It’s hard to conclusively say that more travelers are actively seeking dangerous vacation experiences, but it is certain that there are a growing number of purveyors willing to put together a little organized danger on your trip, whether it be bungee jumping, or skydiving, or riding an elephant.
Seeking out a vacation with a twist of danger is nothing new. After all, tourists have been flocking to Pamplona, Spain to run with the bulls for hundreds of years.
Recently, XCOR Aerospace and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic have begun selling seats on future sub-orbital space flights while Virgin Oceanic (also of the Branson Virgin Group of companies) has been working on deep sea submarines that will take humans to never-before-explored depths of the ocean.
As part of the “you’re only here once” mantra that makes tourists do things they wouldn’t normally do, there are a number of currently available activities that can cause trouble for travelers.
Tourists now have access to many sports like parasailing and cage-diving, which attract thousands of tourists every year.
Paragliding over the ocean in a safety harness while being pulled by a powerboat is referred to as ‘parasailing,’ and according to the Parasail Safety Council, which tracks injuries and deaths nationwide, more than 70 people have been killed and at least 1,600 injured between 1982 and 2012 out of an estimated 150 million parasail rides.
Unlike other adventure sports like hang gliding, which have a measure of regulatory and safety equipment oversight, commercial parasailing does not. The lack of regulations, however, doesn’t stop people from starting up parasailing companies and it certainly hasn’t stopped people from wanting to take a ride.
A sunny day at the beach isn’t so benign everywhere you go. In fact there are a number of beaches around the world that are known for high fatality rates and serious injuries, including (but not limited to):
Many travelers are now combining their vacation time with annual fitness events, and all around the globe there are physical fitness events you can work into your vacation, including (but not limited to):
Of course, fearless fitness travelers don’t have to wait for an organized event to get their heart thumping – the most dangerous roads, climbs, and trails are available all year long.
While the ethics of disaster tourism, the act of purposely traveling to view the site of a disaster as a matter of curiosity, are still debated in some circles, there are many tour companies willing to take travelers where they can view the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters and even get a bite to eat. Here are a just a few:
Of course, a traveler can always get the first-hand look by volunteering at the site of a disaster too.
So, what’s the risk you say? Well, plenty from the point of your travel insurance.
In addition, there are just some things that travel insurance will never, ever cover.
Not for a single minute are we trying to rain on your vacation parade or tell you that your travel insurance won’t cover it, so you can’t do it. What you do need to do is spend a little time thinking about the activities you want to do on your trip and understanding what your travel insurance plan will cover if something happens.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.