More and more older U.S. citizens are traveling abroad. The U.S. Department of State’s website has a lot of useful information for older citizens moving or just traveling abroad. If you are planning on relocating overseas, you might want to review their webpage on retiring abroad. Here is a list of things that is recommended that you think about prior to your travels:
For less stress it is best to apply for your passport at least three months before you travel. If you already have one, make sure to check the expiration date; check as well the visa and documentation requirements, if any, for the country you will be visiting. Some countries ask that passports be valid for six months after your trip ends. This information can be found in the Country Specific Information pages of the U.S. Department of State’s website.
The U.S. Department of State offers the option of the the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, where you can enroll your emergency contact information. This allow’s the Department of State, U.S. embassy, or U.S. consulate to contact you, your family, or your friends in an emergency according to your wishes.
Health care is one of the highest concerns for many older U.S. citizens who are planning relocating abroad. It’s a good idea to consult with your doctor before your travels to identify your healthcare needs at your destination. Take time to research the environmental conditions at your overseas destination that might contribute to your specific health concerns, especially if you are sensitive to altitude, air pollution, humidity, or other conditions. Also check availability and standards of health care in that area. For more tips related to health issues, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website. You may also find health information at the Travelers’ Health page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Medical Insurance Beyond Medicare
Medicare, the U.S. government health plan for people aged 65 years and older, does NOT cover health care overseas. It is highly recommend that you obtain health insurance to cover emergency medical and dental treatment and for medical evacuation to the United States. Many companies offer short-term and long-term health and emergency assistance policies to cover healthcare expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations, it’s up to you to choose the right one for your personal needs at the best price.
Pharmacies and Medications
Be sure to include an ample supply of your prescription medication for your trip, and don’t forget to adjust your medication schedule as you cross time zones. Having a letter from your doctor describing your conditions and the medication you require will help avoid questions or delays at customs or immigration. Keep medications in their original and labeled containers. Consider asking your physician and pharmacist for the generic or chemical name of your medication just in case; pharmacists and physicians abroad are more likely to recognize it with this name. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit to make sure that your medications are not considered illegal substances under their local laws.