You are probably planning your vacation right now just to get away from it all and enjoy some well-deserved rest. Unfortunately disaster doesn’t take a holiday and you should be prepared to handle any emergencies that may arise while you’re vacationing outside of your home country.
During this time of the year, a lot of people are going on holiday while others are planning their dream vacation for the winter season. For those who are preparedness minded, planning a vacation involves more than just booking a flight and a hotel room. Just because you are going on vacation, doesn’t mean you have to be careless and let your guard down. A lot can happen and things such unpredicted weather events, terrorist attacks and social uprising (as seen lately in Turkey) are all real possibilities in this changing times.
Here are some good suggestions on how to prepare to keep your loved ones safe and happy when you are out of your comfort zone.
Getting an Agent will save you a lot of trouble
When things go wrong, having someone who knows the place like the back of his hand, who is accustomed to the local habits and knows how to bend the rules when needed, can save the day. A good agent will be able to rebook, reroute and reschedule things to get you out of harm’s way. A travel agent will let you in on the local customs, will warn you about the scams practiced on unaware tourists and will even take care of the formalities. You will be able to enjoy your holiday without having to deal with tedious phone calls, travel negotiations or any emergencies you didn’t plan for.
Learn how to build a travel bug out bag
Most of the people I know have a well-thought plan for handling a crisis event at home, but when it comes to traveling, almost all of them are unprepared and exposed to unpredictable scenarios. Just because you travel to a foreign country that has different rules and regulations that doesn’t mean you should leave your preparedness gear behind. If you plan a business trip or a family vacation, make sure you build a travel bug out bag containing all the critical survival items you might need. I recommend reading the article below as I explained how I’ve built my travel bug out bag.
A must read: How to build a travel bug out bag
Consider travel insurance
We spend extra money on souvenirs, spa treatments and all sorts of things that aren’t initially planned, but when it comes to spending money on travel insurance a lot of people are undecided or hesitate to “throw money away”. If you spend the extra money on insurance, you will be prepared when a situation gets out of control. Besides insuring your flight or cruise, you should look into medical evacuation coverage so that you and your loved ones can make it home safe. Spending a little extra on insurances that cover serious illnesses or deadly medical emergency is something you should really consider, especially if you go to countries where there are many unknown factors.
Read about the bad things first
When people do their research about particular travel destinations, they always start with the good and fun things, such as top ten places to visit or best restaurants in the area. However, I’ve developed the habit of researching about the bad things first, to have an idea on what I should expect if things doesn’t go as planned. I try to find out as much as I can about the local scams, rough neighborhoods and other dangers that aren’t so obvious at first (if the water is drinkable, how are the medical services, local customs that should be respected, etc.). Some will say that this practice may be discouraging for the travelers and they won’t be able to enjoy their vacation, but if you are a mentally strong person you will see things differently. I rather cover everything and enjoy my day at the beach than dealing with the unexpected emergencies because I didn’t bother reading about it.
Cover your rental for any unexpected emergencies
Make sure you are covered for liability and collision if you rent a car. Your purchase insurance or your personal car insurance should cover your rental for the duration of your trip. There’s nothing worse than being involved in a car accident in a foreign country and not having proper insurance. You will have to deal with the residents involved in the accident and with the local authorities as well.
Pay attention to combo bookings
We often book our airfare with our cruise line and the company is responsible to get us to the ship in the event of an airline delay. A good practice would be to check if you can fly a day early to avoid any possible delays and stay at a hotel or even a pre-cruise resort. This will give you the possibility to avoid delays or unpredictable events, you can get some rest or you can even do some local exploring or shopping if you have the time. It’s better to have the luxury of not being on the constant run and the extra time to use for handling various emergencies.
Weather risks, the number one cause for canceling a trip
Most people will cancel their trip because of a bad weather scare and because the media usually blows things out of proportion just for the sake of a good audience. Before you decide to cancel your trip, you should review your travel insurance policy to see exactly what your options are. Pay attention to weather updates and have your luggage ready to take your trip until the last second. More than once I was able to enjoy upgrades because others got scared and cancelled prematurely.
A smartphone and a few backup apps will make your trip safer
A smartphone is a good tool to have with you while on vacation because it can warn you about possible risks in your area. There are multiple weather apps, many of them free, which will provide you with real-time updates on weather conditions and send alerts whenever dangerous weather is approaching you area. There are also news applications that will send you alerts when something bad is happening in your area. The airlines and other mode of travel have SMS options you can sign for free and they will alert you in case there are delays, gate changes and other things that could affect your holiday. And the current memory capabilities of today’s mobile phones allows you to store various travel guides, first aid books and other survival books that can prove useful under various emergencies.
Suggested reading: How to build a SHTF library
Make sure you are able to locate your embassy
If a disaster hits during your holiday or if there is a national security emergency (like it happened in Turkey) you will have to evacuate or be quarantined in an unfamiliar place. You should be able to locate your embassy and have emergency numbers on hand before disaster strikes. You should also have additional copies of your passport and documents (including digital copies) in case they get lost.
When you’re vacationing outside of your home country there are a lot of new places and things waiting to be discovered, but you shouldn’t become careless and assume that emergencies are less likely to happen. You should be prepared for anything and the recommendations listed in this article are not difficult to follow. They should not affect your vacation and your mood, and they will give you the pace of mind you need when traveling to unfamiliar places.
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