RETIREMENT opens up a world of opportunity for travel. Nowadays more older people than ever are jetting off to explore other parts of the world.

In 2010, 40 per cent of all long haul trips were taken by 45-64 year olds and those over 55 years old are more likely to go on a touring holiday than young backpackers.

It seems as people get older they only want to travel more. Those aged over 65 are the most prolific travellers of the 45-plus market, with 28 per cent indulging in two foreign holidays a year, compared to 19 per cent of all British holidaymakers.

But as you get older, trips abroad bring hidden costs. For people aged over 65 insurance premiums vary widely. Price comparison websites can help with advice, but costs vary greatly with each individual, particularly when existing medical conditions are taken into account.

Age UK is among a number of companies that specialise in insuring older people. "One of the main questions people ask is whether there is an upper age limit," says Sharon Jones, business development manager with Age UK's Bradford branch. "They find that they have had insurance for years with a bank or another company, and then they find that when they reach a certain age they will not insure them any more."

Age UK has no upper or lower, age limit on their policies. "We also cover for emergency medical expenses abroad and for special medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walking frames," says Sharon. "And for additional expenses such as if a customer 's carer was taken ill. If people are travelling outside the UK we ask some medical questions and depending upon the answers we will do a medical screening and ask further questions. For trips in the UK we do not need to do this."

She adds: "People do not know what will happen when they go on holiday and accidents can take place any time so it is really important to have the right cover."

Age UK has a dedicated team in Bradford committed to helping people find insurance for holidays, as well as offering a range of other services such as car and home insurance for those aged over 50.

I"We give advice to people travelling abroad so that they are fully covered," says Colin Gornall, chief executive of Age UK in Bradford. "Because we focus on older people we provide people with cover which they may not get from other companies, including those with existing health conditions. We remove the risk when they go away."He adds:"We proactively make sure that people don't go on holiday without the correct level of insurance. Some people may take the risk but if things go wrong you may lose control once costs and medical charges escalate. We want to make sure they get the correct level of support. Knowing that you have the right level of cover will ensure that travellers are relaxed, have a happy holiday and enjoy themselves."

If Age UK is unable to offer cover under their standard policies, they can refer customers to a specialist company to which they are linked, which deals with cover for more serious medical conditions.

Often, people will be offered insurance by the holiday company they are booking with, or the one featured on the website of the airline you're flying with but it is likely that more affordable alternatives will be available if you shop around. But it is also important to remember that the cheapest policies do not always offer the levels of cover that you need. Buying online can often save money, with some deals only available online.

It is also important to obtain a European Health Insurance Card ( Though no substitute for insurance, it costs nothing to obtain, entitles you to free or reduced-cost state medical treatment in many European countries, and your insurer may waive the excess on a medical claim if you use the card. And be careful not to duplicate cover - your possessions may already be covered on your home contents insurance, so you could exclude baggage from your travel insurance and cut the premium. For anyone who goes abroad more than twice a year, an annual multi-trip policy may be worth buying.