None of us wants to think about the many potential disasters awaiting an unsuspecting traveler these days. And yet, if you don’t consider the possibility, you could end up a victim when you’re far away from home and everything you know. For this reason, it is important to have a plan in place to cover just about any unfortunate situation you may encounter while traveling, from airport delays to acts of criminal violence. If you have kids with you, this is even more essential. So whether you’re going on vacation, jetting off for work, or some combination of the two, here are a few ways to stay safe, prepare for the worst, and hopefully avoid complete disaster.
The first and most important step in your preparation for travel is information gathering and dissemination. There are things you need to know about the place you’re traveling to, especially if it involves visiting a foreign country. You don’t have to learn the language, but you should at least purchase a book of common phrases and learn some of those that you may need, such as, “Where is the (insert your country) embassy?” and “Where is the nearest public restroom?” You should also look online for local customs so that you don’t accidentally try to shake someone’s hand in a country where they wipe with their hands after using the restroom, for example. And of course, you’ll want to have some idea of how to contact authorities in case of accident, injury, or attack.
But beyond gathering information, you’ll also need to leave some. Make sure to tell friends or family members your travel specs, including where you’re going, dates of travel, and airline and hotel info. In short, you should leave an itinerary with someone you trust. Then be sure to check in frequently throughout your trip so that they know everything is going according to plan. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for travelers to become the victim of mugging, kidnapping, or even an injury that leaves them temporarily unable to communicate. If someone back home is immediately aware that you’ve gone off-course, at least you know they’ll be looking for you.
You should also take proper precautions with your valuables. Tourists tend to be an easy target for theft, so make sure to keep only what you need on your person (identification, form of payment) and leave the rest in a hotel safe. Use a money belt and carry travelers checks that can be easily replaced so that if you do get mugged or misplace your wallet you won’t be out the cash or have to worry about someone racking up charges on your credit card.
And when it comes to your kids, be sure they have proper identification and they know the basic rules if they should become lost. Give them ID bracelets with your phone number and instruct them to look for a person in authority should the get separated from you in a crowded airport or an unknown city. In addition, you should have current photos on hand in case a search is called for. Preparing for possible catastrophe doesn’t necessarily mean you can avoid it, but it will leave you ready to handle any situation you might find yourself in and immediately take steps to get back on track.
Sarah Danielson writes for Charming Puglia where you can find the best in Lecce hotels and Puglia hotels for your luxury vacation.