Planning a vacation is an exciting process. It’s fun to daydream about where to go and what you’ll do to stay busy on your long, lazy days. Visions of pristine beaches and colorful adult beverages dance in your head as you book your air travel and hotel room — but perhaps a dose of reality is a good idea.
The fact is that accidents and injuries do happen on vacation. You might even be more susceptible to injury on vacation, since you’ll be relaxing and will likely have your guard down. Reduced inhibitions can sometimes mean an increased risk for accidents — especially if any of those aforementioned adult beverages are involved.
Accidents do Happen
In July, two teenage girls from Indiana were injured while parasailing in Florida. The story of the disaster hit every news outlet in the country, and the girls’ ensuing hospital stays and journeys back home were well documented. While their circumstances were certainly extraordinary, their decision to go parasailing on their summer vacation wasn’t.
More and more vacationers are taking part in adventure activities and sports they likely wouldn’t be involved with in their regular lives. But with tourism companies offering ziplining adventures in Costa Rica and whitewater rafting trips in Colorado, adventure sports are becoming a typical part of the average vacationer’s itinerary.
While most such companies do their best to provide a safe experience for their patrons, many are unregulated. According to ABC News, there are “serious questions about the safeguards in place to prevent” accidents like the one that befell the two teenage parasailers in Florida. In fact, Florida legislators recently failed to pass a bill that would have put stricter regulations on adventure tourism businesses like Aquatic Adventures, owners of the boat that took the girls out for their ill-fated parasailing trip.
If you’re planning a trip, especially one where you might take part in an adventure sport or other potentially dangerous activity, it’s crucial to take steps to protect yourself. Before making a commitment to participate in any activity, ask detailed questions about the safety measures in place. For example, does a whitewater rafting company provide rafters with life vests? How often are safety checks done on that Costa Rican zip line? If you don’t get the answers you’re looking for — or even if you’re just left with an unsure feeling — that’s your indication to go elsewhere.
Also, regardless of your intended vacation destination or activities, it’s always wise to purchase travel health insurance — especially if you’re traveling overseas. Many Americans don’t realize their health insurance doesn’t cover them outside the U.S., but it’s true; most policies don’t extend beyond our country’s borders. If you should suffer any accidents or illnesses during your trip, a travel health insurance policy will keep you covered and ensure that you receive adequate health care.
Your vacation can be full of fun and memorable adventures, but it’s your responsibility to make sure you and your family stay safe. Ask the appropriate questions, carry travel health insurance and trust your instincts to avoid potentially dangerous situations. And don’t forget to have fun!