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How to Choose the Best Retirement Volunteering Program Thumbnail

How to Choose the Best Retirement Volunteering Program

Volunteering is a great way to explore the world and make an impact during retirement. Choosing the best volunteer program can be challenging.

Volunteering in Your Sunset Years

Volunteer programs for seniors are a great way to experience foreign countries and lend a helping hand to international aid groups.

Finding the Right Volunteer Opportunity

It’s easy to find causes that would value your help overseas. Many online resources help place prospective volunteers with organizations, but thinking about the best fit for you ahead of time will help you choose an exciting, rewarding experience.

How long do you want to spend abroad? Where do you want to go? What kind of professional experience or talents do you have that might be especially useful to a volunteer organization? Are you comfortable working with volunteers of all ages? Can you work with volunteers with different religious, political and philosophical backgrounds from your own? Considering these questions ahead of time will help you get the most enjoyment out of your volunteer experience.

Popular volunteer organizations include the Peace Corps, United Nations Volunteers and World Teach. Each offers a variety of programs and locations.

Preparing for Your Trip

You should know before you travel what expenses already covered by the organization or your volunteer fee. Some may arrange your transportation, provide housing in the country to which you’re traveling, or even offer a daily or monthly stipend. Other organizations require that you arrange your own travel and housing. Make sure you have adequate access to money for your expenses while you’re overseas, and you should make sure that your long term travel insurance will cover anything that happens on your trip.

If you want time to yourself for sightseeing, you may have to spend some extra time planning. Some volunteer programs have free time in their schedules for enjoying the locale, but others have schedules that are more demanding.

Quite a lot goes into choosing the best volunteer program. Make preparations ahead of time, and your trip is sure to go smoothly.

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Medical Care and Travel Health Insurance for Visitors to Australia

Travel Insurance for Worry-Free Australia Visits

Australia’s health insurance system provides basic medical care and emergency hospital treatment for those who belong to the national health insurance system called Medicare. Travelers get similar treatment if from one of the 11 countries with Reciprocal Healthcare agreements with Australia, which include New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland and Finland.

The basic system is subsidized costs; members pay a fee but receive reimbursement for much of the costs of consultation, hospital care and prescriptions. However, for nationals and other visitors from these and any other country, international travel insurance is one of the best investments overseas travelers can make.

Peace of Mind

Accidents, illness and injuries can occur at home or abroad. Insurance provides some peace of mind that if some unfortunate occurrence arises, one can easily arrange medical care. Australia provides coverage for foreign nationals under agreements with eleven countries, but the United States is not one of them. Private U.S. health carriers provide coverage, but there may be complicated procedures for using them. Peace of mind comes with knowing that coverage is in place for the places that one will travel in Australia and elsewhere.

Preparing for the Unexpected

World news and events remind us that unexpected events occur. Insurance coverage is broad and customizable. Australia is an advanced nation with generous provisions for reciprocal care for foreign nationals covered by agreements. For other nationals, they must provide insurance or accept the care that comes under emergency conditions. For visitors who can afford the costs, travel insurance is a step everyone should take; it is prudent and practical, like taking some extra cash as traveler’s checks.

Travelers Must Confirm Coverage

While it is low-cost and quite well regarded, health insurance is not free in Australia. Visitors are likely not covered unless by agreement between Australia and their home countries. If covered, users get rebates for much of the costs of medical care. Healthcare is widely available for emergency and other consultations, and a well-designed or customized travel insurance policy would provide significant benefits and the satisfaction of more worry-free travel.

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Ebola Risks Involved With Travel

Is Travel Safe During Ebola Outbreak?

First discovered in 1976 in the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ebola virus can be found across Africa, where outbreaks have occurred sporadically throughout the continent. Travelers may be relieved once they know more about Ebola and the outbreak. They might also be put at ease to know that some companies provide travel insurance for American citizens, protecting them if they become infected while traveling abroad.

A Deadly Virus

Ebola is a deadly, rare disease that spreads through direct contact with contaminated objects, infected animals such as primates and bats, and the bodily fluids or blood of infected patients. Those who are vulnerable to Ebola may be friends, family and health-care professionals. Symptoms of the virus include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

Ebola in West Africa

The Ebola outbreak started in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in March 2014. This is the largest and most complex outbreak of the virus in history, and there have been reports of civil violence and unrest toward health-care workers as a result. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans avoid all travel to these countries to help control and prevent the spread of the virus. For humanitarian aid workers and similar individuals who have to travel to West Africa, the CDC recommends following its advice for preventing infection.

Preventing Ebola

While the best way to prevent infection is to avoid traveling to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the CDC advises travelers to check their health insurance to determine whether they are covered in the event that they do become infected, including coverage for emergency evacuation. They should also avoid contact with bodily fluids and blood, potentially contaminated objects, animals, or raw and undercooked meat. Travelers also need to practice careful hygiene such as frequently washing their hands with water and soap or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. If they come down with a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or other Ebola symptoms, they should immediately seek medical attention.

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Practical Suggestions to Improve Your Trip to a Foreign Country

Whether you are a beginner or experienced traveler, chances are you probably feel slightly nervous about the thought of leaving the United States and experiencing a different country you might not be as familiar with. Even individuals who travel frequently for business find themselves losing sleep at night, going over their checklist again and again, hoping they haven’t forgotten something important. If you are planning a vacation and are experiencing feelings of anxiety, here are some simple suggestions for making the most of your trip, whether short-term or long-term.

Take in the Culture around You

Stop and smell the roses. Document your journey with plenty of photos. Walk to your destination whenever possible, and take advantage of local food. It may seem intimidating at first, but eat at the street vendors who have the longest lines or ask someone for a recommendation. You have spent time and money planning your trip, and you will not experience all the country has to offer if you cut corners. Take the opportunity to meet the locals, even if you are not a master of their language yet. If you go out of your way to smile and make eye contact with the locals and do not find them reciprocating, do a little research about body language. In some cultures, what we consider polite is considered anything but.

Remain Calm and Travel On

The world is not as scary as you might think, yet the news is full of events from different countries that may give us a perception about the region that simply is not true. Try to keep an open mind, use a little common sense and your trip should be worry-free. If the purpose of your travel is to volunteer in a region that seems like it might be dangerous, or there is a medical outbreak and you are concerned about your health, a US citizen travel insurance plan could help to ease your mind.

Slow Down and Take in the Moment

Take time to explore and try not to plan too many events within one trip. Many activities not featured in your guidebook are ones you can only discover if you keep your schedule flexible. Make room for those little unexpected moments that only come if you are not distracted by your own agenda.

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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.

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Travel Tips For Americans Spending Time In Italy

If you and your family are considering a trip to Italy, there are a number of things to be aware of prior to your stay in this European republic. Italians are completely different from the people living in your neck of the woods, placing their beliefs and values on a different set of principles than many Americans hold near and dear. To ensure that your trip to Italy goes smoothly and without incident, here are some tips that Italians hope all Americans follow while they are walking the streets of Rome.

Skin is not in

In Italy, it is common to see women wearing long sleeves and pants during sunny days. Since the closets of most Italians do not feature any “Daisy Duke” shorts or dripping necklines, it is best to keep your skin covered while shopping, eating and spending time in public spaces.

Time is valuable

Don’t be surprised if you notice that many stores are closed at a certain time each day. Italians take their time very seriously, with many residents considering time spent as the ultimate form of currency. Expect to see businesses closed during the hours of 1:00pm to 4:00pm, as store owners and employees head home to spend lunchtime with their families.

Ask and you shall receive

Another aspect of Italian life that baffles U.S. citizens the task of asking for the check at a restaurant. Unlike in America, the check must be asked for by the customer prior to leaving any dining establishment. In Italy, meals and conversations are meant to be savored and enjoyed, rather than rushed. When ready for the check, simply request the bill “il conto” to your server.


Americans can be frequently seen screaming in the streets of Florence, hoping to hail a cab for a ride. In Italy, taxis cannot be hailed and rides must be arranged previously. In order to get a cab in Italy, call for one to pick you up or find a taxi stand and wait for service.

Taking a trip to Italy can be a fun and exciting experience, complete with new adventures and a unique perspective on life. Take these tips with you on your next trip to Italy to have the best possible experience possible. For more information on long term travel insurance, call (800) 647-4589 today.

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7 Tips for Staying Safe on your Trip to Egypt

Since Egypt’s revolution, tourists have been on heightened alert while traveling the region. Although Egypt is still considered a relatively safe country to visit, it’s still important to exercise caution, and consult to travel advisory of your home country before departure. Here are a few tips to stay safe while traveling abroad in Egypt.

1) Demonstrations

It is important that visitors stay away from protests, as they are the most likely targets for terrorists. Attacks can occur without warning, and are indiscriminate.

2) Socially acceptable behavior

Egypt is an Islamic country, and much more conservative than most western societies. It is important that you respect their values, even as a tourist. Many Egyptians do not consume alcohol in public, or display affection. It is best that these activities be engaged in privately while in Egypt. Both men and women in the country dress modestly, choosing to cover large portions of their skin in public. Many women wear headscarves.

3) Travel insurance

As with every trip abroad, make sure to obtain travel and medical insurance prior to departure.

4) Contacts

Have a list of important contacts stored close by. Know how to access your embassy, insurance company, tourist police, and your hotel. Also have contacts labeled “ICE” (in case of emergency) stored with your travel documents, so authorities know who to contact in your home country should they need to.

5) Important documents

Always have access to electronic copies of important documents (e.g. passport, airline ticket, travel insurance). If the originals are lost or stolen, having backups can expedite the process of getting replacements.

6) Hygiene

Not all establishments will have the same hygiene standards that Westerners are accustomed to. Due to this, it’s not uncommon for some travelers to get upset stomachs. Use your best judgment, and avoid eating at restaurants that don’t look or feel clean. Don’t drink tap water, or eat street food.

7) Cash and credit cards

It is important to have more than one credit card, and some cash with you when you travel. It is also important to keep the credit cards and cash in separate locations. Being an outsider can make you a target for crimes of opportunity. If a pickpocket targets you, and you have all of your cash or cards in one location, it will leave you without access to money for the remainder of your trip.

While following these tips will help keep you safe in Egypt, they are not fail-safe. Obtaining short or long term travel insurance, and travel medical insurance is still your best bet to stay protected abroad. To get more information on travel insurance, call the experts at Insurance for Trips at (800) 647-4589 today!