Updated: Jun 30
Traveling can be a wonderful and exciting experience. It's important to understand the risks involved in travel, both domestically and internationally. Knowing what potential risks exist can help you make informed decisions and ensure that you are prepared for any situation. Understanding these risks ahead of time, you can make informed decisions to ensure your travels remain as safe and enjoyable as possible.
As we learned during "The Pause", as the travel industry calls the period travel stopped during the pandemic, illnesses are indiscriminate. Any time you are around people, there is the potential for health risks. Travel can add more variables. If you've flown recently, you've most certainly received an anti-bacterial wipe for your seat, armrest, etc. Anyone who has cruised knows the phrase "washy-washy" all too well! Before you dine, you are asked to wash your hands - even if you just did so in your room! This is true at the buffet, but cruise ships and resorts have sanitizing stations and/or sinks at many locations - and encourage their use.
Germs are not the only danger. I, who know much better, had horrible sunburn last year. Our first stop was Honduras and I forgot how strong the sun can be! I spent the majority of my cruise nursing the pain and hiding from the sun.
And remember to always stay hydrated. If you are drinking alcohol, make sure to drink water in between the alcohol. Even if you don't drink alcohol, it's very easy to dehydrate - especially when you are out of your normal routine. Always have water throughout the day. Pack a water bottle you can fill up often if you can.
When you pack, be sure to have your prescription medicines, cold and flu medicine, headache medicine, sunscreen and of course, moisturizer. A small first aid kit with bandages, antibacterial cream, etc. is always a good idea.
Depending on where you travel, there may be specific vaccinations and precautions to be aware of. It's so important to be aware of additional preventions you might need to take. As we came out of the "Great Pause", we had clients who wanted to travel but were unwilling to get the Covid vaccine that was required. While vaccination requirements, are relaxing more and more, it's important to let us know if you are not vaccinated.
Cruise lines and resorts have plenty of safety protocols and precautions in place. Many of these countries rely on tourism as their main source of income. There are "great" places to visit and "not so great" places you'd want to avoid. Sometimes, clients are surprised by the poverty they see on the way to resorts or on excursions. Without tourism, the poverty would be so much worse. I've also learned that sometimes what we consider p"overty" might be "middle class" in that country.
If you are on a cruise ship or resort, rest assured they have done all they can to protect travelers while on their ships or properties. If you take an excursion through them, those businesses have been vetted, are insured and have agreements with the resort or cruise line. That is one of the reasons, there are excursions available through them - to make sure you are as safe as possible. If you want other experiences than what if offered, ask us. We have providers we trust who can help you find the best experience for you.
Going out on your own can increase your risks, so it is important to be aware. Walking up to the local taxi stand and asking someone to give you a "guided tour" or take you to the local beach can be okay - IF you are an experienced traveler and know what to look for. Going to a local beach on your own can be fine, IF you have done your research. Is the beach safe for swimming? Are there strong currents? There are many factors to consider and it's so important to stay safe.
Recently, a man from Mississippi died in Roatan. He was on a cruise but, not on an excursion. He and his family were on the beach, and he dove off a high structure into what turned out to be shallow water. His family watched as people who knew CPR tried to resuscitate him to no avail. This family suffered the worst of tragedies on what should have been an amazing vacation together. Nothing will ever be the same. (Learning about this event from a fellow travel agent on that cruise ship affected me greatly and is part of why you are reading this blogpost.)
When we assist you with travel plans, we will talk about travel insurance. We make a small commission if you purchase the policy but that has nothing to do with the conversation. We are here to help you make memories - wonderful, amazing memories that will stay with you for years to come.
Most of the conversations are around things like trip cancellation, delays or lost luggage. All of these are important but there is so much more. We have not had a client who had a serious illness or needed to be evacuated - yet. We've been on enough cruises to know it happens to someone almost every cruise. We've never had a client die while traveling but, as in the case above, it can happen.
We have the conversation because if something should happen and you need serious medical attent
ion and need to be evacuated, we want you to have coverage. The last thing that should happen at a time like that is for you to have to give out a credit card or for you family to figure out how to pay for the medical services you need. Yes, your medical insurance could and should cover illnesses but, most don't cover evacuation or have a deductible you have to meet.
If you have preexisting conditions, it's important to let us know right away. This will impact the product and how quickly you may need to purchase insurance to cover that condition too.
Most of us plan our vacation to the smallest detail. We think about the budget, the resort or cruise ship and what if offers, the location we are going to, the clothes we'll wear and the food we'll eat and what we'll drink. We worry about if the weather will be good, if we'll be entertained or if the kids will be content.
We assume we will be safe and everyone in the travel industry will do all we can to keep you safe. However, there are decisions you make that can either mitigate or increase your risks - not only as you travel but every day of your life.
Think about those decisions and be sure to talk to us and ask questions!