Seniors: Things to do before that Foreign Vacation

Most senior citizens already know the first rule of taking a vacation, Go with a friend, someone who is compatible. This is the person who shares the same taste as you and who will stand by you if a problem, medical or otherwise, occurs. And for seniors, group tours provide safety in numbers (generally).

Before taking that foreign trip, you will have a physical , receive all of your shots and your physician’s approval. Also any travel documents must be complete and with you when you depart.

If you want your trip to go smoothly, buy a book on the area you plan to visit and learn important customs that will win favor with the local population. For example, in many parts of the Middle East, people shake with their right hands and not their left. But in Thailand you don’t shake hands (although you can), you do the Thai Wai (pronounced why) by putting your hands together in prayer and bowing slightly. There are several differences in the wai depending on the status of the two persons meeting.

Always dress in good taste.  What qualifies as good taste depends on the different locations, ranging from a Buddhist region to a Muslim region. But treat the locals with respect, no matter who they are. By doing your homework, you can have an enjoyable vacation and the local population will  have pleasant memories of you.

Check your area book to find out the weather at this time of year and dress appropriately. Some of the sites you visit may not allow you to enter if you don’t meet the dress code. And some places you may not be able to go if you are a female. Be knowledgeable and go along with the flow.

And once you arrive do not go out at night alone or wear a display of expensive baubles. Drink only bottled mineral water. While food  from street vendors may look and smell good, chances are that the food could be contaminated. Play it safe.

Stay in touch with your relatives and “leave emergency contact information for your destination, a detailed itinerary, and a copy of your passport biodata page with family, colleagues, or a trusted friend. Carry emergency contact information for your family in the United States with you when you travel. For both, include information for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate at your travel destination.

“If there is an emergency where you are staying, such as during civil unrest, disrupted transportation, or a natural disaster, prevent undue worry or concern and  contact your family and friends to tell them you are fine.”

Find more valuable travel information on: Food, Pharmacies and Medications, Medical Services, Insurance, Financial Information and Scams at the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

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