Adventure travel is becoming more popular than ever before. Thrill-seeking travelers journey to remote locations to explore and take part in adventurous activities. Some of these may include base jumping, wing suit flying, bungee jumping, fun activities at a high ropes course, hiking and mountain climbing in remote areas, zip lining, extreme scuba diving, getting up close with wild animals and marine life.
As fun and exciting as these activities sound, as with any type of activity, comes added risks when traveling internationally. If you become ill or injured in a remote location you could face a challenge finding the high quality of health care you may be accustomed to. If you’re in a remote location, it may be impossible to travel by land to the nearest medical facility if you become injured. You may need the assistance of an air medical transport service. If there are no airports or landing strips where you are, you may need to be evacuated out of the location using an air ambulance helicopter.
As an adventure traveler, several things you can do will prepare you for the likelihood of a medical emergency prior to leaving on your trip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends that you visit your doctor several weeks in advance of your departure. Discuss with your doctor where you are planning to travel, your planned activities and whether you will need any vaccinations.
Another very important thing is to call your health insurance provider to see if you are covered in case you need an air evacuation. Some policies may not cover this type of transport, and if you have to pay for an air medical flight back home yourself, it could cost you thousands of dollars. If you find you’re not covered by your insurance, you can also look into trip or travel insurance for this benefit. You can do an online search to find reputable companies offering this and call and ask for the details. Some companies let you purchase a short-term policy for your trip and some have annual plans to sign-up for more frequent travelers.
If you find out your current health insurance provider does offer air medical evacuation service as part of their policy, it would be wise to research and find the names of several air ambulance companies that have the capability to fly internationally. You can read some more information about obtaining traveling insurance and air medical evacuation services . Check online, or ask people you know for a reference. You want to try and find a company that owns their planes. These types of companies operate and fly their own equipment. A type of service that can easily be mistaken for an air ambulance company is the air ambulance broker. Brokers don’t fly their own planes, they contract with companies that do and charge a fees. This can increase the cost of the transport. Always ask if they own, maintain and fly their own planes.
Websites for the two types of companies often appear the same, so that’s why it’s important to ask for clarification. If you don’t have the names of a few trustworthy companies before your trip and you find yourself traveling abroad, needing an air evacuation, you can check with your local embassy in the country you’re visiting. They should have a list of reputable companies, but it’s always best to do your homework prior to your trip. Taking the time to do these things could save your life.