A holiday in Bali seems like the chance of a lifetime, particularly for tourists living half a world away, but for Australians, that dream can be realized in the time of a flight no longer than Chicago to Frankfurt. And for Canadians, Americans and Europeans, money is often no object regardless of the distance.
For everyone going to Bali, risks abound: tsunami warnings; earthquakes; burglary; armed robbery; undercover drug cops not to mention the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed 202 people.
Yet, the more probable risk confronting visitors to the island is the congested traffic and the high risk of foreigners being involved in two-wheeled motorized vehicle accidents. Every day of the week at least three people die in traffic accidents and upwards of 150 accident victims reach Bali's main hospital, Sanglah, for treatment. On busy days, physicians and nurses may treat as many as 300 people injured in traffic accidents.
Bali's rapid development, the flocking of tourists and the failure of the local government to build new roads to accommodate the influx of foreigners, means that the island's poorly maintained roads are congested with two-wheeled vehicles, which is the easiest way of getting around. Unfortunately, the majority of tourists ride motorcycles and scooters in swim trunks and bikinis; most rental companies don't insist on helmets. Imagine the injuries that can be sustained if your only apparel is beach wear?
To make matters worse, many foreign riders have never ridden a two-wheeled motorized vehicle and most are not substance-free while riding.
COMMENT: Motorcycles on Bali can be hired for as little as $5 a day and rental managers rarely check for valid licenses; being intoxicated and not having a helmet are no reason to be turned down. Worse, most foreign tourists who rent motorcycles and scooters do not have adequate insurance coverage for the vehicle or liability.
Another facet of foreign travel that most tourists don't consider is signing up for international medical treatment and evacuation insurance BEFORE departing home. This is essential for anyone going abroad, as one's home-based medical coverage, whether governmental or commercial, rarely covers medical treatment in another country, where the payment for treatment is required BEFORE treatment is received.
Being involved in a major accident in Bali, for example, could easily run upwards of US$10,000-15,000. Moreover, if a tourist is involved in an accident involving major trauma, evacuation to Australia could easily run from $40,000-100,000. If any of our readers would like a list of reputable companies that provide international treatment and evacuation coverage, please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to send you the list at no cost.