Do you cringe at the thought of travelling to foreign climes, shudder at the mention of vaccinations and shy away from new cultural encounters? The chances are that if you’re reading this, and therefore interested in travel at some level, the answer will be ‘no, bring it on’. But would you carry out a risk assessment of a trip before you go?
A recent survey found that forty-somethings are more likely to take risks on holiday that wouldn’t cross their minds at home, including riding a moped without a helmet, taking drugs and swimming while drunk. The research stated that the average holiday injury or illness costs £445 in medical treatments, extra nights in a hotel or even rebooked flights.
The World Health Organisation identifies the following key factors in determining the risks to which a traveller may be exposed:
- mode of transport
- duration and season of travel
- purpose of travel
- standards of accommodation, food hygiene and sanitation
- behaviour of the traveller
- underlying health of the traveller
Their travel related risks advisory states that “understanding the purpose of the visit and the type of travel planned is critical in relation to the associated travel health risks. However, behaviour also plays an important role; for example, going outdoors in the evenings in a malaria-endemic area without taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites may result in the traveller becoming infected with malaria.”
In other words, do some research, plan your trip and engage the same common sense you’d employ whilst at home!
Equally, don’t let perceived risks deter you. From education to expanding our awareness and changing down a gear, broadened horizons and a fresh take on life await those who travel. We can break habits, reduce stress, try new experiences and ‘find ourselves’ through globetrotting.
There really is nothing like the real deal when it comes to seeing the world! Where are you heading next?