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Medical tourism

Florence, Italy, is a generally safe destination choice for those traveling with certain medical conditions. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Florence, Italy, is a generally safe destination choice for those traveling with certain medical conditions. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Note: This is the third in our series of Traveling with a Medical Condition, written by British journalist Laura Miller. Today Laura offers specific tips for traveling with cancer, a heart condition, or dementia.

By Laura Miller

Traveling with cancer

There’s no reason why a cancer diagnosis should limit your traveling. You’ll still want to see the world for the same reasons as everyone else and cancer shouldn’t be the barrier.

It’s not unusual for people with cancer to book up a holiday at the end of their treatment. On the other hand, others will have no qualms about leaving the country after being told the bad news.

However, it’s important to speak to your doctor and get their opinion before arranging a trip. You’ll then know the ins… Continue reading

South America is not out of reach for travelers with disabilities. Photo from riodejaneiro.com.

South America is not out of reach for travelers with disabilities. Photo from riodejaneiro.com

Continuing our series on traveling with a medical condition — written by British freelance journalist Laura Miller — we’ll focus today on traveling with a disability.

If you missed Laura’s first post in  the series, you can read her top tips for traveling with a medical condition here.

Laura provides a wealth of tips and advice that I’m sure many baby boomer travelers — and their traveling partners — will find helpful and reassuring.

By Laura Miller

In today’s world, travel isn’t restrictive. Regardless of whether you’re fit and healthy, have a physical impairment, learning disability, or any other condition, there’s no reason to  avoid traveling.

You can visit even the most exotic of destinations: from South America to Southampton, a disability shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world.

Here’s how:

Planning… Continue reading

A Malaysian medical team at work; if you carry your medical ID, they'll know how to treat you

A Malaysian medical team at work; if you carry your medical ID, they’ll know how to treat you

With the oldest baby boomers now in their early seventies and the youngest in their early fifties, traveling with medical conditions has become a major issue for the baby boom generation.

British freelance writer Laura Miller has compiled a practical guide to coping with medical conditions while on the road (or in the air, on the water, etc.), so that all of us with medical issues can enjoy our travels to the utmost.

Her guide is long enough that I’ll be running it over the course of  several posts, so stay tuned for more. My thanks to Laura for providing us access to this important series.

By Laura Miller

Having a chronic or serious medical condition doesn’t mean you can’t travel safely — but you will need to take… Continue reading

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Most of us probably don’t travel for our health — but generally speaking,  it’s a very good perk, especially for baby boomers.

Studies have shown that leisure travel can be good medicine.

There’s straight-up wellness travel, of course, such as visiting a health spa to lose weight.

But travel in and of itself can also do the job.

Here’s why:

  • Travel helps reduce stress and promote relaxation by taking a break from routine.
  • Travel usually results in greater physical activity, particularly walking. But you might also learn tai chi in China, practice yoga in India, or bicycle around Europe.
  • Travel promotes brain health by challenging us with new and different experiences and environments. It can potentially help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Travel can also help ward off depression… Continue reading
Laos' Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

Laos’ Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

In recognition of Global Wellness Day — June 11 this year — I thought it would be apropos to mention a few of the more unusual ways to promote health while traveling. As a baby boomer, I’m prone to the usual stiff joints and other nagging ailments, and love the idea of medical tourism, even if it’s mostly an excuse to go somewhere exotic.

  • Water-based Meditation.

While I don’t practice meditation, I have a few good friends who do, and they always seem focused and calm. Does meditation have this effect, or are naturally calm and focused people drawn to meditation?

I don’t know, but I do know I could use a little more calmness and focus in my life, and I love being on water, so maybe I’ll try:

The Mekong Spa at Belmond… Continue reading

Luxury cruise travel -- such as on Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2 -- is one favorite of senior travelers. Photo by Clark Norton.

Luxury cruise travel — such as on Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 — is one favorite of senior travelers. Photo by Clark Norton.

In my last post, I recommended a piece by Anita Mendiratta of the CNN Task Force contending that the world’s seniors (those aged 60 and up) are “global tourism’s silver lining.”

Based on world tourism and economic statistics, Mendiratta notes that senior travelers have more disposable income than other age groups, have more flexibility as to when to travel, and tend to stay longer on the trips they make.

But I thought her own observations about how seniors bring a special sense of excitement and awe to travel was especially insightful.

Baby boomers (now in their 50s and 60s) have a lifetime of experience and knowledge to bring to their travels, and I think this results in greater appreciation for — and excitement about — the places… Continue reading

Sipadan Island, Sabah, East Malaysia, might be a nice place to recover from surgery.

Sipadan Island, Sabah, East Malaysia, might be a nice place to recover from surgery.

OK, so you need a hip replacement — lots of baby boomers do. Or you need a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), another increasingly common surgery for the baby boom generation.

If you’re an American, you could get them done in the U.S. and run up bills upwards of $80,000 for the bypass procedure or $30,000 for the hip replacement, and hope your insurance or Medicare foots the bulk of it (if you have insurance or Medicare).

Or you could travel abroad and get the same medical treatments for a fraction of the price — and maybe even have a vacation to boot.

According to the book Patients Without Borders — Everybody’s Guide to Affordable, World-Class Healthcare, a CABG will cost you about $20,000 in Malaysia, while a hip replacement will run about $12,500.… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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