Men and women often dream of jetsetting around the world when they retire. Traveling the globe without worrying about timelines or what's going on back at the office is something many retirees reward themselves with after a life of hard work.
As liberating as world travel can be, retirees still must exercise caution when traveling abroad. The following are a few safety tips for retirees who are ready to make their dream retirements a reality by setting off for parts unknown.
* Stay in touch. Escapism is a big part of the attraction of travel for travelers young and old. But while you may want to avoid contact with the outside world on your travels, it's still necessary to stay in touch with your loved ones. Retirees who plan to take extended trips overseas should purchase an international mobile phone plan that allows them to use their phones regardless of what country they happen to be in. A quick text message to a son or daughter back home is all it takes to let your family know you are safe and having the time of your life. Work out a communication plan with your loved ones back home before departing, agreeing to contact them via phone call, email or Skype at least once per week for the duration of your trip. This is a good way to share your experiences and help your relatives rest easy knowing that you are safe.
* Don't store all of your important documents in one place. When traveling overseas, it can be convenient to keep important items like traveler's cheques, credit cards, passports, and identification in one place. However, storing all of your sensitive documents or financial items in one place is very risky, as a lost or stolen bag can leave you without identification or access to your funds. When traveling, couples should carry their own passports on their persons and split up credit cards and traveler's cheques. This way you still have access to your funds, and one of you still has identification should items be lost or stolen.
* Do your homework. Unplanned day trips are common among travelers who have been traveling for long periods of time. While such jaunts can add an element of spontaneity to a trip, they also can be quite dangerous if travelers have not done their homework on a particular destination. You do not want to end up in a place where tourists are not welcome or frequent targets of criminals. In addition, you don't want to visit a city or town and know nothing of its customs or etiquette. For example, locals may react negatively to visitors who have ignored accepted local standards for attire. You can still make spontaneous trips, but make sure you gather some background information, be it from the Internet, locals where you are currently staying or the hotel concierge, on a given locale and its customs before visiting.
* Make sure your health will not be compromised. Retirees cannot travel in the same manner they did in the carefree days of their youth. Before traveling abroad, visit your physician and get a full physical. Refill any medications you will need during your trip, and speak with your physician about how to handle any medical emergencies while overseas. Carry your physician's name and telephone number with you at all times, so local medical professionals can contact him or her should you experience a medical emergency.
Once you have arrived at your destination, it's important that you continue to prioritize your health. Make sure the water is safe to drink before taking a sip, and investigate local cuisine to ensure it won't enflame any existing medical conditions you may have. The quality of medical care varies greatly across the globe, so you must prioritize your health whenever leaving the country and avoid anything that might put your health in jeopardy.
* Travel with friends or family if possible. If you have friends or family who also are retirees with time on their hands, organize a group trip abroad. Groups are less likely to be targeted by criminals than couples, and overseas trips with friends or family members can make trips overseas that much more memorable and enjoyable.
Overseas travel is a popular goal of men and women on the verge of retirement or those who have already called it a career. But safety must remain a priority when traveling abroad.