Medical Travel For Seniors

Medical tourism, that is traveling to another country for affordable medical treatment is on the rise, particularly for us seniors. I know two of my friends who have traveled out of the country for medical procedures and there are probably several more, maybe who don’t talk about it.

My friend, David, who is in his early 70’s, traveled to Costa Rica to get many of his teeth capped. He told me it was actually an American Doctor from California who did the work and it cost him much less than he would have paid at home.  He was happy and recommended it.  He ended up liking Costa Rica as well and went back to visit several times, for additional dental work and for pleasure.

I read where dental implants are one of the most common medical travel procedures.

Some people take a long vacation when they travel abroad for medical treatments.   One friend when to Serbia for either a face lift or maybe it was just upper eye lid surgery and stayed for one month. Towards the end he could enjoy the trip as well.

Some people travel to Mexico, including Cancun, for procedures and I see Medical Travel companies that advertise they will take you there, arrange for post-op lodging and then get your back home.

Some countries specialize in different medical fields.  I guess Costa Rica may be dental since I have heard several people say that.  South Korea is supposed to be the place for plastic surgery, maybe Serbia also. Brazil is also known for their plastic surgeons.  Turkey has eye care.

Reportedly the cost savings for medical travel treatments is from 15% to 75% after deducting your travel expenses.

The benefits of medical travel include saving money, getting some traveling in and reducing the waiting time as it can be quicker.

There is even a Medical Tourism Association which a non profit association for medical travel. Their site has quite a bit of information.

I am sure there are plenty of downfalls from medical travel as well. The CDC had health warning for travelers to Mexico about the Zita Virus, Hepatitis A and unsanitary conditions.

To me, it sounds like the medical travel for dental work may be the best.  I would really have to be convinced to do anything else. But apparently many people are convinced medical travel is worth it.



Travel: Motorcoach Guided Tours

Mary Ann and I just returned from a 10 day motorcoach tour titled “New England Fall Foliage Tour”.  Previously, we had been on a 14 day motorcoach tour of Italy and a 14 day motorcoach tour of Germany and Austria, but that was a long time ago, so we didn’t know what to expect.

On our tour, we visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, had lunch at Quincy Market in Boston, had Chowder at Mystic Seaport, ate lobster in Boothbay Harbor Maine and did a dinner cruise on Lake Champlain in Burlington VT. Since it was a Fall Foliage Tour we also drove through the Smoky Mountains in NC, the White Mountains in NH, the Green Mountains of VT, the Catskills of New York and Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

That sounds great doesn’t it? It was. But is was sometimes frustrating and very tiring at times also.

The tour company we used decided to replace the tour guides at the last minute and the new guides did not know the locations we visited. They tried to read a description off the internet. That was disappointing.

We logged 2900 miles and visited 16 states in 10 days, resulting in a rushed, not well thought out itinerary, trying to cover too much at our expense. On two separate days, we got on the bus at 8am and did not get to our hotel until 8pm.  Ugh!

There were 44 passengers and 2 tour guides and a driver. All passengers were age 55+ and 4 were from our Active Adult Community. We got to meet some interesting people.

This was a local tour company in Lula, Georgia that had been recommended to us by several neighbors in our Active Adult Community who had taken shorter trips. Maybe we just had a bad tour. The tour company did reply to my concerns and have made changes.

Several of our fellow motorcoach travelers told us that this would never happen on Collette Tours or Road Scholar Educational Tours. Our tour was not cheap, but these tours are more expense but apparently offer better planned out tours with more informed tour guides. There are also motorcoach tours by American Express,  Trafalgar and Grayline.

Shopping bus tour companies and really taking a detailed look at the tour is something I really didn’t think about before, but sounds like good advice now. Do you really want to change hotels every night and travel 2900 miles with a large group of 44 people trying to see as many sights as you can in an unreasonable amount of time?

It’s not how many hours you can spend on the bus or how many sights you can say you visited, is it? It’s a pleasant travel experience you are looking for.

Our hotels we stayed at were the Hampton Inns and Holiday Inns which are fine if you have a car, but they were not really close to anything to walk to. We only stayed in two hotels that were interesting, but we really didn’t have enough time to enjoy them and the area.

We now know more about motorcoach travel and are better prepared to research what we are looking for. Maybe taking a shorter motorcoach trip would be better next time, at least for us.

Robert Fowler

PS: If you do take a motorcoach tour, you may want to bring these items:
A pillow for your head (we bought one at Bed, Bath & Beyond)
A cushion for your back, if needed.
A small blanket or throw.  They keep it cool on the coach.
Hanging cup holder
Ear plugs
A medium size backpack to go under your seat