The Top 5 Perils of Travel

Travelling is always an exciting prospect. The idea of exploring a brand-new place many miles away is something that all of us enjoy and look forward to. However, travel abroad should always be treated with an appropriate degree of caution and preparation as there are many risks associated with travelling. Keep reading to learn about our 7 perils of travel.

Bugs, Bites and Belly

One prominent ‘peril’ of travel is what is known as bugs, bites and belly.

‘Bugs’ refers to poor accommodation standards, mainly experienced by those backpacking and trying to cut costs on where they stay. Lower standards of accommodation come with the risk of exposure to bed bugs and other potentially harmful animals.

‘Bites’ can relate to potential rabies exposure, mainly from dogs, cats and monkeys but also from any warm-blooded animals. It is especially a problem for those on safari but can affect those travelling from city to city. One underestimated risk is associated with those on bicycles where animals, dogs in particular, will frequently go for moving legs. Any bite (typically mosquitoes) can lead to horrible skin irritation and even cellulitis if not treated early and effectively. Mosquitoes can transmit more than just malaria so travellers need to be aware that if they are exposed to mosquitoes (as well as sandflies and tsetse flies) then care is always needed to avoid conditions like Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika. You can find more information on Zika and its potential harms on our website.

‘Belly’ is fairly straightforward. Many travellers want to experience the local cuisine of the country they are. More  frequently than is assumed, this can lead to bowel/belly complaints. It is important to be aware of the risk of using tap water (and ice from tap water) as well as all undercooked foods but especially shellfish, which are almost always the highest individual risk due to the shell reducing the effect of heat on the edible part. Personal hygiene before meals is imperative and eating in busy restaurants helps. Female traveller should also be aware that loose bowels may negate the absorption of the contraceptive pill.

A less recognised issue relates to those with a significant underlying allergy, nuts for example, where, in many regions, the work surfaces may not be cleaned suitably after preparing a nut related meal before preparing the next one.

Road Traffic Accidents

Not unique to any specific region, but it is vital that travellers be aware of not only the laws surrounding the roads of the country they are in, but also the norms of regular users of the road in that country.

For example, in many countries in Europe, while a pedestrian sign is green, if there is no pedestrians in sight, vehicle users may drive through the light. This can put pedestrians at significant risk of injury if they are crossing the road from areas of limited visibility.

In some regions around the world, the demarcations of the road are less structured than what we are used to here in Ireland. These roads should be navigated with an extra degree of caution to avoid potential traffic accidents. This can also be an issue when travelling through areas with free-roaming animals who can wander on to the road at a moment’s notice to the driver

Sun exposure

Something of specific concern to the fairer skinned traveller but in general to anyone travelling to a hot climate, increased exposure to the sun when abroad in comparison to in Ireland carries with it a multitude of dangers that must be protected against.

Risks range from light burn to sun stroke or even the development of melanoma due to prolonged exposure should all be considered and protected against with the adequate and frequent application of SPF products. Even with the use of sun block, travellers should avoid exposure to high temperatures over a long period of time where possible.

Water related risks

This is a risk that should be considered wherever you are travelling. A lot of fun can be had in the water. Surfing, sailing, swimming and much more. However, the water can be a very dangerous place. When travelling to more exotic locations, there can be a number of risks within the water such as sharks, crocodiles or any other predators not native to Ireland. Remember though, even in Irish waters you can be at risk.

As well as dangers posed by living things in the water, it is very good practice to make yourself familiar with the nature of the water you will be around. Tide charts are useful to educate yourself with as one rogue current can be the difference between an enjoyable day in the sea and disaster.

Lost / Delayed luggage

One thing that is out of the control of the traveller but nonetheless is an inherent risk with travel is the possibility of luggage being lost. This is often more of a risk with low budget airlines where adequate care for luggage is not taken. Anybody travelling with vital medications must be aware of the possibility of their luggage being misdirected and make whatever provisions they can to combat this risk, such as carrying any prescriptions they have with them.