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Nevada sunset by Brandon, Flickr, 2015Photo by Brandon licensed under CC

A benefit of older age is having more time and freedom, allowing you to take a trip down memory lane by visiting your country of origin to see family and friends.

An emotional decision

Making the decision to take a trip back to your homeland can be an emotional one, especially if you haven’t been back to your country of origin for a long time. As things change, many factors must be considered to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant holiday experience.

The first thing you should do when considering such a holiday is contact the Country of Origin information service at the Home Office. They can provide you with accurate, objective and up-to-date information on what is presently happening in the country. You can also check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) website for its travel notices.

You will need to make sure your passport is valid for travel - if not you will have to renew your passport - and that you have the appropriate visas for entry, if your country of origin is not in the European Union. It is best to contact their embassy to find out what is required for a visa.

Health considerations

As a return to your homeland holiday is usually more than just a 2 week trip, it’s vital that you make sure that you are fit and healthy enough to travel.

If you are on any medication or require any assistance day-to-day you will need to make sure that your doctor, as well as any health and social services are aware that you plan to travel abroad to make sure you’ll have the same level of care while there.

  • Find out what health and social care is available
  • Ensure you fulfil local requirements to be entitled to services, such as registering or obtaining residency rights
  • Take out travel insurance to cover the costs of any medical expenses and possible cancelation charges
  • Make sure you have had all the necessary vaccines for travel

Securing your home before you travel

You should ensure your home is secure if you are away for a long time. Think about:

  • alarms to secure your property
  • leaving a light on to fool burglars
  • unanswered phone for several days will alert people to your home
  • removing high-value goods from view
  • turning off the water supply
  • ensuring all electronics are switched off
  • important documents are stored safely
  • asking a neighbour or friend to maintain your garden
  • emergency keys are left with someone you trust
  • post and packages are signed for and looked after by neighbour or friend

While abroad it is best to purchase an international phone card to make calls back to the UK and in and around your area cheaper, if you do not have a mobile phone.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174