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Bruised and out of pocket for the perfect holiday shot #selfiefails costing Aussies more than $200k

May 5, 2017 Insurance No Comments Email Email

Aussies are so obsessed with showing off their overseas escapades, that they’re putting their wallets and safety on the line for the perfect shot, with over 1 in 8 (12%) surveyed even ditching a destination if they couldn’t selfie.

Gone are the days where a token holiday photo was having fun in the sun, new research from Southern Cross Travel Insurancereveals Aussie travellers have crashed cars, missed flights and had dangerous animal encounters in the name of capturing the perfect selfie.

From boarding gate selfies to ‘hot dog or leg?’ shots, 48% of Aussies are taking up to 40 selfies a day while on holiday in a bid to get more ‘likes.’ A third (32%) of those surveyed admitted to getting snap happy before even leaving the tarmac, taking selfies at the check-in desk, airport security and on the runway. Beyond the beach and bar, bathrooms also made the list of places Aussies choose to selfie while on holiday.

Shedding light on Aussies holiday selfie habits, the research found travellers are snapping pics:

  • While walking through traffic
  • Next to train tracks
  • Riding scooters, tuk tuks and rickshaws
  • Mid workout
  • Getting up close and personal with local wildlife
  • Embarking on adrenalin pumping activities, including bungy jumping and sky diving
  • Hiking and climbing mountains
  • Posing with weapons

Leaving their inhibitions at the boarding gate, travellers are also showing off their holiday shenanigans with everything from skinny dipping selfies to experimenting with strange foods and getting tattoos.

With many going to extreme lengths for the perfect picture, travellers are being left reeling when selfies go awry. From cuts, bruises, broken bones, hospital visits and hefty fines, common mishaps include lost valuables and broken phones (both 18%) while 17% were left red-faced caught doing something they shouldn’t be.

Road accidents, vertigo, dangerous animal encounters and missed flights also made the list. Mishaps were most common in men (14%) and travellers under 30.

No stranger to wildcard antics overseas, inappropriate selfies landed 17% of Aussies on the wrong side of the locals, with 9% also being arrested.

The cost didn’t stop at medical mishaps and a slap on the wrist, 15% of travellers lost a significant amount of money. Half (51%) of travellers surveyed lost out on up to $5k, and an unlucky few (8%) were left with a dent of more than $200k.

Commenting on the dark-side of selfies, Dr Gianna Moscardo, tourism expert at James Cook University says social media has created intense pressure for travellers to make their selfies stand out:

“with most of the world sharing their experiences on social media, we’re under pressure to capture the attention of our peers. The need to be noticed is encouraging travellers to put themselves in dangerous, illegal or offensive situations to get a selfie. There is also a ‘copycat’ syndrome forming with travellers putting themselves in risky situations copy images they have seen from others.”


Over half (55%) of tourists surveyed confessed to taking selfies on holiday to document their overseas experiences, taking the mantra ‘if you didn’t snap it, it didn’t happen’, with 12% looking to gain more social media likes and followers. Vanity also played a big part, with Aussies also admitting to taking selfies to show off (11%), boost their self-esteem (9%) or even find a holiday romance by updating their Tinder profile (4%).

Despite the risk of a selfie fail, 18% of travellers who ran into hot water had no travel insurance at all. Well over half (57%) didn’t think they would need it, while 31% forgot it.

Shaun Price, Senior Manager of Southern Cross Travel Insurance, says:

“Cameras, phones and selfie sticks have become the new packing essentials for travellers, but despite selfies landing Aussies in compromising situations, travel insurance continues to fall off the list.

“As the research shows, selfies can come with a high price tag when things take a turn for the worse. It’s important for travellers to understand that putting yourself in a risky situation may result in you not being covered by travel insurance.

“We urge all travellers to put their safety before their selfie, by reading the policy wording ahead of their trip so they understand what they are – and aren’t – covered for.”

Selfie safety tips for Aussie’s abroad by Senior Manager, Shaun Price 

Don’t selfie while driving

Using your phone while driving is dangerous as it is, yet surprisingly some tourists admit to taking selfies behind the wheel. In some places, you’ll also receive a fine if you’re caught using it. Putting safety before your selfie is key, it’s not worth risking your or anyone else’s health.

Avoid wild animals

Dangerous encounters with animals can be a common occurrence for travellers overseas. Avoid getting up close and personal with wild animals if there’s a chance they could turn vicious. Some animals can also pinch personal belongings while travellers are trying to get the perfect selfie.

Cultural sensitivity is key

Different destinations have sensitivities surrounding acceptable behaviour and photography at certain landmarks, particularly if they are religious or historical. Avoid offending the residents by reading up on the local etiquette and respecting the rules if photography or selfie sticks are prohibited.

Watch your wallet

While taking the perfect snap, it’s easy to forget your surroundings and the potential risks of leaving items out of sight. Ensure you’re aware of your personal items, being mindful that you’re not covered by insurance if something is stolen whilst left unattended.

Tech mishaps

With Aussie tourists taking up to 40 selfies a day while on holiday, it’s important to keep your tech gadgets safe while making memories! Broken phones can result in lost memories and empty pockets, so take extra care of your belongings while travelling! With underwater selfies becoming increasingly popular, ensure you invest in a good quality water proof case so your belongings aren’t damaged. For the keen photographers, a good way to keep your tech safe is by investing in an anti-theft bag. This way, when you’re not snapping selfies you have nothing to worry about.

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