What To Do When Disaster Strikes On Vacation

It’s the time of the year when a lot of Americans will go on vacation, looking forward to enjoying a few hassle-free days. However, as preppers, we must know that we need to always be ready to face the unexpected. So keep your eyes open during your vacation days and stay safe by following these suggestions.

Car accidents

According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accidents resulted in 42,9 15deaths in 2021. The roads can be especially hazardous this time of year with an increased number of drunk drivers from summertime holidays such as the Fourth of July and other vacationers who are tired or distracted.

For example, you may be distracted while driving by kids screaming or could be totally exhausted because you thought it might be a good idea to drive all night instead of stopping at a motel to make better time.

Install a GPS navigation device, so you don’t get lost, argue with your wife or take your eyes off the road looking at a printed map. Install a DVD player in the back if you have children, and they will be less likely to yell and scream if entertained.

car accidents

Avoid driving while fatigued. Make sure you take turns driving during long road trips if you have another licensed driver in the car. The American Automobile Association (known to most simply as “AAA”) has a lot of useful information on safe driving during vacations. Always make sure your tires have enough treading and air pressure before you embark.

Most preppers also put a bug-out bag in their vehicle. You should at least have an auto emergency kit and a charged cell phone. A fire extinguisher can also be useful in the event of your engine overheating and catching fire. Store an extra bottle of water and antifreeze in case of overheating.

Suppose you experience any trouble while on the road, pull all the way over out of traffic. If you have to work on your car on the side of the road, make sure you are visible, put on bright-colored clothing, turn on your hazards and use a road flare or hazard lights from your emergency road kit.

One last common sense tip is to always wear your seatbelt, even if you are riding in the backseat. In the event of an accident, you want to maximize your chances of survival and minimize the amount of personal damage you take. Nobody is too cool for the seatbelt.

Although very rare, sometimes seatbelts get stuck, and if you are drowning or your car is on fire, your gonna want to get out of there quickly. Carry a pocket knife to cut the belt. Some knives come with a seatbelt cutter and a window breaker as an added accessory.

Never text or talk on the phone while driving. Studies have shown it impairs reaction time in a similar way that driving drunk does.

Plane crashes

plane crash vacation

Statistically speaking, planes are actually safer than cars, and you are far less likely to be in a plane crash than in a car accident. The reason people are so afraid of flying is that car accidents seem more survivable than a plane crash, and that cars seem to be more in your control because you’re the driver.

Flying on a plane, on the other hand, you’re at the mercy of the machine and the pilot. Even if you’re the pilot, you’re still relying heavily on the technology of the aircraft to function as it’s supposed to.

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When most people think of a plane crash, they imagine the whole aircraft smashing into smithereens. This isn’t necessarily true, and plane crashes are, in fact, survivable; whether it’s in a large commercial jetliner or single-engine Cessna, you should always prepare yourself.

Make sure you take note of all exits when you board the plane. Make a mental note of how many rows you are from the nearest exit. In the event of an emergency, there may be smoke in the cabin, and you might not have actual visibility of the door. In such an event, you will need to be able to count the rows of seats you crawl passed, so have your escape plan in your head ahead of time.

Here are some additional tips for surviving a plane crash. For example, you should book a seat near the back of the plane as statistics show passengers in the back are more likely to survive. Try to sit as close to an emergency exist as possible.

If the plane is going down, brace yourself. It’s recommended to grab the back of the seat in front of you with one hand, then cross the other hand over the first to also grab the back of the seat. Then place your head in the triangle you have created with your crossed arms.

If there is no seat in front of you to grab hold of, I suggest leaning forward, pressing your chest against your thighs, duck your head between your knees, and place your hands behind your head to protect your neck. Pray you have a good pilot!

Boat sinking

boat sinking

If your vacation involves going out on a boat, whether it be your own personal boat or even a large cruise ship, there are several things you can do to prepare yourself for an emergency.

The very first thing to do when you board any ship is to familiarize yourself with the location of emergency supplies such as life preservers, escape rafts, and life jackets.

Situational awareness is also crucial here. Although you may be on vacation and enjoying yourself, that doesn’t mean you should mentally clock out.

Keep aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you at all times. If something goes wrong, you want to be able to know it as soon as possible to give yourself as much time to react as you can. You might be able to prevent the disaster with diligence, but if you can’t, you can at least take steps to ensure your survival.

If the ship is going to capsize or sink and there is nothing you can do about it, you need to call for help before it happens. You don’t want to jump overboard with anybody coming to get you.

Know where the radio is on the ship try to keep your bearings as to the location of the ship at any given moment. Channel 16 VHF-FM (156.8 MHz) is a line connected to the U.S. Coast Guard where you can report MAYDAY emergencies. If you have a cell phone, you can also call 911.

Try to put on as many layers of clothing as you can before going into the water. The extra layers will help insulate you and delay on the onset of hypothermia.

Grab any nearby supplies such as water and something that floats that you can hold onto. It may sound strange to grab water when you’re about to jump into some, but that water probably isn’t safe to drink, and you don’t know how long you’re going to be out there before getting rescued.



Whether you’re in a country famous for its kidnappings, such as Mexico, or even right here in America, kidnapping is a very real danger. This is especially true abroad as tourists tend to be easy prey for seasoned muggers or kidnappers because they are unfamiliar with the area, don’t know many other people, and seem like they have a lot of money.

Kidnappings usually occur for ransom or, in some cases, depending on the country, to sell the victim into slavery or prostitution. First of all, never separate from your group. Always be aware of your surroundings. Remaining diligent is something that has been repeated over and over in this article.

When you are out in public, you need to always maintain situational awareness. Is a stranger seemingly paying you or someone else in your group undue attention?

Stay together at all times and never go off alone. Take bathroom breaks in pairs. If you think you are being followed, whether on foot or in a vehicle, you can determine this for sure by making a series of right turns. After four right turns, you will have gone in a complete circle. Nobody traveling naturally would have followed this pattern – so if you are still being tailed, you know for sure that you are being followed and should alert local authorities.

If you are in a foreign country and you suspect you are being targeted you can also go to the U.S. Embassy for help in times of trouble. Although some of the readers of this website may not entirely trust the government, it may still be better dealing with them than with a kidnapper or getting caught in a riot! Make sure to look up the embassy’s 24 hour emergency number before you leave.

Getting robbed & identity theft

Thieves and even the room service know you keep a lot of your valuables in your room. Always make sure you lock your hotel room and double-check. Purchase travel insurance.

Take pictures of all your valuables and write down all the serial numbers so that the police can visualize what they’re looking for. Try not to be too flashy, don’t wear jewelry that can be snatched right off your neck.

Keep your money and valuables in your front pocket, not in a purse over your shoulder. Do not break or flash any large bills if you don’t have to. If your credit cards are stolen, cancel them immediately.

Do not carry all of your valuables when leaving the resort. Use an RFID wallet to block hackers trying to skim your credit card info. Password protect everything you can, laptops, GPS units, iPods. This will at least slow down people who are trying to access your information.

Animal attacks

animal attacks

If your vacation involves hiking out in the wilderness, then animal attacks are a very real possibility. Learn about potential predators in the area before you leave for your vacation.

Is the area you are planning on camping or hiking known for bear activity?

If so, you may want to consider carrying a can of bear spray with you. Bear spray is like pepper spray on steroids and is made specifically to repel bear attacks. If a bear does attack you and you don’t have bear spray handy, your first instinct may be to run away or be very quiet and hope it goes away.

Survival experts advocate actually doing the opposite. Make as much noise as you can and try to make yourself appear as large as possible. Create as much distance as you can between you and the bear but don’t run. Back away slowly. Avoid eye contact as that can be seen as an aggressive challenging act to bears. If you absolutely have to fight, then attack weak spots such as the bear’s eyes. Never climb a tree, as bears are good climbers!

Another potential danger from the animal kingdom you might face while on vacation is a dog attack. This could happen even while vacationing in a city. If an aggressive dog confronts you, avoid making eye contact with it, as the dog may interpret this as a challenge.

Don’t run away, either. This activates a dog’s instinct to chase you. There are many techniques that can be learned to incapacitate a dog but for a beginner, jamming something in its mouth, such as a jacket or rolled up sweater, to prevent it from biting you is one good tactic. Wrapping the jacket around your arm can provide a large target for the dog to bite and will prevent its teeth from sinking into your flesh.

Shark attacks are not very common. There are less than 100 recorded shark attacks around the world each year. But just because they don’t occur frequently doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for one.

If you are vacationing on the beach or on the ocean water and you are concerned about shark attacks, check the history of the location to see if it is known to have shark-infested waters or if any previous shark attacks have been recorded in the area ever before.

If a shark does attack you, there isn’t much you can do at that point other than desperately attempting to fight back. There have been cases where people have been bitten by sharks, but fought them off and escaped with their lives.

If a shark is attacking, use any weapon you can, even if you have to resort to fists and feet, to attack its weak points – its eyes, its gills, or its nose. Causing the shark enough pain may cause it to decide you’re more trouble than you’re worth and give up.


While we all wait with anticipation for our vacations, that doesn’t mean we should clock out and be oblivious to our surroundings. We must always be ready to act in case something doesn’t go as planned. Hopefully, the recommendations from this article will make your vacation a little bit safer.

Recommended for survivalists and preppers:

The only wild medicinal plants you need to use WSHTF

How to extract moisture for air to make a water supply

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

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1 thought on “What To Do When Disaster Strikes On Vacation”

  1. Vacations often include leaving the country.
    Because of this, it’s likely you won’t have your gun/knife with you.
    Also, if an economic collapse happens while you’re away, there’s nothing written in stone that guarantees your transportation tickets back to your home country will be honored. Cash/credit may be suspended.
    Whenever I leave the country I carry some gold. Gold can:
    Buy a gun/ammo.
    Pay a local to get you home.
    Maybe even act as a ransom.


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