Staying Healthy When Traveling Abroad
Many of us who are lucky enough to live in Sun City Carolina Lakes have many opportunities to travel in retirement. I have heard many very scary stories that perhaps could have been avoided. It is important to remember that you are responsible for your own health and wellbeing when you are traveling. Be Prepared. It’s a great way to make sure you have a good time and stay healthy to enjoy your trip.
Before you leave
•Make sure are that you are current on all your required vaccinations, as well as medications for mosquito borne viruses.
•Find out the contact information for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to where you are to travel.
•Apply for a passport at least three months before you travel. If you already have one, be sure to check the passport’s expiration date as well as any entry requirements for the countries you will be visiting.
•Understand the financial system and know the currency rates at your travel destination. Tell your bank and/or credit card company of your travel plans so that its security measures do not freeze your account.
What to bring
•Plan to bring the smallest roll-aboard suitcase you can manage. A second bag should stack neatly on top of your wheeled bag. Packing light is important for seniors.
•Bring along a magnifying glass to help you read detailed maps and small-print schedules, and a small notebook to jot down facts and reminders.
•Bring a copy of your Living Will with you. You should keep a copy in your glove compartment and travel suitcase, as well.
•Bring an updated copy of all of your current medications (both prescription and over-the-counter).
•Bring emergency contact information about your family in the United States with you when you travel. Also, be sure to pencil this information into the emergency contact information section of your passport.
•Bring travelers checks and one or two major credit cards. Many credit cards and travel and tourism companies offer cancellation protection for an additional fee.
•Purchase from a bank and bring with you local currency for taxi fares, tips and minor expenditures in the foreign country.
What to leave
•Leave your itinerary, your emergency contact information, and a copy of your passport’s biographic data page with family and/or trusted friends.
•Notify you nearest neighbors that you are traveling and to keep look out on your property.
•Make sure you get travel insurance and read the fine print. Don’t leave home without it. It is best if you speak with a travel agent or a general insurance agent, and go through “worst case “scenarios of needing major medical care in a foreign country. Most important is confirming transportation all the way to your home healthcare center, and not just to the nearest stateside hospital.
•Always purchase trip cancellation, travel health, and medical evacuation insurance. Consider purchasing luggage insurance.
•Bring an updated copy of your current medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), and enough for the whole trip plus a few extra days. Keep your medications with you, not in your checked luggage.
•Before every meal of foreign foods, it is helpful to take a bismuth subsalicylate product (e.g., Pepto-Bismol or Pepcid AC) to help prevent abdominal issues.
•It is best to bring your own supply of anti-diarrhea medication (e.g., Lomotil or Imodium).
•You should have a Z Pak ( steroids) for infections, check to see if you can get a prescription from your physician.
•Consider carrying a small typed card in your wallet that has your blood type, allergies to foods or medications, and list of all medications you take, including over the counter meds.
Food and Drink
•Remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water before eating.
•Consume only bottled water, even for brushing your teeth, and keep your mouth closed in the shower
•There is no guarantee against food-borne illness, but be vigilant and never eat under cooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs.
•Move …blood clots are possible on long trips, so get up and move every hour or so when flying. Check with your doctor to see if support hose may be suggested during a long flight.
Here is hoping that we all can be prepared so we can travel safely and enjoy each and every day of our trip and return with just great memories.