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Community Manager

Planning a road trip as a caregiver

Ask questions or share your experiences on how to plan a road trip while you are a caregiver.  Our expert, Charles Leocha, will be here to answer questions and share great advice.

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AARP Expert

6. When taking a road trip, make it a discovery -- of music.

That discovery should include songs about the cities you might be passing through. On a trip through California you might sing along to California Girls, or try California Dreaming by the Mamas and Papas, or Do you know the way to San Jose, or Going to California by Led Zeplin. California is the motherlode when it comes to music. What about LA Woman, Hotel California, or San Francisco Nights.


Try the City of New Orleans when traveling through the south along with Midnight Train to Georgia and Sweet Home Alabama. Or listen to Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison and go to Atlanta with Little Feat singing Oh Atlanta.


In Oklahoma try Okie from Muskogee. In Texas listen to Luckenbach Texas. In Kansas City what else, but the iconic Beatles song about that city. Driving to Phoenix sing along with Glen Campbell and By the Time I Get to Phoenix. 


You get the idea. These songs add remembrances and fun to any road trip. And it sure beats counting license plates.


7. Seek out great local restaurants.

After all, you are not in a big hurry. This is a trip to spend time together. In Europe, I normally head to the next Bib Gormand Restaurant listed in the Michelin Red Guide. In the USA it is a bit more difficult since every exit seems to have the same chain restaurants. But, you can make a game of finding different places. Plus, in every city, ask about different places to dine.

Look for Lobster Rolls in Maine and New England. Try Hash on Rice in South Carolina. Cuban Sandwiches are everywhere in Miami. Creole meals in New Orleans. Green Chili Cheeseburgers in New Mexico. Head to Chicago and Milwaukee for great German cooking.

And ask about senior discounts and “early-bird specials.”


8. Always get a motel or hotel room with an accessible bathroom.

You don’t have to be old and infirmed to realize that having a great, easy-to-get-around bathroom is a pleasure. I have enjoyed grab bars in showers and near toilets. I have suggested to PR folk that they make sure to make showers and tubs safe and to have walk-in showers and bathtubs where possible.  


Also, make sure getting into your lodging is easy to get into and is spacious, so you can move easily. Remember the Americans with Disabilities Act estimated that by the year 2030, 71.5 million Baby Boomers will be over the age of 65. They and you will need amenities and services that assist with age-related physical changes.


Most of us do not need wheel-chair accessible rooms or any other over-the-top amenities. We only need the basics to make staying overnight easy and comfortable.


9. Remember your senior discounts.

AARP has discounts on thousands of hotels of between 10 and 20 percent. Be away of them. Well-respected brands like Best Western, Hilton, Hyatt, and Wyndham. There are complete books on senior discounts at hotels and museums and on mass transit.


10. Write about your adventures in the evening.

Keep a logbook of your travels. It will be far easier to share your experiences with others and it will help your remembrances. Plus, it gives both you as a caregiver and your Mom, Dad, friend, or family member a chance to share again what you did and saw. And, it is a great way to have wonderful conversations talking not only about the sights you saw, but the people you met.



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AARP Expert

Here are five random thoughts about planning travel as a caregiver. Five more will be coming soon. Remember, travel has no age limits and these suggestions are for anyone from 50 to 99 years-old. These are thought for when you arrive at destinations. 


1. Do not limit yourself as a caregiver.

Most caregiving is simply being with those you love. When you care for someone, you are there to help them with everyday life, not only to bath them or wheel them around. We are all caregivers whenever we take a walk with a friend who has a walker. We are caregivers when we take anyone out for coffee or to shop when they are no longer driving. We are caregivers whenever we help them plan a vacation.


2. Think about travel breaks and more

When planning travel with anyone a caregiver needs to think. Think about making it easy to walk through town. Think about and help others with setting up their phone apps for Lyft and Uber. Think about where the next rest stop will be. These are all caregiving in the larger sense. They are not that different from what anyone would do for themselves, their friends, and their children.


3. Plan, plan, plan.

Again, this is an adjunct to thinking about travel. Plan for lunch and dinner ahead of time. Plan for a hotel with handicapped facilities if necessary, in advance. Plan on what you will be seeing. Plan on dining where there is good accessibility.  Plan on taking friends to eat earlier than usual, because they may not live at your schedule. Plan on visiting museums where they have facilities such as benches and chairs throughout the exhibitions in order to rest.


4. Cruise ships may work for you and a friend

Many cruise lines are tailor-made for travelers. They have amenities easily accessible. You won’t have to cook. There is lots of entertainment.


5. Think about a trip to Europe and visit cities with Old Town pedestrian zones.

Towns like Heidelberg, Germany, can be perfect for walking and not driving. The Old Town is laid out along a pedestrian-only street. The old bridge is easily reached on foot. The castle requires some walking but can be reached by a funicular. This is one idea. Try Rothenberg.


Almost every town in Spain has a central area that contains many tourist sites that are totally pedestrian-friendly. Think about Segovia, Pamplona, Toledo, Barcelona, Burgos, Cadiz, Cordoba, Seville, Santiago de Compostela, and a score of others.


In Belgium think of Ghent, in Croatia head to Dubrovnik, in France go to Colmar, and in Portugal walk through Obidos.

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Periodic Contributor

I am a caregiver for my husband. We are going on a trip to Las Vegas in Oct. I've been told to contact TSA and Southwest for assistance. He has ostomy bag and is undergoing immunotherapy treatment for metastatic prostate cancer. It's a non-stop flight. Any advice would be appreciated.

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AARP Expert

Southwest Airlines will be a big help, however, check with TSA as well. Use @askTSA also. 


TSA has a page where ostomy issues are discussed at

Search the internet and you will find lots of stories about traveling with an ostomy. Just type in "travel with ostomy bag." 


This information comes from those pages: Let TSA know that you have an ostomy. They have specific procedures.


Screening in Standard Lanes

Passengers with an ostomy in standard lanes can be screened without having to remove, empty or expose the ostomy by advanced imaging technology, metal detector, or a pat-down. If the standard lane does not have advanced imaging technology or if you are eligible for expedited screening, you may be screened by a walk-through metal detector.


The ostomy pouch is subject to additional screening, and may require you to conduct a self pat-down of the ostomy pouch outside of your clothing, followed by a test of your hands for any trace of explosives. You may also undergo a pat-down of areas that will not include the ostomy pouch. Pat-downs are conducted by a TSA officer of the same gender.

Screening involving a sensitive area may be conducted in private with a companion or other individual of your choice. You may request screening in private at any time.


Screening in TSA Pre® Lanes

Passengers with an ostomy in TSA Pre® lanes can be screened without having to remove, empty or expose the ostomy by advanced imaging technology (if available), metal detector or a pat-down.

If the ostomy alarms during screening, you will be required to conduct a self pat-down of the device outside of your clothing, followed by testing on your hands for explosives.

If you are unable to conduct a pat-down of your device, TSA officers will test your hands for explosives. TSA officers will resolve positive tests using other screening methods including a full pat-down (without touching the ostomy) and inspection of your property. Pat-downs are conducted by a TSA officer of the same gender.

Periodic Contributor

Do not feel guilty.   Do not let anyone try and guilt you.  Take all your paperwork with you such as POA etc.... 

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