Travel Distasters, Vacation Nightmares

October 14, 2011

travel disasters abroad

Oh my God! Can you protect yourself from every possible travel disaster? Will these rare but catastrophic scenarios that most travelers so fear and worry about ruin your holiday, vacation or around the world trip? More than 67 million Americans spent $1.3 billion on travel insurance in 2006 according to Travel and Leisure's post World's Worst Travel Disasters.

Police and fire truck sirens and helicopter tumultuous sounds ( just feet above our heads), smoke and flames  assaulted our senses, putting us on high alert as a huge fire broke out just yards away from us at our Barcelona resort on Labor Day Weekend.

Yes, it was very frightening and high drama for a few hours, BUT as a world traveling family (non-stop for 6 years to 42 countries on 5 continents on $23/day), I can tell you that most travel fears are false as 99.99999% of our travels are free of disasters. We quickly packed up to leave, but did not end up even evacuating and now like most disasters, it makes a great travel story that we will not forget.

helicopter travel disaster fire

It doesn't mean you will never have a travel disaster, because yes, these rare emergencies and natural disasters can even happen at home, but DO know that they are rare and you can handle anything. I've lived through hurricane, big earthquakes, tornado, fire, floods, snow storms, hospitalizatioins without ever leaving home.

Most of our travel is blissful, but we have had a few travel disasters along the way to keep us on our toes. Perhaps our worst travel disaster was when I broke my arm riding my bike on the Danube and landing in a foreign hospital via ambulance needing surgery and hardly anyone spoke English. The broken bone cut a major nerve and paralyzed my right dominant arm for over a year with that which probably would have stopped most, but didn't stop us or our pursuit of travel health, although it did slow us down and I learned to blog one handed with my left hand.

We had a car wreck while traveling Europe and it took us over a year to deal with the insurance issues. Sadly, we have had to mourn while traveling dealing with death on the road of  loved ones  twice is no easy task. I also almost bled to death in Vienna.

We've had dental emergenices abroad but have been very pleased with our health care abroad. Our child has had only one minor travel emergency abroad, and almost never even gets a cold, not bad for 6 years of constant world travel from five to eleven years old! I must admit I had fears of bringing a 6 year old to Morocco, but we are really glad that we did.

Yes, with long term travel, one will probably run into some crazy travel challenges, but for the most part the fear of the unknown is always the biggest challenge and the reality is always easier than the fear.  Here are some good tips to avoid travel disasters. Have you had any travel disasters or challenges? How did you handle them?

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In September I busted my chin in a bike crash while on vacation to an island. But we decide the scar is my souvenir. Lol. One day it will make a good story.

You can't let disasters keep you paralyzed in fear. I've known westerners die here (one at our school died yesterday), but I've had several good friends die in the states as well.

jeanne @soultravelers3

Sorry to hear about that Marlana, but I love your attitude. One certainly can not let fear run you and often we fear things that never come true.

What I have found that it is really not fun being sick or injured ANY where, but these things can be handled any where, but most of the time one doesn't have to worry about them.

Azeem Ahmed @ Travel Tamed

Disaster is something which doesn't come by giving the news in advance. Travel itself is an adventure and an adventure is something you can't predict where it will take you. We can only care about our safety but if disaster strikes and it has taken you as prey, then you have to live up to it and face the challenge as it comes.

"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -Omar Bradley

D Murphy

Wow, your broken arm scenario sounds pretty scary! Some great tips though:)

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