Adventure vacations may offer the experience of a lifetime, but they also require proper planning to avoid disaster

Financially comfortable individuals today are spending their leisure time and money differently than previous generations—it seems the extravagant vacations of the past have lost their mass appeal.

More and more, high net worth individuals and families are being drawn toward enriching trips to unique locations and the once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences they’ve always dreamed of. Wealth today is less about accruing assets, and more about being rich in meaningful experiences.

But this sort of meaningful travel adds a layer of complexity to the planning process, and is best paired with a contingency plan. If a mishap does occur, you want that plan to get you back on course as quickly and painlessly as possible to maximize those travel days.

So, where are wealthy individuals going, what kinds of experiences are they choosing and why is careful planning critical?

Baby boomers, in general, are attracted to a fulfilling retirement with an element of adventure. Rather than cruising around Alaska, they’d rather explore the state’s mountain peaks and hike its snowy glaciers. While sailing and yachting remain popular for travelers of all ages, nowadays those travelers can rent a submarine to explore the undersea world. Even families with children are vacationing differently: A young family’s African safari trip just might include volunteering with local communities, offering their children a cultural experience and connection to the people of the region.

Vacations like these are incredible opportunities, but they can be risky without taking the proper measures to plan beforehand.

Do your research.
Assess both your destination’s conditions and your own physical condition. The more exciting a trip sounds, the more vital proper preparation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes The Three P’s of Safe and Healthy Travel: be proactive, prepared and protected. This means visiting your doctor before booking to make sure you’re in good health and physical condition, and that you receive any required and recommended vaccinations.

However appealing your exotic destination, recognize that there are critical details you must be aware of. Be sensible about food and water consumption, wear appropriate gear, use insect repellent and know which animals to steer clear of.

Reduce your exposure with adequate insurance protection.
Meet beforehand with your insurance broker to arrange for protection against any setbacks. For savvy travelers, the peace of mind that travel insurance offers is worth its weight in gold. If you’re leaving the country, it’s especially important to verify with your broker that your liability coverage is worldwide. A good plan will provide extensive coverage, including specifics you might not have considered or that you may be incapable of handling in an emergency. Consider an “express” kidnapping, where a supposed taxi driver forces you to retrieve money from an ATM. In that scenario, a policy’s kidnap and ransom insurance will recover your losses. If you become seriously ill or injured, the right travel insurance will coordinate a medical evacuation to get you to the best facility available, while sparing you an exorbitant personal expense.

While you can’t predict devastating events like a terrorist attack, natural disaster or cyber theft, an insurance coverage-and-risk analysis will prepare you for any threatening conditions at your destination and advise on how to respond to a crisis.

You may soon be on your way to a thrilling adventure. Those new sights, sounds and tastes, unexpected human connections, opportunities to serve in a philanthropic role, and a host of other memories that will last a lifetime are right around the corner. That’s not something you want to jeopardize. With the right knowledge and proper planning, you can have the peace of mind you need to be all in.