Wednesday, September 12, 2018

International Travel Tips for Senior Citizens


One of the activities which many Baby Boomers look forward to when they retire is the ability to travel, often to countries they only dreamed about while working.  Without work or school to hinder them, they have a wide variety of ways they can pursue this dream. A number of companies cater to senior citizens who want to travel abroad.  In addition, many people choose to simply explore the world on their own.  Whether you travel in a group or privately, there are a few things everyone should know before they set out on their great adventure.

This week, I have invited Sean Turner, a well-traveled health and life insurance expert, to share his expertise and tips for senior citizens who plan to travel overseas.  Hopefully, this information will help them avoid some of the more common pitfalls which can arise with international travel.  Below is the article from Mr. Turner.

5 Tips for Seniors Traveling Internationally


There are several obstacles which seniors may face, which younger people might not, when it comes to traveling overseas, aside from the normal health risks, such as getting waterborne or food borne illnesses after drinking and eating at local restaurants. As a result, we want you to be prepared for your exciting trip overseas and hope you have some incredible and memorable experiences.

Consequently, we have compiled a list of tips for traveling internationally:

1.    Medicare will not cover you outside of the United States 

Original Medicare provides zero coverage as soon as you step off American soil. Even if you have a Medicare Supplement policy, it is likely to only have an extremely limited amount of coverage. This is why we recommend shopping for senior health insurance for international travel. Health insurance for traveling overseas is much more flexible than insurance used here in the States, primarily because there are claims administrators and coordinators who work with citizens in the country to which you are traveling. They understand the language and are familiar with local healthcare.

Travel Health Insurance is important because health emergencies can be more likely to occur overseas than at home. This is because you may be traveling to new places and consuming unfamiliar food and beverages. One way to prepare ahead of time is by purchasing the appropriate travel health insurance policy.

2.    Store Your Prescriptions in Several Locations

Packed swimsuit. Check. Packed phone charger. Check. Packed prescriptions. Check.

What you may want to double check is where you pack your prescriptions. If you rely heavily on specific prescriptions, you may want to consider packing duplicates in both your carry-on and checked luggage.  If you are overseas and lose a prescription, it may be impossible or nearly impossible to get it filled at a pharmacy outside of the U.S.  If you pack the prescriptions in multiple places, and one bag is stolen or lost, it is likely you will still have enough of your prescriptions in your other bag to figure out your next step.  

It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your written prescription from your physician with you. This will make it easier to get certain prescriptions refilled in a foreign country, if you need to.

3.    Look up the US Embassy or Consulate’s Contact Information

Before your trip, search for the closest US Embassy in the country to which you are traveling, and take their contact information with you. If a U.S. citizen is seriously injured or falls ill while in a foreign country, representatives from the embassy will assist in finding providers or healthcare professionals. While the U.S. Embassy will not recommend any one provider, they can provide a list of physicians to help with your specific injury or healthcare problem.

It is also a good idea to check the State Department's website for travel warnings and advisories before you leave on your trip, so you know if there are any areas or specific situations you should avoid.

4.    Take Your Time and Enjoy Your Travels

When you travel overseas, you may be hauling around one or more large suitcases full of clothes, sunscreen, souvenirs you have purchased, and other gadgets “you might need."

Many airlines have begun charging steep rates for checked bags. Before you know it, you are spending an outrageous amount of money just to get you and your stuff from one place to another. Here is our suggestion: Once you have landed at your international destination, you may look into traveling by train or rail to your next destinations.

Rail travel has become increasingly popular and inexpensive in many countries. You usually can carry on one or two bags and check another two at no cost. Some other benefits of traveling by rail are that you can enjoy playing card games in the observation car, view the beautiful landscapes, and even grab a meal in the dining car.  You may also get an opportunity to meet foreigners and learn a little about the country through which you are traveling.  Many people enjoy being unofficial "tour guides" and proudly pointing out interesting locations as you pass by. You will see much more of the countryside between destinations if you travel by rail rather than flying from location to location.

Also, if you are in places such as Europe, train travel is discounted for students and seniors.  Be sure to take along your student ID, or passport, when purchasing your tickets.

5.    Avoid Peak Seasons

Just as in the U.S., when the peak travel season is from June to August (when school is out), other parts of the world have peak travel seasons, as well. Typically, Baby Boomers have more freedom to choose the time of year which is best for travel. We recommend you consider choosing a low season rather than a peak season, when it works for you, because plane tickets and hotels can be much less expensive and the crowds will be smaller.

Low Seasons for Several Countries:
China – November to January
Ecuador – December to June
Europe – October to February
Indonesia – October to May
           
The only downside to traveling during low seasons are that the weather may be cooler and wetter than during the peak seasons, so be prepared to pack appropriate jackets and other clothing. Also, some attractions, such as museums, may be open to the public for shorter hours. Be sure to do your research ahead of time.


Conclusion 

While international travel is often about exploring new cultures, new people and languages, and seeing great places, it may be easier to enjoy it if you have used the above tips to prepare ahead of time. If you have any great tips from your travels, share them in the comments below.


About the Author 

Sean Turner is a licensed health and life insurance agent for Buffer Benefits. He has had the privilege of traveling to over eight different countries. You can learn more about travel insurance at https://bufferbenefits.com


I hope my readers found the above guest post helpful.  If you are interested in getting more information about travel, where to retire, financial planning, common medical problems, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credits:  Photo of Sean Turner supplied by him
Photo of Ecuadorian Art courtesy of morguefile.com

2 comments:

  1. Great tips, Sean! Another tip I could recommend to people is to print a copy of your passport and keep it in a different place than your passport. You want to be able to prove your citizenship at an embassy if your passport is stolen. I learned the hard way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous - That is an excellent tip! I agree that people should keep a copy of their passport with them when they travel, along with the copies of their prescriptions and other important papers.

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment. Your thoughts and insights about retirement are always appreciated.