What If... You Get Injured While Traveling
Broken Jaw X-ray (Photo: Thinkstock)
I’ve bungee jumped, parasailed and jumped off the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. I scuba dive and surf whenever I get the chance. I climbed Kilimanjaro. I’m taking flying trapeze lessons and have gone to stuntman school. The only real injury I got in 12 years of adrenaline-seeking travel? Breaking my jaw after slipping on a polished parquet floor in Buenos Aires.
Stuff happens. No one expects to get injured, and certainly not while on vacation, especially in one’s room at a five-star hotel. But the world is an imperfect place, and freak accidents happen much more easily than we think.
Six years after my encounter with the floor, I still tell people: if you have to get injured, do it at a five-star hotel. The Park Hyatt’s whole staff impressed me with their trauma-related services: the butler who rode with me to the hospital and made sure I got the “good plastic-surgery stitches”; the housekeepers who somehow got the bloodstains off my white pajamas (I’d bitten through my lip); the bartenders who made me smoothies; and the concierge who got me on the next flight home, along with a premium seat and lounge access.
I asked Park Hyatt about their training for such things. A spokeswoman told me they had no specific emergency protocol but “their sense of individual empathy creates a very powerful, thorough and, particularly in the case of an emergency, incredibly memorable experience.”
Related: City Guide: Buenos Aires
Obviously, not everyone has the good luck of having bad luck in a luxury hotel. But what you do in the next few hours (and ideally before your trip) can have a big effect on how things turn out. Here are some tips from my experience and industry experts:
Proper preparation prevents poor performance
First aid kit (Photo: Thinkstock)
Easy to say that in hindsight, I know. But taking a few basic precautions before any trip is worth the investment of time. Buy travel insurance; it’s cheaper than many people think and it’s easy to comparison shop at InsureMyTrip. Make sure you have phone numbers for your doctors with you, in case whatever happens requires quick follow-up at home, and research local hospitals in advance. Keep your vaccinations up to date. And pack an emergency medical kit with an antibiotic, anti-diarrheal, antihistamine and painkillers (at least over-the-counter, though some doctors might prescribe something stronger to have in reserve).