Many of us aspire to live life to the fullest and one way we can do this is through travel, whether it’s sampling exotic foods, scaling mountain peaks, witnessing local rituals or seeing the wonders of the world. But if you’re a thrill seeker pursuing adventure activities, it’s important to know whether or not your travel insurance will cover you. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can live life on the edge and get your adrenaline pumping, without risking everything.
1. Extreme roller coasters
“Insanity” is a thrill ride that is, as the name suggests, a little nuts. It sits on top of the Stratosphere hotel in Las Vegas. The ride starts 12 metres above the observation deck so you don’t need to worry if you’re not that into heights. That is until the ride starts and you are swung out over the side of the hotel, giving you a great view of the strip from a height of over 270 metres! But that’s just the beginning, because the ride then spins you in the open air at speeds of up to three ‘G’s’. You'll be propelled up to an angle of 70 degrees, which will tilt your body into one position — straight down!
Am I covered?
Yes – as you would expect, organised rides like this are far less risky than they seem and because its run by a registered company, if the unexpected did happen your insurance has you covered for injury. However consider leaving your valuables in a locker if possible. If not, leave your valuables back at your hotel in the safe. Most ride operators require anything loose in your pockets or bags to be removed before you get on.
2. Long-tail boats
If you’re heading off to some of the more remote islands of Thailand, or just looking for an exciting day out, a trip on a long-tail boat won’t disappoint. These banana shaped boats have been used in Thailand for hundreds of years. Today’s version has one notable addition of a modern automotive engine. These boats move fast, regardless of the condition of the sea, so if you’re looking for a rollercoaster on the water, these boats are perfect. Buckle up – you’re in for a bumpy ride!
Be warned, you will probably get wet either during the trip or when you board or depart the boat at your destination. You will need to wade ashore, so leave the shoes at home and carry a pair of lightweight sandals in your bag. It’s also a good idea to get a dry bag to protect your camera and phone.
Am I covered?
Yes – as long as you are a fare paying passenger. If you’re on a chartered long-tail boat trip then you’re only covered within coastal waters that are no more than 22.2km from populated land. Remember to carry your bag on you at all times to prevent loss or theft. If you leave your belongings unattended and they go missing, you will not be covered by your travel insurance – so take good care of your possessions.
3. Food to die for
Japan has a long tradition of eating pufferfish (fugu), even though parts of its body contains poison. The poison produces a tingling sensation around the mouth and tongue, which is considered to be part of the appeal of eating it.
Japanese chefs train for years and sit a rigorous test that only a few pass. The trick, apparently, is to avoid all the organs and consume only specific portions of its flesh. Even with the strict laws and rules around the preparation of this dangerous delicacy, many people are hospitalised and a few even die every year from eating it. This is not a dish you should eat if prepared by an amateur!
If you don’t fancy risking your health, why not push yourself out of your food comfort zone with something a lot safer, such as harumon (a broad word that can mean anything from intestines to organs) or uni (the sweet yet bitter sea urchins). These Japanese delicacies may not sound tempting but who knows, you might actually like it!
Am I covered?
Yes – as long as you have sampled fugu that has been prepared by a professionally certified chef. Make sure you ask to see a copy of the chefs certificate when you visit the restaurant.
4. Helicopter mission
If you want to feel like you’re in a Vietnam war movie, dashing over the country in a helicopter with the doors off and the country side flashing by under you, there are many trips you can take around the world.
Am I covered?
Yes – provided the helicopter ride is for leisure purposes only and you are a fare paying passenger with a licensed operator. As with all helicopter rides, the excitement should come from experiencing something in a safe environment.
5. Balloon safari
One of the most unforgettable ways to experience the wild animals of Africa is up close and personal on board a hot air balloon. Often starting at dawn to avoid the breeze, you will float around 30 metres over the Serengeti, directly over herds of wild animals.
The only sounds will be those from the blasts of the balloon, so it’s possible to see feeding lions or hippos wallowing in the mud, without scaring them off.
It can be cool in the morning but temperatures may soar in the day so wear layers and take some sunscreen and a hat to avoid sunburn. And don’t forget your camera to capture the experience!
Am I covered?
Yes – as long as the hot air balloon ride is booked through a licensed operator. Do some online research to check that the tour operator also holds a balloon pilot licence. The pilot should give all passengers a health and safety briefing before you lift off. If they don’t, ask them to run through any emergency procedures before you board the ride.
6. Water slides
If you love water parks and you’re looking for something just that little bit bigger, faster and scarier, look no further that Verrückt at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City. The 17-story ride is the world’s tallest water slide.
If you’re brave enough to take on Verrückt, prepare to be strapped into a raft before plunging a stomach churning 51 metres straight down, with three seconds of free fall. It’s reputed to reach speeds of around 80km per hour! If you’re wondering why an American water slide would be called Verrückt – it means ‘insane’ in German.
The slide is one of the most popular attractions in the park so you’ll need to make a reservation as soon as you arrive to secure your ride.
Am I covered?
Yes – although it might seem like a dangerous drop, the theme park takes precautions to keep visitors safe on all the water rides. Make sure you store your valuables in the park lockers rather than leaving them on a sun lounger or cabana where they are at risk of theft. Temperatures in Kansas City can soar to 32 degrees Celsius in the summer so make sure you slap on the sun lotion, especially if you’re visiting with children.
Glamping may not sound very exhilarating…that is, unless, it’s in Kruger National Park in South Africa. Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and boasts all the amazing wild animals you could hope to see. What’s even better, there are plenty of options where you can spend the night amongst the animals, including gated compounds inside the park where you can opt for your own tree house or a more simple tent. Either way, what could compare to spending the night being serenaded by the animals of the night?
Imagine the joy of waking up with the knowledge that nearby are lions, cheetahs, elephants and more! When you’re on safari, always follow the instructions of the guides and take any warnings very seriously. Most importantly, never forget that the animals are wild so they will see you as either a threat or food.
Am I covered?
Yes – as long as your accommodation is 100% safe and secure from the wild animals. Your lodgings should be in a compound which is fenced off from any animals.
Whilst taking photographs, do not attempt to get too close to the animals, especially when they are hunting or feeding. If an animal feels threatened they are likely to attack. Remember, your travel insurance does not cover reckless behaviour where you put yourself in a dangerous situation.
Whatever you’re planning to do, please remember that your insurance provides cover for unexpected events. If you’re doing something that you know is dangerous, there’s a good chance that it won’t be covered by your policy. If you want to know if we cover an activity check our policy wording or give us a call.