Nobody wakes up on a Tuesday and says, “You know, I think I am going to go sky diving today.” At least not the average Joe.
But to vacationers far and wide, traveling to an exciting place often means trying something new and thrilling.
However, sometimes, common sense and logic is too quickly abandoned and that “anything goes” attitude puts travelers in a situation that compromises their safety, or even worse, their lives.
Conquering The World
You know how you’d have to lean way over the railing to capture the full depth of the canyon below, or how you might feel confident petting a wild animal because he looks so cute?
Well, both are prime examples of not very smart things people will (and do) attempt when visiting a foreign land.
As Tim Daniel, the Senior Advisor for Innovation and Business Strategy at travel-security firm International SOS says, “What generally gets people in trouble is overestimating their abilities and underestimating their risk.”
Haven’t we all done this a few times? We gaze up at a mountain and think we’ve got the hike in the bag.
Never mind the fact we haven’t used the stair climber in like five years! You get a third of the way up and wonder what the heck you were thinking!
Tim Daniel describes this phenomenon as “cognitive bias”. This skewed sense of ability and logic is why an average traveler will book their hotel in a safe part of town—then get in an unmarked car with a total stranger who says they’ll give them a tour of the city for a good price.
Um, can you say stranger-danger?
Feeling In The Moment
As the chief operating officer at the medical evacuation company Medjet Assistant, John Gobbels has surely seen some pretty extreme cases of things gone awry. He tells the Wall Street Journal:
“A lot of times people get caught up in the moment. That’s why you travel, right? You want to experience things and have those experiences.”
It’s easy to feed off the adrenaline of a bunch of vacationers who just got off the human slingshot and say it’s the most awesome thing they’ve ever experienced.
Cognitive bias can also make people feel overly confident in things they assume to be true.
But this can prove dangerous in situations where they are misinformed or not prepared—for example, that all monkeys are cute, friendly, and from a Disney movie. They are not.
Tourists love to try and pose with wild monkeys in exotic regions of the world. But the Wall Street Journal reports that the American International Group has received several claims where a traveler has been bitten or attacked by a monkey.
Please take this to heart—no matter how cute or close the monkey is, don’t try to approach it, pose with it, or share your lunch with it.
You’ve heard the phrase about the bark is worse than the bite? Well, that doesn’t apply to monkeys.
Forgetting To Think It Through
A couple of other factors have also upped the ante when it comes to thrilling vacations. According to insurance officials, social media has been a game changer.
In the world of social media, normal and sensible is simply not entertaining. The bar is set high (and is rising) when it comes to what is considered “post worthy.”
People are attempting more and more extreme activities and putting themselves in incredibly dangerous situations just so they can post it on social media. Who knows, their latest feat may even go viral!
But death by selfies is a thing, though a recent one for sure. You know—the people who take a selfie while they dangle from a cliff by one toe or pose in the arms of a bear, all so they can wow the online world.
Yes, a snapshot of you and your significant other hanging upside-down over the Grand Canyon would make a thrilling profile picture, but it could also become the cover of your own funeral program. That doesn’t sound like much fun.
So use common sense in regards to when, where, and how you take a selfie. And who or what you take it with. Be aware of your surroundings. And don’t put your arm around a wild animal.
Another factor in the rise of extreme vacations is what’s known as the “bleasure” or “bleisure”—a business trip mixed with a bit of pleasure/leisure. Get it? “Bleisure.”
If you have an all-expenses paid business trip in one of the hottest cities in the world, you are going to want take advantage of it.
However, the problem comes when you’ve had six appletinis, then head back to the hotel in the company rental car. It doesn’t matter that you’re on business and drinking “appletinis”—those suckers still have alcohol in them!
And according to the travel-insurance division of American International Group, “renting and using potentially dangerous vehicles without proper instruction” is the number one cause of injury to travelers.
So this plays into several aspects of risk. First, you are overly confident in your driving abilities while under the influence, you are driving a vehicle you are unfamiliar with—in an area that you are unfamiliar with. Talk about hitting the risk jackpot!
Another high-risk when on “bleasure” is rushing to participate in an extreme activity because there’s a limited amount of time until the fun ends and the business begins.
This causes people to make haste and unwise decisions based on emotion rather than logic and reason—much the way liberals like to exercise their First Amendment rights. Emotion is life.
Know The Risks
According to the American International Group, the most common causes of accidents and injuries away from home are:
* Renting and using vehicles such as mopeds, Segways, jet skis or scooters without proper instructions.
* Drinking alcohol: Falls cause numerous injuries, and poor judgement in any situation can lead to an accident.
* Going beyond physical limits: If your knee hurts while walking the dog, it will hurt even more on when you attempt to cover Paris in one day.
Of course, trying something new and seeking a good thrill is expected when you’re on vacation.
Just make sure you’ve weighed the benefits against the risks before jumping into (or off of) something. Planning ahead and making an informed decision will ensure you have an awesome experience, and a safe one.
And hey, if unabandoned spontaneity is your cup of tea, then great—just stay clear of cliffs, motorsports, and monkeys.
(h/t Proud American Traveler)