Tips for Older Travelers

More and more numbers of U.S. citizens are traveling or living abroad after they retire.  Some are experienced adventure travelers, and for some it’s a first ever international trip.  As an older traveler, you may face challenges related to health, federal benefits, or emergency services while abroad.  If it’s your first trip or your hundredth, we have some reminders you should consider:

Get Informed

Learn about your destination and its unique travel requirements at

Get Required Documents

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of your return;  three months validity beyond planned departure date from the Schengen area required. Applying for a tourist visa in Hungary is not required for stays under 90 days.

Enroll in STEP!

A smart way to maintain your emergency contact information is to enroll with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  Your information is stored securely and enables us to keep you updated on safety and security concerns and contact you in an emergency.  You can enroll at

Health information

Medicare does not work overseas.  If you haven’t purchased medical insurance, you should consider it.

Many companies offer short-term health and emergency assistance policies to cover health care expenses overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.  We highly recommend obtaining health insurance to cover emergency medical and dental treatment and medical evacuation to the United States. Find more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage here. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Hungary to ensure the medication is legal in Hungary. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash at the time of service and usually cannot bill your insurer directly, even if you have coverage overseas. Be prepared to pay bills first and claim reimbursement from your insurer later. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines are widely available at pharmacies.

See our Medical Assistance page for more details about specific medical care providers.

If you routinely take prescription medication, make sure you have enough, and contact your doctor before you run out.  You may want to keep extra on hand.  Have information from your doctor regarding your condition and your medication.

  • To avoid questions or delays at customs or immigration, keep medications in their original, labeled containers.
  • Know the generic name for your medication as those generic names may be more recognizable at pharmacies in a foreign country.
  • Check with us to ensure that your medications are not considered illegal substances under local laws.

Financial Information

It’s good to know the currency rates and understand the financial system in Hungary. Although Hungary is a member of the European Union, the currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF), and euros are NOT accepted everywhere. Be careful when paying by cash. “Count your zeroes”: Hungarian currency bills often have many zeroes, so check that you’re not getting a 1,000 Ft. note back when it should be a 10,000 Ft. note!

Inform your bank or credit card company that you are overseas so that they do not freeze your account. Ask if your bank has any international banking partners where you can safely deposit or withdraw funds as needed. ATM service is widely available. Many banks will issue cash advances from major credit cards.

U.S. citizens can become victims of scams at home or abroad. There are many different types of scams, but they all share a common goal: monetary gain for the scammers.  Click here for more information on international financial scams, and how to avoid them. 

Prepare for Emergencies

Give a copy of your emergency contact information and a copy of your passport to family or trusted friends.  Carry emergency contact information with you when you travel.  Your passport has an emergency contact section; fill it out.

Make sure you have the U.S. Embassy’s emergency contact information available, and provide it to your family and friends.  If there is an emergency where you are here, contact your family and friends as soon as possible to prevent undue worry.


Download this checklist (PDF, 336 KB) to help you keep track of everything you need to travel smart, travel safe and travel well.