The appeal of your upcoming trip is that there’s nothing ordinary about it. Whether you’re embarking on a safari in Tanzania, heli-skiing in Canada, or polar bear spotting in Norway, there are many critical details involved in planning and, the process needs to begin earlier than it would for conventional experiential travel.
Be fully prepared and be sure you can answer these four critical high-risk travel questions to ensure you have a positive adventure:
1) What is the pertinent health and safety information relevant to my trip?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a Travel Survival Guide page that emphasizes “Three P’s” – be proactive, prepared, and protected. Scheduling a pre-travel appointment with your primary care provider should be your first health-related step. The timing of this is dependent upon the type of trip and where it’s located in the world, because certain countries require and recommend different vaccines.
Prepare for your appointment with your medical history and questions about your current condition and the impact of your destination. Consider physical limitations for demanding excursions, food and water safety tips, avoiding bug bites that can spread diseases, proper hand washing, and refraining from touching certain animals.
2) What kind of risks should I be aware of?
Be aware of deficits the location you are heading to has. A shortage of nearby or adequate hospitals, a lack of quick emergency response services, or challenging weather climates can present a host of urgent healthcare response risks.
3) Which types of travel insurance do I need?
- Travel Medical Insurance. It’s unlikely your current insurance coverage will protect you when you leave your home country. This type of insurance covers emergency medical and evacuation costs you could incur from an illness or accident. If you’re in a remote location, emergency transportation in the form of an ambulance or air lift would be covered. Without insurance, you might need to pay out of pocket – and with cash. A travel medical insurance plan could also include Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) and/or term life benefits.
- Kidnap, Ransom, and Extortion Insurance. Don’t dismiss the perils of kidnap, extortion, and wrongful detention incidents, along with the frequency at which they occur. Each year, there are about 15,000 such incidents around the globe and the ransom payments are a lucrative business for kidnappers. If a crisis occurs, providers will work on your behalf to communicate, negotiate, and assist with medical and emergency travel services.
4) What do I need to know about renting a car while abroad?
Renting a car can give you autonomy in an area that might have limited public transportation. But make sure you’re aware beforehand of potential challenges in another country:
- Make sure you’re allowed to drive
- Make sure you’re covered
- Make sure you’re comfortable driving in unfamiliar circumstances
- Make sure you know the driving rules
There’s no reason why you can’t have the authentic experience you desire, but understand that experiential travel consisting of a challenging adventure assumes an element of danger. The key to making it a successful one is thoughtful planning to ensure you’re as safe and protected as possible.