Every year, millions of tourists flock to the latest and hottest destination all over the world for vacation. From Iceland to Ibiza, “hot” places to visit ebb and flow each year as trends change over time and even based on popular tv shows on Instagram trends. Historically governed by new discovery and news outlets, most trends in 2019 are set by social media influencers.
With thousands of new influencers and the opportunity of monetization, efforts to stay relevant have taken a new turn. With the world increasingly more involved in social media, it’s quickly becoming apparent that account follower attention isn’t as easily captured as it once was. It’s no longer enough to simply visit a popular destination and snap a photo in front of a well-known monument.
Like the title of this blog suggests, we’re going to be delving deep into some of the most dangerous travel trends of the year and sharing some things to consider before embarking on them.
Defined by visiting former places of death and major tragedy, dark tourism can be helpful for understanding the past, getting perspective on the future and honoring lives lost. This practice has gained a lot of traction within the travel community with shows on Netflix like “Dark Tourism” and HBO’s “Chernobyl” shedding light on locations with interesting stories. Both outline fantasized experiences of places that were once home to great tragedy.
Now, social media influencers and tourists alike are able to take in the views and experience the aftermath years later. Nothing comes without its risks, however.
Pripyat, Ukraine is one of 2019’s most popular dark tourism spots. Filled with eerie, abandoned amusement park rides, this area was home to one of the worst tragedies imaginable.
In 1986, there was a large explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear energy plant caused by testing gone wrong. The result was a catastrophic amount of radioactive fallout that covered the surrounding areas and some that even drifted into the highly populated city of Belarus.
Today, Pripyat, necessitating a guide, has been opened to tourism by the Ukrainian government with limitations on areas that can be visited. Often regarded as a final frontier for selfie-seekers, the sites boast incredible views and insight into the past. Unfortunately, the temptation to get the perfect photo can take over and those danger zone cordons aren’t always respected, resulting in high radiation exposure. Exposure to high levels of radiation can cause major health issues and even cancer later in life.
Our opinion: Just be smart. Mitigating risk at dark tourism sites like Chernobyl aren’t as simple as taking out the right insurance policy, you must stay with your tour guide and don’t expose yourself to potential health hazards.
In 2019, it’s not unusual to hear about yoga retreats and self-love workshops set against a backdrop of an ocean sunset. These wellness retreats boast many benefits like rest, relaxation and mental wellbeing. But what if you could go a step further? Increasing in popularity, more extreme versions of the typical retreats are becoming more and more common.
From extreme detoxes to water fasts, some wellness retreats can result in serious health complications. Being confined in hot environments and not eating for days, are just a few of the rare but still very available options for retreats that you can sign up for. These extreme wellness retreats can range vastly in safety and possible outcomes.
Our opinion: do your research. It’s important to know exactly what to expect and how to prepare beforehand. Whether it’s fitness-related or food-related, be sure that the pros outweigh the cons and that the program you’re attending is safe, reputable and carries the appropriate insurance requirements.
Visiting Recently Dangerous Places
Going where no one has before is one of the most sought-after experiences in 2019. With so much of the world already over-photographed though, a trend that has been growing over the past few years is visiting historically unsafe destinations due to their interesting new appeal.
“Sure, this used to be home to a 90% higher-than-average crime rate but it’s safe now, right?” While it may be tempting to visit a place that was just cleared for tourism again, the risks may still outweigh the benefits.
Things To Consider
What you see may not be what you get.
It’s important to recognize that some of the same issues that were once there, may still be lingering. Even though the infrastructure may have improved, that doesn’t necessarily mean that crime rates have decreased or that it’s safe to walk around alone
Who are you traveling with?
Whether you’re travelling with someone or flying solo, it’s important to be aware of the risks that you may be posed with, based on your group size.
What is the destination’s historic past?
Drugs, war and poverty all play a major role in the safety and viability of tourist destinations. Make sure you’re up to speed on its past, how it is currently and what that means for the future.
Our opinion: Understand the risk and take precautionary steps before travelling to a place with a tumultuous past. You may also want to consider joining a tour or booking a guide if you’re unsure of the safety standards or areas you’ll be travelling to.
Wherever You End Up
Whether you’re chasing travels trends or choosing your own path, vacationing in a new place can be fulfilling and exciting. Consider your options, risks and precautionary tools by doing your research, learning the areas that you should and should not go to and finding the right travel insurance for you.
No matter where you choose to go, Petra Insurance has tailor-made insurance policies that fit your lifestyle. Get peace of mind almost anywhere in the world knowing that we have your back. Whether it be for health, transportation or even high-risk zone travel insurance, call or click today to find out more about how we can help you find the perfect policy for you.