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(By Stephanie Valera via Weather) |
Seeing Paris from the Eiffel Tower or lounging at the beach in Phuket, Thailand are trips of a lifetime, but sometimes you just need to kick your vacation up a notch. From paragliding with vultures to cage diving with great white sharks, these adventure travel experiences are worthy of anyone's bucket list — if you're looking for some heart-stopping fun.
Adventure travel and all its adrenalin-pumping thrills, however, do come with risks, so it's important to be prepared before embarking on a trip that involves "extreme" activities, such as mountain climbing, ziplining or rafting. Because this type of tourism also often involves travel to remote locations, additional adventure travel risks also include the lack of quick emergency response if injured, poor trauma care, and unexpected weather changes that can make safety challenging and rescue efforts more difficult, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
To fully enjoy an adventure trip, travelers should first develop their skills, according to Jeremy Loeckler, founder of TourMatters, a website dedicated to helping travelers research tour operators and their itineraries. "The person most responsible for your safety is yourself," Loeckler said. "Study your activity extensively and try beginner-level versions close to home. An amateur with a false-sense of bravado is by far the most dangerous factor on an adventure tour."
Experts also recommend checking up on the outfitters. Loeckler recommends going with an outfitter with at least 10 years of experience. "A company that operates in an unsafe manner can only roll the dice so long before having an incident," he said. "Mature operators evolved their programs over the years to respond to safety issues."
And travel insurance? Experts believe it's a must. Before you decide to go on an adventure or extreme tour, always consider purchasing travel insurance. "The health insurance you have may not necessarily extend to another country, or the hospitals and emergency providers in those countries may not accept it," Joe Cortez, Travel Insurance and Safety Expert at About.com, said. "By purchasing a travel insurance plan, you can make sure you're covered in the worst-case scenario."
But not all travel insurance policies are the same. "If you do purchase a travel insurance plan, make sure that it covers all of your planned activities," Cortez advised. "Most travel insurance plans cover recreational sports, like golf. But for those who are looking for a little more (like running with the bulls, zip lining, or mountain climbing), a standard travel insurance plan may not cover an injury from your preferred activity. Make sure your travel insurance plan covers hazardous activities, or offers a hazardous activities rider."
1. Enter the Cage of Death in Australia (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Former Australian cricketer Nathan Bracken and coach Mike Young stand in the 'Cage of Death' in the crocodile enclosure at Crocosaurus Cove theme park in Darwin, Australia on August 31, 2008. The attraction drops thrill-seekers into a crocodile's lair.