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Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest in 1963, once said: “If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”

Yeah, I don’t get that.

Travel Insurance: not just for the “adventurous”

I may be a traveller, but I’m no Adventuress: in fact, on the spectrum where adrenaline junkies are on one end and clucking chickens are on the other, I’m definitely on the poultry side. Scuba diving? No way – there’s scary stuff underwater! Amazing Race? Not for me – too many bugs and other gross things to eat.

So when I see some of my grownup peers thinking of bungee jumping, skydiving, feeding sharks, or rock climbing for the first time while on vacation, all I’m thinking is, “I hope you have good travel insurance.”

Original photo ©Joi Ito/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-2.0

Original photo ©Joi Ito/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-2.0

The kind of things I like to do when I travel are normal, fun things, not the kind of crazy nonsense that could land you in a body cast. Which got me to thinking….

My kind of travel can still be dangerous

I’ll never forget clambering 10 stories up to the top of the pyramid of Chichen Iza, on vertical steps too narrow to even fit my size nine foot, to be rewarded with a panoramic view across the incredible ruins with the Mexican jungle all around.

Or just this year in Myanmar, arriving in the pre-dawn dark to climb a brick pagoda in Bagan – barefoot – to watch the sun rise over the silhouettes of 2,000 temples as they emerged from the morning haze.

And nothing can really compare to the feeling of flying through the treetops, ziplining from platform to platform through giant trees in Costa Rica’s Monte Verde cloud forest – unless it was last year when I got up close and personal with the Amazonian rainforest by walking through the canopy on a somewhat suspect 200-foot high suspended plank.

Talk about feeling like Tarzan’s Jane.

Just ‘getting around’ warrants travel insurance

Even when I’m not swinging from trees, I’ve certainly never been one to limit my transportation options to planes, trains and automobiles. If there’s the chance to hop on the back of a motorcycle and really see the Amalfi coast’s winding cliffs, or gallop into the wide open expanse of the Sahara on an Arabian stallion, I’m there. I’ll happily give an elephant a river bath in exchange for a view from the top of her head. That is my kind of trail ride.

And what’s more fun on a winter getaway to the Dominican than getting a bird’s eye view of the beach while dangling from a glorified kite?

My only request to the operator on the boat was to send me up for as long as possible, and “The higher the better!”

Even soft adventures could have hard landings without travel insurance

Looking back at all the ‘fun’ I’ve had while travelling, I realize that I am a bit of an adventuress after all, because none of this fun came without risk: any one of my soft adventures could easily have become a mis-adventure, with a misstep on one of those narrow temple steps, or an unintentional dunking by the dreadlocked dude driving that boat in the Dominican.

But I never thought twice about the risk, only the fun, and I still don’t – because what I do think about before heading out on any of these trips is travel insurance.

The biggest reason to get travel insurance

Travel is just too important to me to have anything mess with my plans, so along with checking my passport expiry date (multiple times!), I plan ahead and make sure I’m covered with medical and trip cancellation/interruption insurance wherever I’m going.

Although it’s unlikely you’ll ever find me following in that same Mr. Whittaker’s footsteps, there was something else that he said that did resonate with me and that was: “Enjoy as much of the planet as you can.” So while it isn’t my idea of fun, if climbing mountains, or throwing yourself out of things is how you get your thrills, I say go ahead and jump that bungee! Dive that sky!

Just don’t do it without a net.

TIP: If you are an adrenaline junkie, make sure you double-check with your insurance company that whatever activities you are planning ARE covered by them. You may also want to protect yourself from things that could happen before you even get on the plane, or in case something happens to people back home while you’re away (sandwich generation, anyone?) This is where trip cancellation and interruption insurance can come in really handy.

For more information and resources for helping to choose travel insurance, check out our Travel Insurance Tips page.

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Jane with Hat Tanzania

Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.

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