AS THEY SAY “KNOW BEFORE YOU GO”
Carefree traveling doesn’t mean caution-free traveling. Emergencies can, and often do, occur while you are on the road and far away from home. Taking a small amount of time to do your homework before you set out may pay off in a big way if you encounter an emergency situation. Below are a handful great tips as well as links to go-to experts in the field of having fun…safely.
Proper preparation and planning is half the battle when facing an emergency situation in the great outdoors. The US Forest Service lists “traveling with a companion” at the top of their list of outdoor safety tips. And, it’s a critical one. Emergencies can be as simple as spraining an ankle which can render a hiker immobile, especially on rough terrain. Be sure to visit https://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/safety/safety.shtml to brush up on all of their excellent tips for outdoor adventures.
Heading to the Beach?
Take time to scan the beach for critical safety information before staking a claim on your beach space. Most public beaches post beach rules, safety and warning signs, and/or color-coded warning flags. Visit https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/12814-the-complete-list-of-beach-flags-and-warning-signals to become familiar with the color coding warning flags, as they are not accompanied with explanatory text. On this site you will also find examples of safety and warning signs, many of which are universally recognized.
Here’s a tip that you may not have thought of: always take a business card from the front desk of your hotel. That way, if you ever get lost, you have the name and address of the hotel in the local language. Great advice. It’s what Travel & Leisure listed at the top of their “12 Tips to Make International Travel Easier” blog. They also suggest checking the State Department’s travel warnings and alerts as well as printing out the address and contact information of the local embassy (don’t rely on having access to the internet). Check out their remaining tips here: http://www.travelandleisure.com/blogs/12-tips-to-make-international-travel-easier. It’s well worth your time if you’re internationally bound.
Whether you travel far and wide, or a few hours away, take into consideration these additional tips:
Medical Services. Review your insurance policy ahead of time so you are familiar with service providers and medical facilities that are covered out of state or out of country. Be sure to find out where they are located, phone numbers, and hours of operation. It’s a good idea to write these down just in case internet service is compromised.
Water. This is arguably the most important commodity in an emergency. No matter where you travel, pack an empty, lightweight water filtration bottle in each of your family member’s travel bag. They’re easy to pack and are a wise alternative to plastic water bottles which, as you know, won’t make it past security checkpoints. Also keep in mind that drinking fountains are highly regulated in most places and can provide safe, clean sources of water. (Mobile apps have even been developed to assist you in finding nearby drinking fountains.)
Food. This is tricky, especially if you’re traveling a significant distance or internationally. If you’re traveling in a vehicle, don’t leave home without an emergency food supply [link to 72-hour emergency pail]. This will keep you nourished if you have a breakdown or make a wrong turn. If you are traveling by air, you can easily pack freeze dried fruits [link to freeze dried strawberry slices] and granola in airtight snack bags. You’ll have great tasting nutrition whether you get stuck in the airport, on the tarmac, or circling to land. These snack bags are also good to have once you’re on the ground and waiting for a taxi or trying to get your bearings in an unfamiliar city.
Staying Connected. Since communication is all-important during emergencies, mobile phones are likely the best life-saving device you can own. Not only can they serve as radios and sources of information, you can load them up with apps from alert-services to shelter maps. Be sure to check with your mobile provider to see if you’ll have service in the country you’re traveling to. Roaming charges can be expensive, but a high phone bill is worth it if it keeps you safe. Don’t forget an extra phone charger.
Radio Access: Take a minute to go online and search for local radio frequencies that will provide critical emergency notifications and updates. Again, it’s wise to make a written note…just in case.
Documentation. Take written lists of your prescription medications, jot down insurance company contacts, and take copies of important documents such as passports and birth certificates. Alternatively, upload them to your own secure cloud server as backup. Whether digitally or electronically, always keep these within close reach no matter where in the world you are. Don’t forget that an easy way to digitally store important documents is to simply take a picture.
We think it’s worth repeating the “Know Before You Go” adage as we wrap up this blog because…it just can’t be emphasized enough.
Happy and safe travels this summer!