Monday, July 18, 2016

I Got Hurt On Vacation, Here's How I Recovered and Got Back to the Fun

Me, just before said accident...

Accidents happen. A particularly bad one happened to me on vacation while hiking in Joshua Tree National Park. I was walking on some natural steps and seemingly out of nowhere, my left foot was waaaay too far left of my knee and hip. The pain sucked, but it wasn't the worst part. The worst part was the panic. OMG we're a mile out from the car, we drove 20 miles into the park to get to the trail, is it broken, did we bring enough water, what are we going to do??!?!?!!!

It turned out to be only a sprain and I was able to make it to the car with frequent breaks and at a slow pace. It made me think for a long time about how I should have prepared myself for an injury, just in case, before an active vacation.

Here are my tips for planning for creating an action plan in case of an accident on vacation.

1. Check your insurance coverage.

I felt really panicked about the healthcare costs that I could incur if my insurance plan hadn't been so good. Check your coverage and make a plan for which urgent care clinics and hospitals are available if you need them.

2. Bring a first aid kit in the car.

Some things require a trip to the clinic or hospital but most things can be handled with a first aid kit. Having an ice pack handy was nice until we could get back to civilization.

3. Make sure someone knows where you'll be.

When venturing into a wilderness area it's really important that someone knows where you'll be. Maybe it's your hotel manager, maybe it's your airbnb host. It's really important that someone knows when to expect you in case something goes wrong. Letting someone know where you're hiking is the best way to help someone find you in case of an emergency.

4. Read the travel tips!!!!

When we were in JT there were lots of groups that didn't realize the ranger station at the park entrance is the only place you can get water. Sure, there are outhouse style rest areas around parks in wilderness areas but there isn't any running water. Check an experienced traveler's packing list before you go.

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