Would-be tourists from the U.S. have limited international travel options during this pandemic summer. All of Europe and Oceania remain off-limits, as well as most of Asia. While some vacationers will seek out the few international Caribbean destinations and the two U.S. territories that are available to visit, most summertime travel by Americans will be within the contiguous United States.
Traveling within America’s borders removes some of the risks that come with international travel including being quarantined in a foreign country, language barriers and flight disruptions. But the other common risks remain, especially getting sick or injured when you’re away from home.
What if you’re hiking a remote area of Montana and severely injure your foot? That was the case for a hiker injured around Avalanche Lake, near Granite Peak Montana, during a recent holiday weekend. The hiker was able to contact the Global Rescue operations team through satellite service. The response team soon verified that nearby Beartooth Ranger Station was closed due to COVID-19. That’s when the response team quickly alerted local resources of the incident and continued to work as an information conduit, coordinating rescue efforts between agencies and the injured party.
Case management related to an emergency when you’re more than 100 miles away from home lets you get the help you need while the service providers handle the logistics of any situation you may encounter on the road.
Perhaps you’re on a pandemic retreat from New York City traveling 110 miles from home, like one family recently was, and you want to identify local urgent care centers where your family could be tested for virus antibodies and infection. You could conduct an internet search, make several phone calls, hopefully speak to a knowledgeable human being at every turn, and then double-check the reviews on multiple social media platforms. Or you can make one call to a travel risk and crisis management provider and let the medical operations team investigate the area, vet multiple resources and provide you with the needed information.
Getting sick or injured during a trip, even a domestic one, is bad enough, but having to manage all the different resources, phone numbers and contacts is an added hassle that travel protection services can take off your shoulders. These services can provide assistance finding a doctor or hospital near your location, or connect you with virtual telehealth services for face-to-face support from a board-certified physician.
Perhaps you’re a bit like travel adventurer Eric Larsen, who biked, trekked and paddled 500 miles across Kansas in seven days to showcase the benefits and joy of outdoor adventure.
“With travel restrictions due to COVID-19, we all need a little reminder that there are a lot of great adventure opportunities within a short distance of our own backyards,” he said in a recent report that noted his membership with travel risk and crisis management company Global Rescue.
Larsen doesn’t only traverse U.S. states. He was the first person in history to successfully complete expeditions to the South Pole, North Pole and the summit of Mount Everest in a continuous 365-day period.
Whether you’re RVing from Chicago to Chattanooga, hiking the Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend, Texas, or kayaking a portion of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from New York to Maine, no one wants to get sick while on the road. But if you develop a cough or a fever during your domestic trip, having medical advisory services readily available to help you determine whether it’s allergies, a cold or something else is a smart idea.
Matt Napiltonia is a seasoned world travel expert and Senior Manager in Global Rescue’s US-based Operations Center. He was a Platoon Leader and Medical Services Officer in the 101st Airborne Division, and a US Navy SEAL. Mr. Napiltonia is a graduate of Middlebury College. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University Of Florida College Of Law.
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