QUESTION: I am interested in finding some type of travel escort service to help my elderly parents fly across the country. My son is getting married in the fall and would like my parents to attend, but they are both in their 80s with health issues, so they will need help making it happen. Can you direct me to travel services that can help us?
ANSWER: Traveling can be difficult at the best of times, but for seniors with medical conditions, physical limitations, or dementia, it can be unmanageable. Fortunately, a host of companies offer travel companion/escort services to help seniors cope with the rigors of travel.
A good travel escort can provide your parents with transportation to and from the airport, handle their luggage, navigate and help them through the airport, sit next to them during the flight, help them at their hotel And much more.
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Some companion services even provide personal care, such as medication management, dressing, bathing, and feeding. And for those with specific medical needs, traveling nurse services are also available.
But these services are not cheap. You will pay for travel companion’s tickets, companion’s hotel room, if required, meals, incidentals and service charges. The price to accompany a customer on an air trip to the United States – including escort fees and travel expenses for all parties – can range from $2,500 to $5,000 or more, depending on the flight transfers and trip duration.
To locate a travel companion service in your area, search online for “senior travel companion” or “senior travel escort,” followed by your parents’ city or state. Or use an experienced national service, such as Flying Companions (FlyingCompanions.com), Travel Helpers (GoTravelHelpers.com) or FirstLight Home Care (FirstLightHomeCare.com), which has a nationwide network of franchises that provide home care to seniors and offers travel companion programs in approximately 80% of its 190 operating territories.
Or, for medical travel companions, search for “traveling nurse escort” or “medical travel companion,” or check out Travel Care and Logistics (YourFlightNurse.com), which provides registered nurses as escorts.
If, however, your parents don’t need much help or you can’t afford a travel escort, consider asking a trusted family member or friend who has some experience in air Transport.
Check the service: If you are interested in hiring a travel escort service, there are a number of things you need to check to ensure you get the right escort.
First, if your parents need personal or medical care during the trip, find out if the escort is trained to handle their health care needs. What kind of medical certificates do they have? (Nursing degrees? CPR training? etc.)
Also find out how many trips the companion has made with clients. Have they taken trips with travelers like your parents? How long has the travel services business been in business? What is the company’s safety record? And what type of insurance does he have, and what exactly is covered?
Also get a quote detailing exactly what you will need to pay, in addition to the companion fee. And get a list of two or three clients/references who have used the service and call them.
Jim Miller is editor of Savvy Senior. Send your senior questions to Savvy Senior,
PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit