It’s the new self-portrait on everyone’s camera phone- the selfie. Selfie apps and tools have blasted the market and Aussies just can’t seem to stop flipping their phones for a cheeky shot.
Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, the incongruous selfie shows no sign of fading away. The selfie is the new postcard, letting tourists share their memories and faces with a quick grin and tap. However all too often the simple selfie can ambush a holiday in more ways than one!
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Selfies stealing the scene
It may only take a few moments, but the time taken to set up a great selfie can be enough to miss that dolphin sighting, sunset or the true magic of your surroundings. Eugene Wylde ‘Insurance Geek Extraordinaire’ from Comparetravelinsurance.com.au says, “I’ve seen tourists spending more time reenacting silly poses beside the Great Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower than actually looking at the world class site itself. You may as well just stay at home and use photoshop to get the job done. If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars to see something special, try not to let your selfie sabotage your experience.”
Apart from missing the moment, reports these days are increasingly linking selfie takers with hazardous, risk-taking behavior. The phenomomen had even propelled several government and regulatory bodies to take a serious stance against reckless photo-takers. Public education programs, such as Russia's 'Safe-Selfie' campaign, hav aimed to squash senseless selfie-taking behaviour with videos, leaflets and warning signs in highly frequented areas.
Russia has seen a particularly high and tragic rate of deadly 'selfie accidents'. In May, a 21-year-old woman was nearly killed after accidentally shooting herself in the head for a posed picture. Just a few months earlier, two men taking pictures in the Urals died after pullng out the pin on a hand grenade.
In 2013 a Polish couple tragically fell to their deaths while taking photos by a Portuguese cliff edge. Similarly, a 17-year-old Russian woman plummeted 30ft to her death after climbing on a railway bridge to take a selfie. Last year, base jumper Gareth Jones was killed after a precarious selfie clifftop fall and a 32-year American woman fatally crashed after sharing a mid-drive selfie to Facebook. Its official; death by selfie is on the rise.
Selfie related-injured aren’t limited to falls, weapons and car accidents. A recent spate of young men being mauled whilst taking selfies with tigers prompted New York authorities to outlaw the act. Two teenagers encountering an elephant in an African forest were even trampled to death after attempting to take pictures with it.
Selfie-incurred injuries don’t have to be fatal to seriously wound. For instance, Ruchie Farndon of Sydney, had the unfortunate experience of careening into a selfie stick whilst jogging on holidays in Hawaii. Farndon says, “I could have dealt with colliding into a dog waste bin or a giant seagull, but not a silly selfie stick!” Although Farndon was left (relatively) unscathed, not so the ancient Hercules statue of the town of Cremorna, in northern Italy. The 18th century statue crumbled under the weight of a pair of selfie-taking tourists who thought it would be a smashing idea (pardon the pun) to climb on top of it. The pair are now facing potential criminal charges and a potentially enormous fine.
Whilst common sense should always come along with you in holidays, it’s always wise to prep yourself and take out a travel insurance policy in case of a selfie-provoked tumble.
Are you covered for selfie-induced injuries?
Whilst safety always comes first, a camera-induced injury shouldn’t ruin a holiday. Whether you’ve copped a sprain, cut, or even suffered a serious injury as a result of a selfie gone wrong, travel insurance will cover you for any related medical expenses.
Additionally, a good travel policy will provide:
- 24/7 emergency assistance service to help with travel and medical
emergencies should the occasion arise.
- Overseas emergency hospital and medical, including hospital stays, surgery, dental, prescription drugs, doctor and dentist office visits.
- Emergency rescue and medical transport so you can receive medical care required for your illness or injury.
- Personal liability, which is the amount that the insurer will pay to cover damages that you cause. This is usually advisable if you're taking part in any activities that involve risk, such as driving a car whilst on holiday.
- Luggage and personal effects to provide reimbursement for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage and personal effects
- Travel delay expenses, including costs for unexpected accommodation, meals, and transport when your travel is delayed or disrupted.
- ...and much more!
Whether you’re a self-confessed selfie-addict or simply want to avoid a camera-related catastrophe, a good dose of selfie sense will get you in the right frame of mind.
Top tips for ‘Selfie Sense’
- Respect for relics: Yes it makes for a great shot, but a quick snap besides a religious artefact or tomb could land you in the hot seat in countries like Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. Check with a local guard before you say “cheese.”
- Ride smart: This sounds like common sense, but taking a selfie whilst driving any type of vehicle (that includes, bikes, scooters and skateboards) is a big no-no. Just like any other hand-held device, put your camera phone aside while on-the-go.
- Scan your surroundings: They say rules are meant to be broken but in the case of safe zones and barriers, caution comes first. Whether taking a road trip selfie on a busy highway or a dizzyingly high lookout, stay behind the lines.
- Food photo fiend: If a great meal out to you doesn’t take place without at least one great food photo, take note, some high-end eateries have actually banned cameras claiming they “totally disrupt the ambience.”
Simply put, a life-risking selfie is never a good idea. Taking out travel insurance on the other hand, is. With the right cover and a good dose of selfie smarts, you’ll be set for holiday heaven.