State Department Launches Safety Campaign for Travelers Over 55

by Jessica Montevago
State Department Launches Safety Campaign for Travelers Over 55

The program includes travel-related recommendations about medications, health insurance and emergency care, passports, and the STEP initiative. Photo: Shutterstock

The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs launched a global campaign on Monday to promote overseas safety and travel preparedness for U.S. senior citizen travelers, in response to the trend that an increasing number of older U.S. citizens are traveling abroad.

The America Society for Travel Advisors (ASTA) said the State Department enlisted their help to get the word out about the campaign, which runs through Dec. 15. It features updated information on its website for U.S. travelers over the age of 55 who are considering overseas travel, including useful information about emergency preparedness, medical care and prescriptions overseas.

For instance, warning that Medicare does not cover health care overseas, the State Department “highly recommends” obtaining health insurance that covers emergency medical and dental treatment abroad, as well as medical evacuation to the U.S.

Some other things to consider, according to the State Department:

  • Passports need to be valid six months beyond the end of the trip; otherwise, some countries may not let you enter.
  • To avoid questions or delays at customs or immigration, keep medications in their original, labeled containers.
  • Bring an ample supply of medication to cover you for your trip and, if possible, for a few extra days in case there are delays.
  • Stay connected through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), where information is stored securely and enables the U.S. Department of State, U.S. embassy, or U.S. consulate to contact the traveler or their family in an emergency.
  • Beware of scams; do not disclose personal details or send money to someone overseas if you have not met in person.

Travel agents with clients over the age of 55 can print out the State Department’s checklist and handout for older travelers before they travel internationally, to help ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable overseas trip.

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