Traumatic Travels – A Review of Accidental Death and Injury in International Travellers

Document Type : Review Article


1 School of Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland

2 School of Medicine, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Insufficient attention has been paid to physical trauma as a cause of morbidity and mortality in international travellers, despite travellers themselves ranking it among their most important pre-travel health concerns. Road traffic collisions (RTCs) are the most common cause of death in younger travellers. One of the significant factors contributing to motorist accidents is tourists’ disorientation in a foreign environment. This is compounded by jet lag and travel fatigue, unfamiliarity with a hired vehicle, local road rules, weather, terrain, distracting scenery and driving on the wrong side of the road, the last factor accounting for the highest percentage of road crash-related injuries. Many of the traumatic risks of travel can be anticipated by performing a careful risk assessment. Travellers should receive targeted advice in relation to prevention of RTCs, adventure sports injuries, large mammal attacks, stampedes and breaches to their personal safety and security. This narrative review article draws attention to these risks and offers practical advice for mitigating the risk to travellers.


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