Emergencies while travelling abroad can come in all shapes and sizes, from a natural disaster to political upheaval, an accident or illness to becoming the victim of crime. Not many people like to think of these possibilities before they travel, but some basic preparation for a potential emergency will make your trip a lot easier should the worst really occur.
To help you get organised for safe travel in the event of an emergency abroad we have put together the questionnaire below. Simply answer “yes” or “no” to each question and then total your answers to find out if you are prepared for an emergency abroad.
1. Do you leave a copy of your itinerary with a friend or relative when you travel?
2. Do you check the Department of State website for travel advisories before you make plans?
3. Do you keep a photocopy of your passport identification page in a separate location from your passport?
4. Do you travel with contact information for the nearest US embassies or consulates?
5. Do you travel with a basic first aid kit and a good supply of your prescription medications?
6. Do you learn the telephone number for a country’s emergency services while abroad?
7. Do you keep your passport, computer, cash and credit cards in a safe when you travel?
8. Do you keep up with local weather forecasts while you travel abroad?
9. Do you travel with at least two forms of photo identification?
10. Do you arrange for adequate travel and health insurance cover before you travel abroad?
11. Do you travel with city maps so that you can locate hospitals and police stations if needed?
12. Do you register with the Department of State before travelling abroad?
If you answered “yes” to between one and four questions then you are not well prepared for an emergency abroad. It may be that you don’t want to have to do any work before travelling overseas, or you feel that you already have enough to carry without worrying about emergency “supplies”, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. A little extra work before you leave will mean that you can set your mind at ease while you travel. Better to be prepared and not have an emergency than to have an emergency and not be prepared. At the very least use the questions above as a guide for preparing for safe travels before your next trip.
If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions then you are somewhat prepared for an emergency abroad. You understand the importance of setting yourself up for a safe trip, but you may not feel that you need to get too excited about emergency preparedness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your travels could go from dream to nightmare in just a few minutes, but with the proper preparations an emergency does not need to mean the end of a happy holiday. Look over the questions to which you answered “no” and concentrate on changing these to “yes” answers the next time you travel overseas.
If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions then you are well prepared for an emergency abroad. However, unless you answered “yes” to each question there are still further steps you can take to protect yourself while traveling overseas. While it’s appropriate to pat yourself on the back for your emergency preparedness don’t forget that you must prepare for each and every trip overseas, and that you might pick up extra tips and tricks while you travel as well. Every time you learn something new, build it into your preparations for the next trip – and don’t forget to share your handy hints with friends and family too!