Travel Safety Tips for Retirees

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Many retirees plan to travel in their retirement. In fact, according to a recent study, 60% of baby boomers expect that their retirement will include at least some amount of travel. Seeing new and exciting places is exhilarating, and in today’s world, it’s easier than ever to travel. You can hop on a plane and see your grandkids in a matter of hours.

Safety is often a concern of many retirees as they plan trips. In the midst of your travels and travel planning, do you ever worry about your safety? If so, there are steps you can take, both before and during your trips, to make sure you travel safely. From alleviating health concerns to making sure your home is safe while you’re away, these travel safety tips can help you vacation with peace of mind so that you enjoy every moment of your adventures.

Travel Safety Tips: Before Your Trip

These travel safety tips are things you can – and should – take care of before you leave home.

Research – Make sure you have researched your destination. Read reviews on where to stay, places to eat, and things to do. Check the news in your destination for safety risks, new laws, or weather concerns. Talk to friends and family for recommendations based on their experiences. Check out the areas around the places you’re staying, and don’t forget to watch for areas to avoid. Having a working knowledge of your destination will make getting around easier and could save you time and money. Maybe some of the sights you want to see are a little too far off the beaten path or require special transportation. It’s better to know these things before you go.

Home Safety – In today’s connected world, news travels quickly–especially through social media. Whether you’re sharing pictures during your trip to Alaska, or your daughter posts about how happy she is you’re visiting her, people can quickly become aware that you are out of town. Without proper precautions, someone you don’t know or trust may see your time away as an opportunity. While it’s always a good idea to leave a porch light on, a car in the driveway or consider adding a timer to an inside light, the best approach is ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your home. You can also arrange for someone to get your mail and take your garbage cans to the curb on trash day.

Itinerary and Contact Info – Leave a copy of your travel plans and important contact details with family, or friend or neighbor. This way, someone can reach you if an emergency happens at home. Include hotel phone numbers, cell phones and emergency contacts. This is especially important if you are traveling outside the country without an international calling plan for your mobile phone.

IDs – When travelling, make a copy of your driver’s license or passport, and keep it in a separate location. The last thing you want is a misplaced license or passport derailing your trip. (Traveler’s tip: Try taking a clear photo of each ID, and then sending the images to your personal email account. That way, they’re accessible on any computer with your email login!)

Medication – Check your meds! Make sure you pack more doses than you think you’ll need for any prescription or over the counter medications you take. Also – pack your medication in both your carry-on luggage and your suitcase. If you lose a bag, leave one behind, or simply drop a pill down the sink, you’ll have back-up!

Transportation – Plan your in-trip travel ahead of time. If you are renting a car, catching a train, or are taking a bus tour, print your tickets or receipts and store them in a safe location.

Travel Safety Tips: During Your Trip

Keep these travel safety tips in mind when you are on your trip.

Protecting Valuables – When you’re away from your hotel, make sure that your valuables are secure. Many places offer in-room safes or lockers you can use to store your jewelry, money, IDs or electronics. You may also want to purchase a money belt or a purse/bag with slash-proof straps to store your money and IDs as you are sightseeing.

Emergency Contact – Another thing to carry with you is emergency contact card, sometimes called an ICE card (In Case of Emergency). This could be a piece of paper that you store in your pocket or a card you can order for free from a number of sites like this one. Be sure to include information someone would need to know in case of an emergency, such as medical conditions, health risks and a family members’ name and phone number. This card could literally be a life-saver!

Emergency Numbers – On the back of your emergency contact card, write the emergency number for your destination. In the U.S., we know to dial 9-1-1, but what about the number in Canada or in Mexico? It will be different depending upon which country outside of the U.S. you’re visiting. In the unlikely event of an emergency overseas, know how to contact emergency services for the country you are in. It’s also a good idea to note the number for the nearest U.S. embassy.

In addition to your emergency card, keep a copy with the address and phone numbers for where you’ll be staying. This is particularly handy if your phone battery dies.

Medication – The TSA will allow you to bring necessary medication onto your flight in a carry-on bag. Just make sure you know what you need to do to meet all TSA requirements. The TSA website can provide more information on making sure you don’t have problems getting your medication on your flight.

Medical Emergencies – Did you know that Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t cover the costs of emergency care in foreign countries? That means if you are admitted to the hospital outside the U.S., you’ll be paying medical costs out of your pocket.

If you have a Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Supplement plan, check to see if your coverage includes foreign travel emergencies. Many plans offer this additional health care benefit.

With these travel safety tips in mind, you can enjoy your retirement travels safely and with peace of mind.

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