Older Travelers

An increasing number of older U.S. citizens are traveling abroad. The U.S. Department of State wants you to be prepared so you can enjoy your trip.

  • Travel safe. Travel smart. Travel well.


    Travel safe. Travel smart. Travel well.

Stay Connected

You can receive our safety and security updates in several ways.

Consider Medical Insurance

Before you go, consider insurance options. U.S. Medicare (for ages 65+) and Medicaid do not cover medical costs overseas. Medical repatriation insurance is strongly recommended.

Beware of scams

  • U.S. citizens can become victims of scams at home or abroad. Many scams exist. They all share a common goal: monetary gain for the scammers. See our page on scams for more details. Information on scams common in your destination country is in each country’s country information page on our website.

Travel Documents

  • Some countries will not let you enter if your passport will expire within six months.
  • Make sure your travel documents will be valid at least six months after you will return home. This includes passports and/or passport cards. 
  • Check our Country Information pages to determine if:
    • you need a visa;
    • you have enough blank pages in your passport for entry stamps;
    • your passport needs to be valid six months beyond the end of your trip. Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter.

Health & Medical Information

  • U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not cover health care overseas.
  • Consult with your physician six to eight weeks before your travel overseas. This may allow time for required vaccinations.
  • Many insurance companies offer short-term health and emergency assistance policies. These policies cover health care expenses overseas including emergency services, such as medical evacuations. We highly recommend obtaining health insurance that covers emergency medical, dental, and evacuation services.

Pharmacies and Medications

  • Check with the Embassy or Consulate of the country you plan to visit to ensure that medications you want to bring are not illegal under the local laws of that country.
  • Read more tips related to health issues on the Center for Disease Control’s Travelers' Health page.
  • If you take prescription medication, pack enough for your trip. If you are changing time zones, discuss any changes to your medication schedule (both outgoing and returning) with your doctor.
  • Ensure you have information from your doctor regarding your condition and your medication. It should be in a format that can be shared with a healthcare provider or others in the country you are visiting.
  • Keep medications in their original, labeled containers to avoid questions or delays at customs or immigration.
  • Know the generic name for your medication. Pharmacies in foreign countries may recognize generic names more easily than brand names.


Some travelers may have mobility difficulties or use a wheelchair. Try to find out ahead of time what accessibility accommodations are available at the places you will visit. For more information, check our section on Traveling with Disabilities.


Financial Information

  • Tell your bank and/or credit card company that you will be traveling overseas so that they do not freeze your account. Ask if your bank has any international banking partners where you can securely deposit or withdraw funds as needed.
  • If ATM service is not widely available or is not secure, you may want to bring one or two major credit cards. You may also want to bring travelers checks if they are accepted at your destination. Many banks in foreign countries will issue cash advances from major credit cards, although there may be fees associated with cash advances.
  • Review the crime section of the country information page for the country you plan to visit. See if there are any known financial or ATM scams in that country.

Prepare for Emergencies

  • Leave emergency contact information and a copy of your passport biographic data page with family and trusted friends. 
  • Carry emergency contact information for your family in the United States with you when you travel (be sure to also pencil it in the emergency contact information section of your passport).
  • Know the contact information for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, available on the country information page for each country and on each embassy or consulate’s website, and provide that information to your family and friends. 
  • If there is an emergency situation where you are staying, such as civil unrest, disrupted transportation, or a natural disaster, contact your family and friends as soon as possible. Please see our page on Crisis Abroad for more information.
  • A secure way to maintain your emergency contact information is to enroll with our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program



Stay Connected

  • Enroll in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Your information is secure. It enables the U.S. Department of State, U.S. embassy and/or U.S. consulate to contact you, your family, or your friends in an emergency according to your wishes.
  • Provide a copy of your itinerary, including contact information, for where you will be staying to at least one friend or family member.
  • Manage expectations – if you don't plan to stay in touch on your vacation, let your family and friends know you will not be in regular contact.
  • Not all cell phones work abroad. Check your cell phone coverage and/or whether you will be able to purchase a SIM card overseas that will work in your phone before you depart.
Last Updated: February 15, 2024