My son spent a few weeks in Southeast Asia this summer working at a place few Westerners would recognize as a hospital. I would characterize the conditions there as ‘spartan meets battle-front.’ One of the events that stuck with him was when a European tourist was brought through their doors with severe orthopedic injuries suffered as a result of a car accident. Lacking advanced equipment, there was no way this hospital was going to be able to properly address his injuries. “If you don’t have international medevac insurance” my son told me later, “you are taking a huge risk traveling to less developed countries.” (Of course he’s not worried about me flying across the world- see multiple posts on my fear of flying 😳 he was just making a general statement..in case I book a world cruise maybe? 👍)
With his advice still fresh in mind, I read an article in the WSJ this morning about how “regular folks” have a habit of suddenly seeing themselves as adventurers when they travel. While illnesses are still the number one issue that can crop up to ruin a trip (everything from heart attacks to stomach upset) accidents are assuming a larger role as people seek to step up their vaca-game: jet ski injuries, falling down hiking trails, double-dare dives off cliffs, ankles wrenched on cobblestone paths…you name it. Highest on the list are transportation injuries including segways, mopeds and scooters.
Experts advise travelers to be cautious attempting new athletic adventures while drinking alcohol, dealing with jet-lag or hang-overs, and to be especially vigilant while taking selfies as more and more people are backing themselves off boats, sidewalks and balconies trying to get that perfect instagram shot. And if you find yourself in a country where driving poses a risk, hiring a local driver may only cost a bit more, and be much safer, than renting your own car. Above all, remember… simply arriving in Costa Rica doesn’t automatically transform you into Indiana Jones.
Have fun and play it safe!