Disaster While Traveling: Travel Smarter

It seems everywhere I turn lately, there is some sort of natural disaster on the news. From Maui to Morocco, fires to earthquakes, a disaster can happen anytime anywhere.

Yes, today’s blog may seem like a real bummer. Believe me, these are the LAST things I want to think about (or have thought about!) on my travels. But honestly, after the recent disaster in Maui – a place that lets face it, with water everywhere, I never would have thought of fires being an issue before – it really has had me thinking about what we would do if we were there and how I would protect my family.

So, after much research, I’ve come up with a few things I think would be beneficial to do no matter where you are traveling, and I hope this helps you (but I hope you never have to actually use it)!

Plan Ahead

First, planning ahead is crucial. Do some research to know what types of natural disasters have happened before where you are traveling (i.e., are they prone to earthquakes? tornadoes?). If it is an area known for typhoons or hurricanes, know if you are traveling during that season. Search for news about the area before you go – are there fires anywhere near where you are going? Is a storm expected when you are there? Information is power.

Travel Insurance

Speaking of planning ahead, let’s talk about travel insurance. I know this is a hot topic – some people swear by it, some people swear they will never get it. I totally understand. We do not always get travel insurance, but I base that decision on a few factors:

  • How far are we traveling and how much would it cost to get home or to a hospital quickly?
  • Who is traveling / what age are they?
  • What is the cost of the trip?

Bottomline, it is up to you. For me, I know anytime I cruise I’m going to get travel insurance. Since there are no hospitals in the middle of the ocean, it gives me comfort to have it. All other travel for us is on a case-by-case basis. You do you.

To Go Bag

Hopefully you will never need this, but it is something that will make your life much easier if you do. I recommend having a bag that you know is your “To Go Bag” if you need to evacuate or move locations quickly without all of your belongings. Think about the things you can’t live without (or living without would be very difficult) for a few days. Make sure everyone knows where the To Go Bag is and what is in it.

Tip

If you are from the United States, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is an easy way to enroll your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate when you are traveling abroad. This helps the Embassy, and your friends and family in the U.S., contact you if a natural disaster happens. When you sign up for STEP, you can use the Smart Traveler app to get updates right away.

Other Helpful Tips

Here are a few other random tips that may help you before or during a disaster.

  • If you are traveling out of your home country, find out what the local emergency (like 911 in the U.S.) phone number is.
  • Download apps for your airline, hotels, and travel providers in advance. This is a great way to find information quickly and many offer two-way communication via the app which may be quicker than a phone call.
  • Save the local embassy’s phone number in your phone along with their address.
  • If you chose to purchase Travel Insurance, make sure you have all of the insurance information and contact numbers printed in your To Go Bag and in your phone.
  • Choose at least one person back home to send your complete itinerary before you leave. Include flight numbers, hotel names and contact information, really anything you know in advance about your trip. If traveling abroad, leaving a copy of your passports with this person is also a good idea.

I hope this was helpful and I hope you never need it! It’s important to not let the potential for disasters prevent us from traveling. We just need to be smart, be aware of our surroundings and prepared.

Now, get out there and go see something! 🧳

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