Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Retired People: Travel Safe, Travel Far!

On the news last night I caught a clip about the increasingly adventurous traveling habits of retirees. A long weekend in Wisconsin doesn’t cut it anymore. Retired people are taking epic trips across Europe, visiting the Great Wall of China and exploring our National Parks. This is fabulous news—I’d love to be active and traveling well into my retirement (t-minus 40 years from now). But this clip also reminded me that vacation healthcare emergencies should be a consideration among aging travelers, and my family knows ALL about that.

Several years ago, my grandpa and his wife left their home in Arizona to summer in Vancouver. That’s pretty darn far away from where my family lives here in Chicago. When my grandfather got a scrape on his head, he figured it would heal on its own and didn’t treat it. A week later, my dad took an emergency trip up to Canada because Grandpa was in the hospital with a wicked infection. It was scary for a while—they feared the infection might spread to his blood.

It pretty much ruined the summer, but hasn’t stemmed my grandpa’s sense of adventure. He and his wife still like to flee the heat for far-flung spots. And they should! But now they’re a bit more cautious, and so goes the direction of my tale: If you, your parents or grandparents are setting off on a vacation, consider these tips:

Now that you're feeling a little safer, hooray for people who are taking these vacations. Do you have a dream vacation planned for your retirement? Tell us about it in the comments!

Kristin Claes is the senior writer for the chapter. She wants to travel to San Sebastian, Spain, in retirement and never leave. Thanks to withoutyou for the image!

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