Adventure Travel

Adventure Travel is a topic covered in the CDC Yellow Book.

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Adventure travel is unique because of the challenging terrain, extreme weather, remote locales, and long durations involved. Popular destinations include trekking to Everest Base Camp, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, hiking the Inca Trail, sailing the South Pacific, touring the Galapagos, and exploring the North and South poles. Adventure travel often includes mountaineering, backpacking, cycling, skiing, diving, surfing, and river rafting. Travelers may be working, providing humanitarian relief, or completing scientific research; they may be part of expeditions climbing mountains or driving overland.

Risk of injury and illness associated with adventure travel is increased significantly compared to other types of travel for several reasons:

  • Destinations may be remote and lack access to care.
  • Communication is often limited.
  • Weather, climate, and terrain can be extreme.
  • Travelers exert themselves physically, increasing caloric, fluid, and sleep requirements.
  • Trips are often long, lasting: several weeks, months, or years.
  • Trips are often goal oriented, which can cause travelers to exceed safety limits and take increased risk.

Risk usually involves 2 components: probability and consequence. The probability of a mishap occurring is based on frequency, duration, and severity of exposure to hazards. Hazards are categorized as objective—omnipresent natural hazards like weather and terrain—and subjective—human-controlled hazards like lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and dehydration. All 3 components of probability (frequency, duration, and severity) are increased in adventure travel.

The second component of risk, consequence, is the outcome of an accident. Consequence of an accident or illness is nearly always greater in adventure travel with increased distance to help and austere conditions. Therefore, travelers should know that even if the probability of a mishap is low, the consequence is almost always increased. Even a minor injury or illness in the wrong setting can be disastrous.

In addition, major accidents are rarely due to a single event; usually multiple events occur in sequence preceding an accident. Travelers should have heightened awareness of the probability and consequence of risk and try to make good decisions before they get into trouble.

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Adventure travel is unique because of the challenging terrain, extreme weather, remote locales, and long durations involved. Popular destinations include trekking to Everest Base Camp, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, hiking the Inca Trail, sailing the South Pacific, touring the Galapagos, and exploring the North and South poles. Adventure travel often includes mountaineering, backpacking, cycling, skiing, diving, surfing, and river rafting. Travelers may be working, providing humanitarian relief, or completing scientific research; they may be part of expeditions climbing mountains or driving overland.

Risk of injury and illness associated with adventure travel is increased significantly compared to other types of travel for several reasons:

  • Destinations may be remote and lack access to care.
  • Communication is often limited.
  • Weather, climate, and terrain can be extreme.
  • Travelers exert themselves physically, increasing caloric, fluid, and sleep requirements.
  • Trips are often long, lasting: several weeks, months, or years.
  • Trips are often goal oriented, which can cause travelers to exceed safety limits and take increased risk.

Risk usually involves 2 components: probability and consequence. The probability of a mishap occurring is based on frequency, duration, and severity of exposure to hazards. Hazards are categorized as objective—omnipresent natural hazards like weather and terrain—and subjective—human-controlled hazards like lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and dehydration. All 3 components of probability (frequency, duration, and severity) are increased in adventure travel.

The second component of risk, consequence, is the outcome of an accident. Consequence of an accident or illness is nearly always greater in adventure travel with increased distance to help and austere conditions. Therefore, travelers should know that even if the probability of a mishap is low, the consequence is almost always increased. Even a minor injury or illness in the wrong setting can be disastrous.

In addition, major accidents are rarely due to a single event; usually multiple events occur in sequence preceding an accident. Travelers should have heightened awareness of the probability and consequence of risk and try to make good decisions before they get into trouble.

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