Flying tips with Elderly - Baggage

First and most importantly.
Check with your airline how much your luggage/baggage allowance is

Our Checked Baggage:
One large suitcase each with wheels is the best option.

When we travel mum has a wheeled carry on case and a suitcase with wheels, I have a suitcase with wheels and a wheeled carryon bag that slides over the pull handle of my suitcase. So when we are getting to or from the airport mum wheels her carry on and I wheel the two suitcase with my carry on attached.
That leaves mum free to open doors for me.

Over the years we have had suitcases lost  or more than 5 days delayed (3 times), and suitcases broken.
A few years ago I was standing with a luggage trolley waiting at the carousel for our suitcases and the first item out was a black plastic bin bag, wrapped in so much tape there was no part not covered.
Not my suitcase
Everyone was laughing at it. comments like 'classy luggage' and "if you can afford to fly afford a suitcase' .. I bet you can see where this is going..
Mums suitcase arrived on the carousel , but still not mine and the last item to drop down was my suitcase in a clear plastic bag, well what was left of my suitcase.
Apparently it had fallen off the luggage cart and been run over, breaking it in half  and splitting all the seams. Yes that was my clothes  bin bag .
While they did replace the suitcase and the items that were broken inside it was a horrid start to the holiday.
We flew from hot Mexico to chilly Canada once and we had packed one hot bag & one cold bag. yep they lost our cold bag for 5 days, so all our jackets, woolly hats and gloves were sorely missed by us.
I have a strategy for packing now
Its called Co-packing.
I mix our clothes between our bags, if we are packing 2 formal-ish outfits each, one each goes in each bag. Everything gets equally divided between the cases. No longer is it a warm weather bag - cold weather bag or mums bag-my bag.

I take one change of clothes , underwear and nightwear in my carry on, this way if the main bag doesn't turn up at least I can get changed and rinse out the top I flew in for the next day.

Hand-carry  prescriptions — always in their original bottles or boxes — and I write down their generic names in case I have to find them in the country we are  travelling to.
 A little bit of research helps and an online translator program.
If I can I also  write down in the local language her medical conditions. So, in Chinese: “She has diabetes, and she’s allergic to cheese or nuts.” I print them on business card stock and we both carry one with us at all times. I often print our travel insurance details on the other side.
I always make sure to take enough of any regular medication to last the entire trip and a few emergency days.
 We  make copies of prescriptions and/or statements of medical conditions from each physician and medical treatment centre.

In a ziplock bag I often carry  just a few of each of her pills in my handbag or my carry-on in case something unforeseen happens, that way I have emergency back up.

  It might be a good idea to take along a pillbox with compartments for different days of the week. Being away from home (and your usual routine) could make you more likely to forget to take your medication.
My Travels with My Mum

If mum is taking medication that has to be taken at set times or with set meals we either work our way towards the routine of our destination, either by bringing the meal forward half hour or so until the timing lines up, or we power on with our routine and have meals to match the tablet timeslots.
In saying that, I often take muesli bars or somesuch, snack sized packets of chips, sugar free candy for her to eat on the plane in case a snack is required to take medication.

My Travels with My Mum The other thing we have started to take on flights is a tea bag or two. Its amazing how many Airlines do not have tea only coffee, but you can get hot water.
This is especially important on Asian airlines, like Air China, or China Southern

As mum has a slight incontinence problem  we also carry incontinence pads with us, to be a little more discreet on the plane I have found a purse that holds two incontinence pads, a small plastic bag,wipes, tissues and a lipstick and a comb. So if she goes to the bathroom she carries this purse with her and comes back feeling and looking refreshed

 The wonderful thing about incontinence is that if you are going on a long trip and you arent sure if they have your needs at the destination so you want to take the pads with you, think of all the  space in those suitcases you have on the way home. Souvenirs !

I carry in a small pencil case in my carry-on - emergency supplies for the plane, Advil or Paracetamol, motion sickness and anti-diarrhea medication, band-aids. Earplugs, a sleep mask and a travel pillow.
Also handy is a candy, like tictacs or Eucalyptus and honey , to suck if your moth gets dry or you think you have morning breath.
A pen to fill out the forms for landing.
A lip balm as my lips get dry on the plane, even a sample packet of a facial moisturiser, the ones they give away with magazines or in store, just enough for one flight!
I pack some sort of nasal spray as our nasal membranes dry up in the air-conditioning and reduced oxygen on a plane.
I also take a small bottle of hand sanitiser that I use after visiting the bathroom
(has the person before washed their hands before using this door handle?)
I use the alcohol based hand sanitiser or sanitising wipes  to discreetly wipe down the tray table,all the edges and the fastener on the tray table and the arm rests when we first get on the flight. Even the in-flight magazine covers, and the window shade. Ive seen people spray the air vent above the seat.

I pack a spare pair of glasses. yes we have broken them, lost them, even gone away for 6 weeks with three empty glasses cases. Luckily they were just magnify readers, but three empty did that happen and how did we not discover it until we were on the plane

I also pack a pashmina, its handy if its chilly on the plane, or turbulence or clumsiness causes you to spill that drink down you, or you arrive at a chilly airport.


My Travels with My Mum
The handiest tip I can suggest is to  scan copies of all your details

I scan our passport photo pages, any visa pages and vaccination certifications,   I take pictures of prescription bottles and  I scan the all our prescriptions and even mums glasses prescription.
 I scan our itinerary, any and all tickets, any reservations or booking for hotels or cars, our travel insurance , our credit cards and take photos of our suitcases and carry ons.
I upload these to my tablet, mums tablet and I email them to myself and my adult children.
This has come in handy, not having to get passports to fill out entry information or visa information on the forms they give you on the plane.
Identifying lost luggage in a foreign land where they might not speak English (here I'll show you the missing suitcase)

I also print little slips that go in the luggage tag holders , one side says "Luggage Owner " my name and phone number (cell /mobile) & emergency contacts,  the other side says  "If lost, my next hotel is.. "and I print 4 for every hotel, one for each case or carry-on.
 After the last stop it says "If lost, send me home"with my home address typed on it.
If its a cruise that we are flying to,  I put "If lost, Next hotel is  and the name of the ship" eg MS Volendam Holland America Line , leaving this port on this date and put Holland America Line phone number on it.

My Travels with My Mum

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