Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to Survive Travel in Your Retired Years – With a Dependent

Travel Guides
Travel Guides (Photo credit: Vanessa (EY))
For most retirees, freedom from watching over little ones while at home and abroad is what puts the golden in “golden years.” While caring for dependents has its own personal rewards, isn’t getting away from that sort of responsibility what retirement is all about? 

Unfortunately, retirement doesn’t mean absolute freedom from caring for dependents for many retired individuals. This can be complicated enough at home, but it doesn’t need to impede on the dreams of most retirees to travel the world. To make caring for dependents while overseas more manageable emotionally and fiscally, here are a few reminders anyone can follow.

1. Take the risk out of traveling abroad with proper insurance

While traveling abroad, you and your dependent will be exposed to all sorts of new and exciting places and events. But the unintended consequences of travel can be dire, too. Considering that young children and elderly adults are among the most vulnerable to physical injury and disease, it’s more recommendable for these travelers than anyone to invest in traveler’s insurance.

This form of insurance can cover accidents, illnesses, disablement, return of a minor, and even overseas ceremony expenses in the case the worst happens. Make sure that your provider is very familiar with the region that you’re traveling to; when traveling to the Carolinas, for example, it would be prudent to get coverage from Charlotte insurance agents rather than European providers.

2. Find activities that will keep both of you entertained

Most conflicts that happen between travel partners in any trip results from a conflict of interests. Naturally, limited time in exotic locations can leave travelers feeling pretty divided on the best way to spend time abroad. This might seem to be even more exaggerated between young children and their elderly caregivers. As difficult as it can be to compromise, making accommodations for any dependents in your party is necessary (because no child will ever, ever behave themselves in a country club or art museum.)

Finding common interests and making the most of your journey is one way to approach attending to their needs. Spending time on your various flights to brainstorm some potential destinations together can work wonders down the line. If there is another caregiver in your party, taking shifts to experience things individually might be the best approach in making sure that you can make the most of your trip without compromising too much to provide care.

3. Always have a back-up plan for when compromise won’t work

While it’s comforting to think that there will always be something available for a child to keep themselves busy while you enjoy traveling, you might find that compromise isn’t always possible. Keeping activities readily available with you in order to make traveling more entertaining for children could be a good alternative; but while portable game consoles and coloring books might help wile away a few hours, engaging your dependents more meaningfully about their travels will help them enjoy the more “boring” aspects that they might otherwise prefer to avoid.

If you’d like to see a museum, become your party’s own tour guide. If you’d like to enjoy local cuisine, become your group’s taste tester. You don’t need to be an expert; rather, engaging your children as a cooperative learner as you explore new environments and experience new things can provide a world of perspective for children to take in their surroundings more meaningfully.

Having them take notes and learn from their journeys will not only actively engage them in the traveling experience, but it might garner their appreciation of traveling and of the world as a whole. And while traveling should certainly be more about “you” in your golden years, there are few lessons that match that importance.

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