Many of those who retire look forward to traveling. Traveling provides many benefits including simulation of both mind and body. Getting away from daily routines can result in an awareness of other possibilities and options for meeting people, retiring in other locations, cultural differences, varied cuisines and much more. Traveling can also enhance physical activity when exploring new areas, biking, hiking trails, kayaking, swimming, etc.
The key to safe and enjoyable travel is preparation and planning.
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For retired or older Americans traveling abroad the State Department recommends the following:
Travel Documents: Apply for a passport at least three months before you travel. If you have one, be sure to check the passport’s expiration date and 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.
Local Conditions: Extremes in climate can adversely affect the health of some travelers. So, too, can travel to high altitude locations As you travel, ask your tour operator or hotel about local conditions, including recommendations about taxis and other transportation options, restaurants, and the safety of local drinking water. Information on safe food and water precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website.
Travel Smart: Pack lightly and learn what clothing would be appropriate for your destination. Be aware that physical activity undertaken during travel can be strenuous, and sudden changes in diet and climate can have serious health consequences for the unprepared traveler, no matter your age. Build ample personal time into your itinerary—whether to catch up to a current time zone or to enjoy an extra travel site.
Financial Information: Understand the financial system and know the currency rates at your travel destination. Tell your bank or credit card company of your travel plans so that its security measures do not freeze your account. Often they will block a card if they see unfamiliar patterns of use, and they don’t know you are on a foreign trip. Ask if your bank has any branches at your travel destination or international banking partners where you could safely deposit or withdraw funds as needed. Review the Crime section of the Country Specific Information for the countries you will visit to review the financial and ATM scams and other financial scams that may be targeting foreign visitors. If ATM service is not widely available or is not secure, bring travelers checks and one or two major credit cards instead of planning to use cash. Many banks in most countries will issue cash advances from major credit cards.