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Ultimate Guide to Vacation Hazards – Part 3: General Travel Risks

Don't let an injury ruin your summer vacation!

click here to read part 2 of this series

Many people in the United States will be traveling this summer, whether it’s a full week (or multiple weeks) vacation or a long weekend trip. Travel risks are part of the vacation experience. Transportation accidents can happen anywhere, and our practice areas section has information on dealing with many accidents that can occur while going from one place to another. Below are some additional ways to avoid vacation hazards that can happen while traveling.

Airplane Hazards

We’ve detailed travel risks and advice for dealing with airplane accidents and aviation safety in our practice areas section. Other airplane hazards are deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), and sleep disturbance, or jet lag.

DVT happens when a blood clot forms in a vein, such as in one of your legs, sometimes caused by sitting for an extended time. These clots can travel through your bloodstream and cause a life-threatening condition known as pulmonary embolism (PE).

To avoid DVT when flying, move around as often as possible during the flight, and avoid crossing your legs. Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol. While you’re sitting, do some leg exercises to keep them active. If you’re at risk for blood clots, talk to your doctor before traveling.

To avoid jet lag, try to adjust your sleep schedule to your destination before your trip. If your flight happens when you’d be asleep in your destination, try to sleep on your flight. Be sure you dress comfortably, and bring a travel pillow and sleep mask. Use earplugs or listen to a white, pink or brown noise app. You may want to take melatonin beforehand. If you’d normally be awake, avoid sleeping on your flight by drinking coffee, watching a movie or reading a book.

Once you arrive, adjust your schedule to the sun. If it’s dark when you arrive, go to sleep (see above tips). If it’s light, stay awake. Spend at least 30 minutes in the sun to release melatonin, and synchronize your body’s circadian rhythm.

Lodging Risks

When traveling away from home, and renting an Airbnb or similar lodging, read our Ultimate Guide to Airbnb Accidents.

When staying at a hotel or resort, be aware of common hazards like slip and fall accidents and negligent security. Food poisoning (and Norovirus) can also be a problem, as can bed bugs.

To avoid food poisoning, make sure meat is thoroughly cooked and hot when served. Watch for signs of poor food hygiene. Avoid buffets, which can attract bacteria. Wash your hands before eating.

Also, when you sleep at night, don’t let the bedbugs bite. To avoid bed bug bites, pack your clothes in giant sealable bags. You can also purchase plastic suitcase covers. If you’re staying in the U.S., you can check The Bedbug Registry for bed bug infestations your hotel.

Upon arrival, do a visual inspection. Bed bug droppings look like tiny ink blots. Search for bed bugs hiding in the bedsheets, pillowcases, mattress seams, and cracks and crevices in the mattresses and box springs. If you find an infested area or itchy welts on your body after staying the night, find another place to stay.

If your room seems pest-free, you should still take care. Keep foldable clothes in suitcases/plastic bags. Keep suitcases off the floor. Don’t drape clothes on the furniture. You can purchase non-toxic bed bug repellent to bring along for extra assurance. When you arrive home, wash all clothes in hot water and vacuum your luggage to prevent travel risks link bringing unwanted pests home.

Emergency Medical Services

Becoming ill or injured in another country or even state is a serious travel risk, because emergency medical services (EMS) may be hours away, unreliable, or not covered by medical insurance.

Before traveling, research available EMS systems in your destination location. Ask your medical insurance company about options for supplemental travel insurance.

Heart Attacks

Believe it or not, the single most common vacation-related cause of death for Americans is heart attacks.

While the purpose of taking a vacation is to take a break, vacation risks that create a great deal of stress include flight delays, lost luggage, reservation snafus, rental car accidents, etc. A cardiac event is one of the potential effects of stress.

The best way to avoid a heart attack or other stress-related incident while on vacation is good planning. Don’t put packing off until the last minute; get everything ready at least the day before. Also, make a packing checklist so you don’t forget anything important, like prescription medications or your cell phone. By the way, be sure to keep those items in your carry-on bag, in case your luggage is lost.

If you are on medication for existing health problems such as high blood pressure, changing time zones can interfere with your prescribed schedule; but do your best to stay on track and not skip any dosages.

Stay hydrated. Air travel can be very dehydrating, which can negatively impact your mood and general health, so keep drinking water.

Eat regularly, and try to maintain a healthy overall diet. While it’s fine to enjoy your food while on vacation, also be health care conscious. Do your best to maintain a balance of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins, and whole grains, along with rich, sugary, or high-fat foods we all often eat when traveling.

Finally, do your best to care for your mental health by maintaining a balanced perspective. Even if you’ve planned everything perfectly, life still happens. If you’re late to the airport, most airlines will work with you to reschedule your flight, even if you have to pay a small fee. Flights are delayed for many reasons, some of which are for our own safety. Lost luggage is usually located, and airlines will deliver it to you, so as long as you have your necessities in your carry-on, you’ll live.

As long as you and your family are safe, nothing is worth a cardiac event. Practice some stress management. Take some deep breaths, do what you can to resolve the situation, and think of it as an adventure – or at least, a great story to tell your friends later.

If you are injured while traveling due to someone else’s carelessness or deliberate action, you may be entitled to significant compensation.

If your injury is due to premises liability, such as an unsafe condition at a rental property, hotel, or cruise ship – or a transportation accident caused by another party, such as an airplane, train or bus accident, call TorkLaw. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced in helping victims of travel risks to recover, both physically and financially.

We hope your summer is fantastic, injury-free! TorkLaw is here for you in all seasons – 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

click here to read part 1 of this series