," followed by your parent's city or state. You can also use an experienced national service with a network of franchises that offers travel companion programs.
For medical travel companions, you may want to search using keywords such as "traveling nurse escort" or "medical travel companion."
If, however, your parents do not require extensive assistance or if you cannot afford a travel escort, consider asking someone who has some air travel experience, perhaps a trusted family member or friend.
Vet the Service
If you are interested in hiring a travel companion service, there are a number of things to check into to ensure you get the right escort.
First, if your parents require personal or medical care while traveling, find out if the escort is trained to manage their specific needs. You should verify if the companion has medical certifications, nursing credentials, CPR training, first aid certification or any other relevant designations.
Find out how many trips the companion has taken with clients, the length of the trip and any. Gather information to verify if they completed trips with travelers with similar needs to your parents. You should find out how long has the travel service company been in business, its safety record and its type of insurance and covered incidents.
If you feel comfortable with the company and the traveling companion, get a quote breaking down exactly what you will be required to pay, in addition to the companion's fees. Make sure you receive a list of two or three client references who have used their service and call them.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.