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Are There Opportunities for Seniors to Volunteer Overseas? Thumbnail

Are There Opportunities for Seniors to Volunteer Overseas?

Many seniors have years of active life ahead of them and would like to help in areas where they can be useful. There are several interesting opportunities that may require you to live overseas for an extended period. Long term travel insurance will protect you from health and travel risks.

Volunteer Vacations for Seniors

After retirement, many people look for opportunities to make a difference in underdeveloped countries. They may be participating in a volunteer program to teach English, or they may work in organic farms in Italy. Senior citizens often have a lot of knowledge and energy to devote to volunteerism abroad. Older volunteers generally favor altruistic projects such as care giving and teaching, which is extremely useful. There are also archaeological and nomad projects for those with historical or cultural interests. No one needs to take risks with their health or possessions if they have long-term travel insurance.

Volunteer Opportunities

Many organizations, such as NGOabroad, arrange volunteer programs for seniors. They match your skills to the needs. For example if you are good at sewing, car mechanics or IT, there are people who can learn from you. There are also many opportunities for people who are not doctors or teachers. Law, finance and business acumen are just a few of the skills people in underdeveloped countries need to get out of poverty.

What Can Be Covered?

Once you select the volunteer program you want, it’s important to check that the country or countries where you plan to live are covered in the policy. There are policies that only cover Europe and some that cover worldwide. Countries that the U.S. government considers dangerous to visit may not be covered. A pre-existing medical condition is not usually included in standard policies, but you can request it to be covered. It’s also recommended to cover possessions such as electronic items, because volunteer work requires an extended stay, so you may be taking more things than you would on an ordinary vacation.

Plan Ahead and Save Money

With a wide selection of volunteer programs available for seniors oversees, you’re sure to find one that suits your skills and interests. It is recommended to take the time to look into long-term travel insurance. Medical bills alone could cost you a small fortune if you are not covered.

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The Benefits of Travel Insurance


Travel insurance will not only cover you if you become ill or injured abroad; it will also cover any unexpected difficulties connected with your travel such as cancelled flights and lost luggage.

Travel Insurance Provides Peace of Mind When You Travel Abroad

When you take the vacation of your dreams, you hope that there won’t be any major problems along the way. After all, you have prepared well in advance for every eventuality. However, your safest option is to expect the unexpected so that you can relax and enjoy your trip.

Travel Health Insurance

Most traditional health insurance policies do not cover you when you are out of the country. However, statistically speaking, there are more chances for you to get sick, have an accident or theft during your travels than at home. Travelers take precautions such as wearing a money belt, dressing conservatively, avoiding unpopulated places at night and staying alert, but in spite of these precautions, disasters can happen. US citizen travel insurance can cover hospital and doctor charges, emergency evacuations and medical emergencies for accidents or illness. There is also coverage for disablement, accidental death and repatriation of remains.

Other Travel Risks

Along with health issues, there are also travel issues that can completely ruin a vacation. If these things are covered by insurance, it can go a long way towards mitigating the pain and inconvenience of a bad experience and may even make it possible to afford another vacation. Many insurers offer 24/7 worldwide telephone assistance if you need to re-book a flight after a cancellation or replace a lost passport. You could be mugged and have your money, travel documents and credit cards stolen, or an airline may lose your luggage. All of these risks can be covered by travel insurance, and you’ll be able to recoup some or all of your losses.

Check Your Policy

Travel insurance for U.S. citizens is available with a huge selection of options. If you’re spending a week on a Cote d’Azure beach or cave diving in Egypt, your requirements will be different. You can choose the areas where you want insurance and customize your policy.

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Even in Australia, Health Care Costs

Public health coverage is available to certain travelers visiting Australia; however, coverage is limited to necessary care. Even for those covered under this agreement, unexpected costs can make travel insurance a good investment.

Travelers to Australia do Not Receive Free Health Care

Free health care is a myth. Even in countries with heavily subsidized public health systems for citizens, few travelers can expect coverage. Australia does have reciprocal agreements with certain countries that allow residents to receive limited benefits under Medicare. Visitors from other nations are not covered at all. Either way, international travel insurance is a necessity if you want to avoid potentially huge out-of-pocket expenses.

Who is covered under the agreement?

Citizens of New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy and Malta are entitled to limited benefits through Medicare while visiting Australia. This coverage is limited to essential care only, and the duration varies by country. In addition, those visiting on a student or retiree visa are not covered at all.

Should everyone buy supplemental insurance when traveling?

The short answer is yes. Even if you have health insurance in your home country that covers medical care abroad, there can still be substantial costs when receiving care. Due to the complexity and diversity of health care systems, billing and upfront payments vary greatly from place to place. Most medical insurance plans that cover costs incurred outside their coverage area require you to pay for the treatment out of pocket and file for reimbursement after the fact. Another common pitfall in relying on domestic insurance abroad is the difference in medical coding. How procedures and treatments are classified can affect your eligibility for reimbursement.

Is it worth the extra cost?

Travel insurance is an inexpensive addition to any trip. Since it is only issued for a limited duration, the potential liability for the company is much less. It also covers things like expatriation to your home country and non-medical mishaps that can ruin a trip. For less than the cost of a meal at a good restaurant, you can travel without worry.

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Traveling Safely in Regions Affected by Ebola


Contracting the Ebola virus during normal air travel is highly unlikely as it is not spread through the air. Despite the low chances of contracting Ebola, it is a serious virus, and travelers should stay informed as they make plans to visit certain areas of the world.

Travel Safety During an Ebola Outbreak

Despite decreasing coverage in the media, the Ebola virus is still running rampant in several African countries. Outbreaks have been ongoing since March of 2014. Though not as lethal as previous outbreaks, the current death toll sits around 60 percent. Currently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that U.S. residents avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is advisable to limit travel to these regions unless absolutely necessary.

How Likely Is It?

Despite the flurry of news reports, contracting the Ebola virus is actually not easy. In order to contract the virus, one must come into contact with bodily fluids, such as the saliva, blood or vomit, of an infected person. Symptoms of Ebola may appear anywhere from two days to three weeks after exposure though, according to some estimates, it may take longer than that. Symptoms are flu-like and can include fever, muscle pain and weakness, headache, vomiting and in some cases, internal and external bleeding.

Air Travel Safety

Currently, there is no vaccine for the Ebola virus nor is there any proven specific treatment other than supportive care. Those traveling to regions where Ebola outbreaks are ongoing must observe proper precautions to manage the risk of contracting this potentially fatal disease. Wear protective clothing when necessary, avoid contact with potentially infected people and wash hands frequently.

Managing Risk

As long as these precautions are observed, contracting the disease is highly unlikely. Unless you are traveling for humanitarian reasons, the CDC advises keeping travel to and from affected regions to an absolute minimum. Ebola exposure may result in short term but immediate emergency medical expenses. Travel insurance for American citizens is available to help you plan ahead.