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Top tips for the perfect summer holiday

Older couple sat on bench taking a photograph

Going on holiday is a great way to relax, experience new things and spend some quality time with loved ones. However, for those with limited mobility planning a trip can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be.

In this article we explore a variety of ways to help make your summer holiday an unforgettable one; from planning and travelling to accessibility and ease, we aim to guide you through all the aspects of organising your trip.


Top tips for the perfect summer holiday | Companion Stairlifts

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Go all-inclusive

Breakfast food and drink

It is worth looking at all-inclusive resorts if you are planning on travelling overseas. There are many reasons why an all-inclusive holiday appeals to so many people.

It helps make travelling stress-free

All-inclusive travel is stress-free because you don’t need to worry about booking separate flights and accommodation because everything is conveniently included in one package. This is a good choice if you want to eliminate any issues with trying to match up flights, hotels and transfers yourself.

Onsite entertainment

Resorts tend to have a plethora of events to keep you entertained during your holiday. With a wide variety of entertainment on offer, from comedy shows, music and cabaret nights and even organised trips.

The type of entertainment will differ between resorts, but one thing is for certain; you won’t be short of things to see and do, no matter what recreational activities you enjoy. It is worth asking for an entertainment itinerary from your hotel’s reception so you can see a diary of the events taking place during your stay.

The beauty is that you can see and do as much or as little as you like; one night you could choose to sip on cocktails at the bar before laughing at comedians on the stage, and the next day you might decide to take part in some water aerobics at the hotel pool before enjoying a light supper.

Food and drink are included

Enjoy the delicious food available at your all-inclusive holiday without having to worry about breaking the bank.

Although you are paying more upfront for your stay initially, all-inclusive breaks can offer great value for money. You don’t need to worry about having enough money on you if you want to buy another drink, pool-side snack or ice-cream because all of these are included in the price.

Many all-inclusive holidays offer breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks. Some may also offer room-service, though it is worth double checking with hotel staff beforehand.

Lots of hotels tend to have buffet options which include a wide variety of hot and cold foods and puddings. This is another reason why going all-inclusive is a good holiday option; you can fill your plate with as much or as little as you like.

So, if you are planning a trip abroad, all-inclusive can be a great option to take the stress out of planning your summer getaway. With everything taken care of, you can sit back, relax and simply enjoy yourself.

Make sure your mobility is covered

Man sat in a wheelchair

Many businesses are taking disabilities and mobility issues into account to make sure they provide an inclusive service.

Do some hotel research before booking

It is worth doing some research into hotels before booking, suggests Cheryl and Olivier from Never Mind the Wrinkles. They told us: “There's nothing worse than arriving at the beautiful boutique hotel that you've booked, in Paris or some other wonderfully exotic destination, only to find that there's no lift available and you have three flights of stairs to walk up. This isn’t good for arthritic knees.

"Before booking your hotel, check the distance to the nearest public transport options. It's ok in the morning when everyone's full of energy, but after a long day of sightseeing, it can be extremely tiring to have to walk another kilometre or more from the train station or bus stop back to your hotel.”

We also spoke to Kathy from When They Get Older who explained that the type of holiday and destination needs to be considered carefully before you book: “Everybody’s different, and that’s just as true when you’re a little older as it is when you’re young. There are a couple of things I would look at more carefully though and one is how pleasant the hotel, villa or cottage is for the days when your energy levels are low and you just want to chill, and the other is mobility. Can everyone drag their suitcases up two flights of stairs if there’s no lift? What services do the airlines offer for those who need assistance? Quietly ask these sorts of questions beforehand and it will be a more inclusive and enjoyable holiday for everyone once you’re there.”

Look into accessible holiday providers

There are holiday providers on the market which create accessible holidays for people with mobility issues and disabilities. Disabled Access Holidays and Enable holidays are holiday specialists who provide accessible holidays for wheelchair users. The holidays they provide are guaranteed to have adapted accommodation and taxi transfers to help make your trip as comfortable as possible.

Hire out mobility equipment for a cruise

You may prefer embarking on a cruise for your summer holiday, rather than boarding a plane.

Cruises can be the perfect holiday option for those with limited mobility because you can experience a variety of places when your ship docks at different ports as well as exquisite cuisine and lots of entertainment.

If you require the assistance from mobility aids at home, then hiring out equipment from a company such as Mobility at Sea is a great way to make sure your cruise is stress-free. The company hires out a range of equipment to less-able passengers from selected ports in the South of England. Not only can you hire mobility scooters and commodes, but you can also hire hoists, bath lifts and turn aids.

The company reiterates on its website that the ship’s staff are on hand to help you, so you needn’t worry about asking for assistance regarding your mobility: “Always keep in mind that the crew are there for you 24/7 - even more so on a cruise than any other holiday. If there's something they can do to make your cruise more comfortable just ask, they will be happy to oblige. Don't worry if you're not completely confident in the embarking or disembarking procedures when using your equipment. The ship's crew can assist you on and off the ship so you don't have to worry.”

Arrange insurance

It is wise to take out appropriate health insurance prior to travelling, no matter where you decide to go for your summer holiday. Planning a holiday takes time and money, so the last thing you need to worry about is whether you are covered should you become unwell on your travels.

Travel insurance can give you peace of mind if you have an accident and need emergency medical attention, if your flight has been cancelled because of a delay, your bag is stolen or if you have a bereavement in the family and you need to cancel or postpone your trip.

Do some research into different insurance providers before you go or visit a comparison website such as Go Compare who can give you the best deals on the market.

Make long distance travel as comfortable as possible

Aircraft cabin during a flight

If you decide to embark on a long-haul flight, it is worth making provisions to ensure you have a comfortable journey.

Seat space varies between aircraft carriers and the different classes onboard, but no matter how you fly, make sure you make yourself as comfortable as possible.

Wear comfortable clothing

The last thing you want is to feel restricted by clothing and accessories, opt for lightweight material and something loose which won’t irritate or dig into your skin.

On their website, travel search company Skyscanner suggests wearing a few layers of clothing: “Remember, sitting still and being blasted by a powerful aircon system can get chilly, so wearing several loose layers are ideal to adjust your temperature as you fly. In case of emergencies, closed toed shoes are better than flip flops and make sure you don’t wear any footwear that’s too snug, as your feet do swell at high altitudes.”

Stay hydrated

It is important to keep your fluid levels up while travelling long-haul and to avoid too much caffeine or alcohol, advises the NHS.

As well as being beneficial to your overall health and well-being, staying hydrated during a flight is particularly important because “dehydration can intensify the effects of jet lag, especially after sitting in a dry aeroplane cabin for many hours”, says the NHS.

Cabin crew are more than happy to assist passengers when they have food and drink requests, so ask for regular top-ups of water throughout your flight.

Take steps to reduce the risk of DVT

Moving during a long-haul flight is important to help reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The NHS suggests speaking with your GP prior to travel if you have any concerns about DVT.

Other steps the NHS advises include wearing compression stockings during flights of four hours or longer as this can “significantly reduce the risk of DVT as well as leg swelling”. Below-knee stockings apply gentle pressure to the ankle to help blood flow and come in a variety of sizes and levels of compression.

The NHS says: “It’s vital that compression stockings are measured and worn correctly. Flight socks are available from pharmacies, airports and many retail outlets. Take advice on proper fitting socks from a pharmacist or another health professional.”

You can also do some exercises during your long-haul flight which can help reduce the risk of DVT. Even those with limited mobility who usually rely on a straight or curved stairlift at home can still do some simple exercises on their flight.

The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) includes some easy to follow exercise tips on their website, these include seated exercises and seated stretches.

Seated exercises

  • Ankle circles: Lift your feet off the ground and move them in a circular motion for 15 seconds, and then in the reverse direction.
  • Foot pumps: Keep your heels on the floor and lift the front of your feet towards you as high as you can. Hold for a few seconds, then flatten your feet and lift your heels as high as you can while keeping the balls of your feet on the floor. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds.
  • Arm curl: Put your arms on the armrests, bent at a 90-degree angle and raise one hand up to your chest and back down. Do this with the other arm and continue for 30 seconds.

Seated stretches

  • Forward flex: Keep both feet on the floor and slowly bend forward to reach as far as you can. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds and slowly return to your normal position.
  • Overhead stretch: Put both hands in the air straight above your head. Use one hand to grab the wrist on the other hand and gently pull to one side, hold this stretch for 15 seconds before doing the same with the other arm.
  • Neck roll: Make sure your shoulders and neck are relaxed, then drop your right ear to your right shoulder and gently roll your head forward to the other side. Hold this stretch for 5 seconds.

The charity also suggests moving around the cabin as frequently as you can.

Bring items which can help you rest during a flight

There are many items on the market which are designed to help make travelling as comfortable as possible. It is worth shopping around in advance to see what you might need.

Travel pillows are a great way to help you get some sleep during a flight because they give your head and neck some support. There are many designs available, so do some research to see which one works best for you.

Aircrafts can be busy, especially on long-haul flights where there are more passengers onboard. It is worth taking some earplugs and an eye mask to help you block out light and sound if you want to get a few hours of sleep.

Getting some much needed rest during your flight will help you feel refreshed and energised for when you land at your destination.

Enjoy a stay-cation 

Two women on a beach looking out to sea

A stay-cation doesn’t have to mean compromising on an adventure, we have some ideas to ensure your UK break goes without a hitch.

Take advantage of travel discounts

You might be surprised to learn about the exciting benefits and discounts you can receive once you reach the age of 60.

From money off bus and train fares to discounted tickets and entry into some tourist hot spots, there are some great bargains to be had. Research places before you go to see if they offer any discounted rates, or even ask at ticket desks at the attraction itself.

Have a look at voucher code websites such as Vouchercloud or VoucherCodes to see if you can bag a bargain. There are a range of offers to be had including money off meals, discounted entry to attractions and even codes for money off hotel stays.

Consider visiting local attractions

Sometimes a week or a two-week holiday is not possible, however, you can still have some rest and relaxation even if you only have a weekend to spare. If that is the case, consider visiting attractions or dine at independent restaurants near your home if you don’t want to venture far.

You can still have a great time simply by relaxing at a nice café, enjoy delicious food at a restaurant or leisurely making your way around a tourist attraction. Supporting local and independent businesses is important as it helps the economy to thrive.

Visit friends or family you haven’t seen in a while

A stay-cation is a great way to catch up with friends or family members you haven’t seen in a while. Plan a trip to visit loved ones and make an itinerary of things you would like to do during your time together. Ask your loved ones for recommendations on where to visit, there is nothing quite like a local’s knowledge.

The beauty of a stay-cation means that you really can go at your own pace and don’t have to worry about boarding a plane or travelling to a port. We spoke to Fiona from Dolly Dowsie who told us all about her family stay-cations: “When holidaying with older people I think it's important to let them go at their own pace. I have fond memories of holidays with my grandparents as a child and into my teens. Everything was so relaxed during our holiday to make sure they had the best time possible. I remember lots of leisurely lunches and dinners, where we weren't rushing to get to the next destination but were free to sit back, relax and soak up the sun in each other's company.”

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and plan ahead

Everyone needs some help and guidance from time to time, regardless of where you end up on your summer holidays.

We also asked Fiona what her top piece of advice is for those about to embark on a trip: “Realise that there's help available when planning a holiday. My grandparents always booked our flights through a travel agent as they liked to have the peace of mind that it was booked and all they had to do was get on the plane. They weren't shy in asking questions at the airport and were always given help. It made sure that they, especially my grandad who was a nervous flyer, wasn’t stressed before getting on the plane with their grandchild in tow. Airports are huge places and there's help with accessibility if needed. I think it's important that older people are made aware of this and take advantage of the help should they need it".

Annabel from Age Space Ltd told us that she believes that planning is the key to the perfect summer holiday: “From finding the right destination, working out how you might get there to the kind of accommodation when you’ve arrived.  It is often the smallest details, stairs to the bedroom, a garden not designed for the less mobile, or a loo that you struggle to get in or out of, that makes the difference between a great holiday and a rotten time. The internet and the phone are your friends as you plan your holiday. Sadly, the only thing you can’t call up and plan is the weather.”

No matter where you decide to go on your summer holiday, putting some preparation into the logistics beforehand means you will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your well-earned break.

This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.