How-to Handle Travel Emergencies

End of Life Management Toolkit #9 | by Team Passare and Y Colaborative

TIP: Many of the recommendations in this eBook can be easily implemented on a daily basis wherever you live, because emergencies can happen whether you are at home or away.

True Travel Emergencies

Losing a passport or wallet, experiencing a health crisis, or surviving a natural disaster; all are real life events that can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Being prepared during travel emergencies may mean the difference between what is inconvenient and what could become catastrophic. Accidents, like the true travel adversities described here, happen when least expected. It’s worth reminding ourselves that the stories in the news can also happen to us.

  • On December 26th, 2004, a family is enjoying a long-awaited holiday in Indonesia when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake erupts under the Indian Ocean. Suddenly, a devastating super-tsunami hits without warning. The family barely survives and is eventually reunited, but by the day’s end, more than 150,000 lives are lost or missing. Millions more are homeless in over 10 countries, making this natural disaster one of the worst storms ever on the planet.
  • A group of friends gather for their annual summer hiking trip to California’s Yosemite National Park in August, 2012. They are all exposed to the deadly ‘hantavirus’ that has killed three people staying in the same area of the park. Two become ill and have to be evacuated.
  • In January 2012, a honeymooning couple is aboard a luxury cruise ship sailing toward the coast of Tuscany, Italy. Suddenly, their ship hits a reef and runs aground, killing 32 people. They are both injured and lose all of their luggage and identification in the resulting chaos.

Like the misfortunes described, we can’t always predict when travel predicaments will occur. However, we can plan ahead to ensure peace of mind before we leave and make the best of travel emergencies if they happen.

TIP: Don’t panic. The most important thing to have in any emergency is the ability to stay calm. Your life and the lives of your loved ones could depend on it.

1. What to do Before you Leave Home

Prepare ahead of your trip by following these recommendations:

  • Tell your loved ones where you are going. Give a copy of your itinerary to your family members or friends. Your itinerary should include:
      • Departure and arrival flight information
      • Dates and locations where you will be
      • Passport copy and number
      • Driver’s license number
      • Contact numbers for hotels where you will stay
      • Travel agency or tour company’s telephone number
      • Health insurance information
      • Family, trusted friends, and employer contact numbers
      • If traveling abroad, include your home country’s local embassy telephone number, plus the country code, for all countries you will visit.
  • If your children or pets remain at home, provide care arrangements and instructions, including doctors and veterinarian contact information. Read the sections, “What to Know if you Travel with Children,” and “What to Know if you Travel with Pets,” in this eBook for more information.
  • Keep a current paper list of important contact numbers with you, and a list at home, to contact your loved ones in an emergency.
  • Prepare a paper list of all current important documents, including your Advanced Healthcare Directive (AHD). Keep it in a secure place at home. Keep a backup of your important documents on a flash drive, or ”in the cloud,” so you can easily find them.
  • Assess your health for the type of travel you will do. See your medical care provider or other appropriate doctors. Refill all necessary prescription medication. Get necessary immunizations for the place(s) you will visit.
  • Purchase health insurance, if necessary. Keep your identification card with you.
  • Purchase travel insurance before your trip. You may need specific insurance for the type of trip you will take.
  • Ask the person with whom you are traveling to complete similar checklists to those presented in this eBook. Keep a copy of their identification with your own.
  • Ask friends or neighbors to watch your home while you are away.

TIP: Don’t rely solely on a cell phone or other mobile device for help or information when you travel, in case online services are unavailable, or your device is lost or stolen. Bring maps and hard copies of important information with you.

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