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By Leonard J. Hansen
3. Prepare Documentation
A government passport is accepted as the highest level of identification by federal TSA security officers. If you or your parent do not already have a passport, consider applying for such months prior to your travel. Your local post office will have the application forms; or you can go online to access the information and forms. Official photographs are available at AAA offices and at many large drug and department stores. Personal photos are not acceptable. Two copies of the photograph must be sent with your application.
Request copies of prescriptions and/or statements of medical conditions from each physician and medical treatment center.
Make at least four photocopy sets of the passport, driver's license, Medicare and insurance cards, travel tickets and itinerary, boarding pass (if secured in advance online), plus any physician prescriptions and/or statements. One complete set is placed in your parent's hand-carry bag, another in his or her roll-aboard luggage. One set is forwarded to family at the arrival destination, and one is left at home.
Provide a telephone calling card so that he or she can maintain contact. An alternative is to provide a cell phone, perhaps one with a predetermined number of minutes. Program in your telephone number as the first emergency number.
4. Be Practical When Packing
Pack light. For a person traveling with at least some limitation, aim to pack everything necessary in a roll-aboard suitcase plus a medium-size over-the-shoulder carry-on. Do not check the roll-aboard as luggage, as in-cabin flight staff will gladly stash it in the overhead rack. Such will save a lot of time at the final destination airport.
All prescription and over-the-counter medications should be placed in a one quart zip-lock freezer bag, including also copies of any prescriptions and/or physician statements in the hand-carry bag. Do not place the pill combinations separately into a separate plastic box as "the next combined dosage." Such will never get through security. Enclose also any medical appliances such as extra braces or first-aid needs.
If Mom or Dad is toting gifts to relatives, do not wrap them. Place the items in the roll-aboard luggage.
If your parent is traveling alone, before you close up her or his carry-aboard bag, prepare and slip in at the top a note stating "I love you" and "I delight in your new adventure."
5. Think about