Senior Travel Tips

Travel tips are important for travelers of all ages. Passports Online seeks to provide the travel community with travel info and tips for travelers of all ages and walks of life. As the Baby Boomers grow older, retire, and find themselves in greater numbers traveling the world, we’ve found you can never have enough travel tips, especially for seniors. These senior travel tips will help all travelers though, so read on!

Be Prepared Financially

You’ve made it this far through life managing a budget so your golden years will be no different. Determine a reasonable budget but make sure to take exchange rate fluctuations and inflation into consideration.  Your bank or credit card company may also have branches or international partners where your card is accepted for no fees. Make sure you inform your bank that you will be traveling overseas as they may suspend or freeze your account if they see unusual activity (like overseas transactions) on your account. A trusted financial adviser can also assist with a great deal of this info. Additionally, consider opening a local bank account when you get overseas if you plan to be there a while or use a bank like Charles Schwab for free ATM fees worldwide.

Travel Documents

Make sure you have a passport book. You may also want to consider traveling with a passport card. Once you have your passport, be sure to apply for your visa if one is required. Apply for a passport at least three months before you travel.  If you have one, be sure to check the passport’s expiration date as well as the entry requirements for the countries you will be visiting.  Some countries require that passports be valid for six months after your trip ends and some foreign countries require that U.S. travelers obtain a visa.  Entry information for foreign countries is available in the Country Specific Information pages.

Do Your Research

Find out the local customs and cultures of the destinations you plan to visit. Appropriate clothing may help you navigate your travel destinations with ease. Additionally, it helps to know the climate and weather that you can anticipate experiencing while abroad. As for safety, the U.S. Department of State has great travel advisories to review before you head out for your international adventure. We also recommend enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This is a great way to keep your local embassy or consulate aware of your travel plans.

If you have plans to move overseas for retirement or long term travel, you will benefit from professional legal advice. Make sure your trust, will, and powers of attorney are in line and can be exercised from abroad.

Travel Scams & Emergencies

Travelers should always know about the most common travel scams. Certain areas have specific travel scams that are common. You can find additional information on International Financial Scams and also Country Specific travel scams. It is also recommended that you leave your emergency contact information with family and trusted friends. A copy of your passport may also be helpful for them to have, as well as emailing a copy to yourself. In the event that your passport is lost, damaged, or stolen, you will need to visit the closest embassy or consulate. It may help to have a copy of your IDs and passport.

Provide family and trusted friends with a secure way to reach you and let them know how you will reach them in the event of an emergency. This strategy will come in handy if there is an emergency situation where you are staying, such as civil unrest, disrupted transportation, or a natural disaster. We also recommend all travelers enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

Lastly, consider travel insurance as a way to keep yourself protected. There are many options for travel protection that cover medical procedures, emergency evacuations, trip cancellations, and more.

Health Care Abroad

U.S. government health plans for people ages 65 and older are not covered overseas, so what can you do? Fortunately many international destinations have national health care systems unlike in the U.S., however you may want to have additional coverage. Health insurance is often not covered for international travel unless specifically written into the policy. Fortunately there are also travelers insurance policies available. Ask your physician prior to your travel overseas what steps you can take to ensure your health while you travel and live abroad. If you require prescription medication, you should carry a letter from your doctor that describes your condition and required medication. Always keep medications in their original labeled containers. It helps to be familiar with generic alternatives and the chemical name of your medication in the event that you need to get more while overseas.  Additional healthcare information can also be found at the Travelers’ Health page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

If you require a wheelchair or additional accessibility accommodations, call ahead. Many popular international travel destinations are now wheelchair accessible. Additional information can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s page for Traveling with Disabilities.

Retiring Abroad

The visa and residency requirements for retired abroad will vary depending on the terms of your income and where you plan to retire. We recommend reviewing the Department of State’s Country Specific Information based on the location you wish you retire.  Dual citizenship may be something to consider as well, so consider all of your options. The Department of State also has great info on dual nationality.

Social Security

If you are retiring abroad, determine your eligibility to receive your Social Security and any other related benefits. Visit the U.S. Department of State’s page for Social Security Administration’s Office of International Operations.

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