How to avoid (most) travel mishaps

Do you know the most common travel mishaps and how to avoid them?
It was so windy when I perched on this rock outside of Rio, Brazil. The older I get, the more I don’t think these Instagram shots are worth it.

How far do you take your travel prep? Some women I know buy new outfits for every trip, but I only do that when I’m in desperate need of a bathing suit without a sagging bum. My prep is pretty superficial. Essentially, I touch up my highlights and get waxed within an inch of my life. When on outdoor adventure trips, like to Jordan and Brazil this past year, I’ll shell out for gear, like a new backpack camera bag or extra hard iPhone case, because you know I’m always dropping it.

My travel prep is about making things easier when I hit the ground running and being in tip top condition, so I don’t have to hunt down some random aesthetician. The more I travel though, the more I see what can and does go array – and not in the frizzy hair department. Here’s a look at the most common travel mishaps and how you can avoid them.

Avoiding travel mishaps:

The reality is, anything can happen at anytime, anywhere, no matter your age or location. Even something as simple as a cobblestone street can become a hazard if you don’t know how to handle them in heels. (Score one for Megan Markle in Ireland!) So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to travel medical mishaps, slips and falls are the most common.

What is it with me and ledges in foreign countries?

Imagine how embarrassing it would be to have to rejig your trip because you rolled your ankle inside a goat pen in Northern Newfoundland, whilst trying to snap the perfect IG shot. No? I suppose I’m alone on that one. I can attest from personal experience, nothing kills a trip faster than a boring, undramatic injury. 

Travel medical insurance

According to Allianz Global Assistance Canada, the most common types of injuries younger travellers face aren’t necessarily due to engaging in riskier activities. They fall prey to slips and falls, too! Think: slippery surfaces on boats! Yeah, I know a slip sounds like no big deal, but whenever something happens abroad, it automatically becomes a much bigger deal – especially if you don’t have medical insurance. It’s not just the cost of getting care, it’s about getting to the RIGHT hospital for treatment and if necessary, getting home.

travel mishaps
But what if that was an ice ball?

There’s also a ton of travel injuries related to scooter and moped accidents. It’s totally fun when you’re in the Caribbean, South America or Southeast Asia to rent a scooter and tour around on your own. Trouble is (as I found out in Thailand), when you’re not familiar with how to drive or ride on one, accidents are more likely to occur. In my case, I got a nasty burn on my leg after getting too close to the exhaust. Fortunately I wasn’t hospitalized, but I still had to trot myself to a doctor to deal with the burn.

crickets at the night market
Crickets and other bugs are always served up on Khao San Road in Bangkok.

The next most common travel medical issue are infections and fevers. These often come about with changes in climate and when you’re sharing common spaces – like airports and hotels. Then there’s food poisoning, which isn’t at all uncommon when you’re into culinary browsing as I am.

Of course, there’s also medical issues like appendicitis and bladder infections. The risk of getting those don’t change whether you’re old or young, in the country or not. But when you’re not at home, dealing with them can be a nightmare and potentially life threatening.

wearing a snake in Thailand
What was I thinking?

Fortunately, I’ve learned that travel insurance is divided into emergency medical and non-medical benefits,.

Trip cancellation and non-medical insurance

According to Allianz Global Assistance, non-medical travel insurance covers things like trip cancellation. Maybe you can’t continue your trip because a family member back home becomes ill or something happened to you just hours before beginning your trip. Click here to learn more 

What affects most of us though are travel delays. Sadly, many airlines won’t put you up in a hotel if it’s a weather delay. (But I’ve learned that many non-medical travel insurance policies may!) Whether it’s weather or a mechanical failure, it’s not uncommon to miss part of your trip or have to overnight in an airport hotel (snag that quickly before it gets booked out)..

International travel insurance

Bottom line: he Canadian government recommends some form of travel insurance be arranged whenever travelling to the U.S. or internationally. If you haven’t check out the government’s travel advice and advisories page, you really should.

Anyway, there’s loads of different options out there for travel insurance. Go ahead and call a customer service rep to get the 411 on the fine print. Let them know the specifics of your trip to ensure you have the coverage that is suited to your needs. You don’t want any surprises should you have to submit a claim. And you certainly don’t want to have to start a GoFundMe campaign. Trust.

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Disclaimer: I’m a brand ambassador for Allianz Global Assistance (Canada) and receive financial compensation for these blog posts. As always, my opinions are my own.

About The Author

19 thoughts on “How to avoid (most) travel mishaps”

  1. Thanks Jody – packing for a trip now and you reminded me to book a pedicure, LOL! Also, was at chiro yesterday and pleased to see they have a copy of your book in the waiting area (The ONLY book, too! Score!)

  2. Harvey (H-Bomb's Worldwide Karaoke)

    Frequent travellers should know that you can get travel insurance on an annual basis, which covers all your travels for a year and is a far better value than procuring separate coverage for each trip. And an additional benefit of travel insurance on the medical side is that the larger insurance companies will help you find a doctor or pharmacy in another country if the need arises.

  3. Punita Malhotra

    One can never be careless while travelling, specially to other countries where familiarity is lower. You made some good points here. Food poisoning can be the worst dampener on a trip.

  4. I always have travel insurance when I am traveling. You just never know what could go wrong. However, I did a trip to Belarus recently and had worldwide travel insurance on me (valid in EVERY country as I am from the UK). However it wasn’t valid there and was made to pay 6USD (like all the other visitors to the country) to buy their insurance. sigh. Belarus…not part of the world 😛

  5. Avoiding injury in a foreign is definitely top of my list ???????? Travel insurance is a MUST, for sure. I love all your pictures so close to the edge ???? and so sorry about your nasty burn in Thailand!

  6. I’ve never gone without travel insurance, but have also been lucky to never need it (touch wood). I’m not one for climbing up mountains and taking insta pics on the edge of things, so limit my risk in that sense. Great reminders for getting insurance for sure!

  7. I can’t remember the time being without travel insurance. I travel and film so I usually pay a lot for my insurance. I also love doing activities like scuba diving and skiing, that is why I have to get the expensive ones. But it is worth to have insurance. Once I lost my luggage with everything inside and the insurance company paid the money back to me.

    1. Having that comprehensive insurance that covers issues like baggage and flight delays is the best!

  8. I haven’t done any international travel in a long time. Foolishly, I never got insurance when I did. All my travel these days is US based but if I went overseas, I’d definitely make sure I had medical coverage.

  9. Melody pittman

    I’ve learned the hard way about not having flight insurance so that one is a must for me. Travel insurance in general is the way to go. Did you know you can give an annual subscription as a gift, say through Allianz? Fabulous gift idea. Thanks for the awesome list.

    1. That is a great tip. I’ve done it for roadside assistance, but never for travel insurance. Thanks!

  10. Mei and Kerstin

    We agree with you it’s always safer to travel with insurance! Because you just never know hat might happen! Although ever since we have a major credit card that is also a miles and more card which covers all trips and flights payed with that card, we don’t need to buy another insurance anymore. It’s really convenient!

    1. I had insurance through my credit card too, but it was only valid for 2 weeks. If you travel longer it doesn’t cover you. Yours could be different though.

  11. Nicole Garaham

    Hi, Very Good Article. I really appreciate it. Well researched article. Now you got one regular visitor to your website for new topics. Keep up the Good Work Thanks for always sharing. Nicole Graham

  12. I never use to buy travel insurance. But now that I am traveling more and more and often have the kiddies with me, it has become mandatory. It just gives that extra peace of mind.

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