If you’re over 55 and planning an international adventure, you’re not alone. More and more older travelers are exploring the world every year. Travelers “of a certain age” want to experience the same sights and excitement as their younger counterparts, but physical limits or safety factors may be new factors. These tips can help your travels be smoother and safer.
Timing can make a big difference
Planning your trip for the “shoulder” season – April/May or September/October – will mean fewer crowds to fight your way through, and fewer hot, steamy days. Planning your flight for mid-morning or mid-afternoon may keep you less bleary-eyed when you arrive than an early morning or night flight. And, visiting museums late in the day can mean the crowd has thinned and the benches are available for rest if you need it.
Buy travel medical insurance
The U.S. Department of State highly recommends that older travelers purchase medical and dental health insurance that covers you when you are out of the country. Find out how your medical plan works overseas, and remember that Medicare does not cover claims outside of the country.
Stay connected to people at home
Make detailed copies of your itinerary, and give them to family members, a friend or a neighbor. Be sure to include contact information for the places you will be staying, but make sure they know whether you plan to stay in regular contact or not so they don’t worry.
Understand your medications
If you are taking prescription medication regularly, write down the generic name for each medication in case you need a refill or replacement. American brand names for prescription drugs may not mean much to a pharmacist in another country.
Be wise to scammers
You’ve earned your gray hair, but it also makes you a target for thieves and scam artists. Leave your gold jewelry at home, avoid carrying a lot of cash. The U.S. State Department publishes a list of common scams targeting U.S. citizens abroad.
Travel is all about freedom, so why saddle yourself with more luggage than you need? Many travel websites offer good tips on what to bring and what to leave home. Streamlining is the key to moving nimbly through airports, city streets, and rural roads. Since getting from place to place will be a big part of your trip, it’s important to think about how much you want to drag around with you as you go.
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