No one expects to come home in a casket. But more travellers are. More people are travelling, so more people are dying.
What's killing them?
Internationally, traffic accidents top the list, followed by homicide and drowning.
But there is an even bigger non-accidental cause. An increasing number of travellers are older individuals, so death overseas is becoming more frequent.
What can you do about it?
If you die while you're on holiday, your family and loved ones could experience headaches that needlessly compound their grief. There's extra paperwork, arrangements for the return of your remains, and often, an unplanned stay in a faraway place to bring you back home.
Here are some strategies for dealing with a death overseas — yours or a loved one's:
Having an insurance policy can lessen but not eliminate the stress of losing a loved one on vacation. It may sound macabre, but reviewing the death benefits on your policy is critically important. Make sure there are provisions for emergency assistance, return of remains and ashes and coverage for family members who will have to travel to wherever you die to claim your body.
Tell a friend about trips
Let a loved one know where you'll be, and make sure they have all the paperwork necessary to claim your body. If a lone traveller dies overseas it often takes the hotel days to figure out who to contact. So always carry information on who should be contacted in case of emergency.
Making pre-arrangements can be helpful if you die while you're travelling. That way, your next of kin need only make a call to the funeral home to start the process of returning you to your final resting place. If you are travelling with a friend, that person can be named a personal representative, who would be authorized to make decisions and arrangements on your family's behalf. For people who die while on vacation, direct cremation is a popular option, because it reduces some of the transportation expenses associated with the return of remains.
When a loved one dies while travelling, you can do everything right but still suffer needless pain in your bank account. Passing away while travelling can be costly. Often, too costly as suppliers take advantage to increase their normal costs.
As the surviving family member, you're not just dealing with an industry you probably know nothing about; you're also in a faraway place, trying to cope with different customs and maybe a different language. Be careful not to get scammed.
Travel insurance: News update: November 2008