The concept of traveling or living abroad as a retiree intrigues and inspires many people, but the reality is, long before the plane takes off, traveling abroad at any age, requires research and planning. Most destinations are safe, often as safe as your home. However, there are challenges with each destination and it is best to be prepared. If you plan on traveling abroad while retired you need to ask yourself the following questions:
Is Your Destination Safe for Retirees
This may seem like common sense, but world affairs can change quickly, which means it’s important to stay abreast of world issues and ensure the area you are traveling to is not only safe and free from terrorism and war but is also free from infectious diseases. In recent years, harmful viruses have become more widespread, especially throughout poorer countries. Viruses are closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a resource any international traveler should familiarize themselves with.
Are You Familiar with the Foods
As we get older our digestive tracts become more sensitive to unfamiliar foods and spices, so before you eat something just because it smells good or you think it will be delicious make sure you have digestive aids with you and know for a fact that it does not contain an ingredient you are allergic to.
Also pay attention to where your food is coming from – if it is a restaurant, is it clean? If you are unsure of the food you are served and have access to a kitchen space, look into purchasing and preparing food yourself. It’s the safest way to ensure your food is properly handled and clean.
You should also carry healthy snacks with you wherever you go – it’s the best way to curb your hunger, keep your sugar levels up (or down), and resist eating something your stomach may not agree with. You can easily pack granola bars or snack bars from home in your suitcase and carry one with you on your daily adventures.
How Will You Stay Hydrated
If you are traveling to a warm destination staying hydrated is very important. Lack of fluids will leave you susceptible to dizzy spells and stomach pains. Make sure you travel with a reusable water bottle or bottled water wherever you go; and make sure the water you are drinking is safe and not contaminated.
How Will You Maintain Your Fitness Regime
If you walk for thirty minutes every day at home, plan on doing the same while abroad. Keeping up with your fitness regime is important to stay healthy while traveling. Just don’t take on an entirely new fitness plan while traveling or consulting your family physician first!
Do You Speak the Local Language and How Will You Communicate
Learning a new language at 65 is a lot harder than it is at 35. If you are traveling to a country that speaks an unfamiliar language do your homework ahead of time and learn common words and phrases that could help you in an emergency situation such as, “Help, please!” and “Call the police!”
If you plan on staying abroad for a few months you may want to look into language courses, either in person through a local college or online. Just a few weeks of learning could benefit you should you find yourself desperate to communicate your needs while traveling abroad.
Who Will Take Care of Things at Home
Forget about who is going to water your plants or feed your cat while you are traveling, what about who is willing to be your emergency contact should something go wrong? Also, whom will you rely on with your travel information? Regardless of how old you are, you should always leave your travel and contact information with someone back home.
Should something happen to you while you are abroad and your insurance company or a medical team need to contact someone back home regarding medical treatment or repatriation, you should have a system in place to avoid any unnecessary complications or delays.
Are You Vaccinated
Staying up to date on your vaccinations may seem simple enough, but before you depart on a trip of a lifetime make sure to consult with your family physician regarding outdated vaccinations or vaccinations that are pertinent to the area you are traveling to. Hepatitis vaccinations are most often needed when traveling to low-income countries, as well as other vaccinations. Some of these vaccinations need to be administered months before exposure to be effective, so the earlier you research the better.
Can You Get the Medical Care You Need
Receiving medical care in foreign countries may be very different then what you are used to on home soil. Even if you leave home perfectly healthy, you may have to access medical care in other countries for a variety of reasons including sudden illness or an accidental injury.
Stay Informed: Medicare does not always cover you when you are traveling abroad. In fact, the benefits are very limited or non-existent. Learn more: Seniors and Medicare Abroad
Prior to traveling discuss your medical care plans with your home health care provider and make sure to also follow up when you return home. You should also research and invest in travel medical insurance. The best travel health plans include:
- Freedom to seek treatment with hospital or doctor of your choice
- 24/7 access to emergency assistance medical hotline
- Trip cancellation coverage
- Repatriation coverage
- Universal Rx pharmacy discount savings
There are specific senior travel medical plans designed for those of you over 65. Make sure you have the coverage you need. Benefits are often limited or unavailable to clients at certain ages.
What Will Happen if You Get Sick
If you get sick while traveling abroad where will you go? Do you know what you will do? Do your research and know ahead of time where you can turn to, and how to find an international doctor, should you require medical assistance. Typically, your travel insurance company will provide an emergency assistance hotline you can call when needed.
If you are moving abroad long term, you should consider comprehensive global health insurance that covers medical procedures in other countries. Your domestic insurance plan may not cover your health care costs abroad – it’s best to know this before you leave home soil and find yourself needing expensive medical treatments.
Maintaining good health as a retiree traveling abroad is not difficult, it just requires a little planning and preparation to feel as good as you do at home and “just in case” something happens and you require medical treatment.
For a complete list of how travel medical insurance can ensure you have access to the best medical care while away from home, contact a qualified insurance representative today.
More Healthy Travel Advice:
- What to Pack – A Checklist for a Healthy Trip Abroad
- Eating Healthy When Traveling Long-Term
- Tips for a Healthy Cruise