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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.