| Tue, Jul 01, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Traveling Abroad: Tips for a Better Trip

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

traveling abroadTraveling abroad can be fun. It can also be a little scary if you don’t know what to expect. For many older U.S. citizens, health care while traveling is a concern. The U.S. Department of State offers a few tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Travel Smart

Pack the proper clothing for your destination.  Be aware that being physically active during travel can be strenuous, and sudden changes in diet may cause serious health problems for the unprepared traveler. Check the local conditions, as extremes in climate and travel to high altitude locations may negatively affect the health of some travelers.

Prescription Medications

If you have pre-existing medical problems, you should carry a letter from your doctor describing the medical condition and any prescription medications. Carry enough prescription medication to last your entire trip, including extra medicine in case you are delayed. Ask your pharmacy or doctor for the generic name of your prescriptions in case you need to buy additional medication abroad. Pack your medication in your carry-on bag, since checked baggage may get lost. Always carry your prescriptions in their labeled containers, not in a pill pack. Take a copy of your immunizations records along in your hand-carry luggage.

Disability Accessibility and Accommodations

Each country has its own standards of accessibility for travelers with disabilities. Many countries do not require accommodations similar to what you might find in the United States. If you have trouble with mobility or use a wheelchair, determine what the access is to areas such as swimming pools, public facilities, hotels, restaurants, bars, restrooms, etc.  Find out if shopping and entertainment are accessible.

Check Your Health Insurance – Are You Covered Abroad?

Before you leave home, learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas. In most cases, you are NOT covered by Medicare outside of the U.S.

According to Medicare.gov, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa are considered part of the U.S.

You may want to buy a separate travel insurance policy to cover emergency medical and dental treatment and for medical evacuation to the United States.  Many companies offer short-term health and emergency assistance policies to cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

Vaccinations Are Required for Entry to Some Countries

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO)can provide you their recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your trip abroad.

For some fun travel tips, check out Rick Steves’ Savvy Senior Travelers.

Have fun. Be safe. And happy travels!

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.


Medicare & You: Traveling Abroad video Medicare.gov

Medicare Coverage Outside of the United States  Publication by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Considerations for Older Travelers US Department of State (travel.state.gov)


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