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Lion in high grass with safari vehicle in background – Masai Mara, Kenya
Feb 28, 2018

How can I plan a travel experience without sacrificing health and safety?

A noticeable shift has occurred in how accomplished individuals today are spending their money on leisure activities; the extravagant vacations of previous generations, it seems, are no longer appealing.

Rather, high net worth individuals and families are being drawn toward the concept of an enriching trip to a unique location or participation in a once-in-a-lifetime experience they’ve always dreamed of. Wealth these days means more than the accrual of assets; it’s about adding meaning to life.

But having a meaningful trip with inspiring experiences adds a layer of complexity to the planning process, making preventive measures essential. The goal is to ensure that details fall into place and that a rapid and thorough response is available should a mishap occur. 

So, where are accomplished individuals going? What kinds of experiences are they choosing? And why is careful planning critical?

For one, baby boomers comprise a large portion of the demographic, and they’re attracted to having a fulfilling retirement with an element of adventure. Rather than cruising around Alaska, they’d rather explore the state’s mountain peaks and hike its snowy glaciers. While sailing and yachting remain popular for travelers of all ages, nowadays those travelers can also rent a submarine to explore the undersea world.

And, in order to foster global consciousness, a family’s African safari trip just might include a human connection component for their children, having them volunteer with local communities.

Still, as good as they sound, these incredible opportunities can be risky and require meticulous planning. There are important actions to take beforehand.

Do your research.
Assess both your destination’s conditions and your own physical health. The more exciting a trip sounds, the more you must evaluate your preparedness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes the “three P’s” of safe and healthy travel: “Be proactive, prepared and protected.” This means visiting your doctor before booking to make sure you’re in good health and physical condition and that you receive any required and recommended inoculations.

Go ahead then: Embrace the appeal of an exotic site, but recognize that there are critical details you must be aware of. Be sensible about food and water consumption, wear appropriate gear, use insect repellant and know which animals to avoid.

Reduce exposures by ensuring you have adequate insurance protection.
Meet beforehand with your insurance broker to arrange for protection against any setbacks. For many, the peace of mind that travel insurance offers is worth its weight in gold. If you’re leaving the country, it’s especially important to verify with your broker that your liability coverage is worldwide. The last thing you want is for your dream trip to turn into a nightmare. But the reality can also include smaller issues: You could hit a snag and without proper protection find that even a minor problem becomes significant.

A good plan will provide extensive coverage, including specifics you might not consider or be capable of handling should a mishap occur. Consider the possibility, for instance, of an “express kidnapping,” where a supposed “taxi driver” forces you to retrieve money from an ATM. In that scenario, a policy’s kidnap and ransom insurance will recover your losses. Or, if you experience a serious illness or injury, the right travel insurance will coordinate a medical evacuation to get you to the best facility available—while sparing you an exorbitant personal expense.

While you can’t predict devastating events like terrorist attacks, natural disasters or cyber theft, an insurance coverage-and-risk analysis will enable you to monitor the conditions and advise on how to respond to a crisis.

Once that’s done, bon voyage! By all means, keep your eye on the prize and seek a thrilling, memorable and perhaps philanthropic experience. Just don’t lose sight of the planning and protection you need against large and small exposures. The stakes are high, and the last thing you want is to put anything in jeopardy. 

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