Everyone likes having a nice story to tell when they come back from vacation. However, trips away from home don’t always go as planned which can cause memories of that holiday to be tainted. Under such circumstances, there are more issues to be worried about than just ruined memories. Disasters and crisis out of our control can occur during travels and such situations need to be handled with care.
Pack Important Documents
In a waterproof bag, keep your travel documents (passport and cash), credit cards, printout of information for the contact of hotel, travel agent and embassy and your personal medical report. Try to carry an extra phone battery or power bank as well. During an emergency, this bag can be carried along easily. Make a copy of these documents and keep it in another luggage in case the document pack goes missing.
Earthquakes and Tsunami
If you’re travelling to places that are prone to common natural disasters like the above, you must:
• Research and find the safest travel period.
• Ensure that your travel insurance covers air flight, hotel and medical evacuation.
What to do in the event of a natural disaster:
• Go to designated safe area in the hotel or go to a corner in your room and huddle with hands or a pillow braced over your head.
• If trapped, don’t light a match as there may be gas leakage or trapped pressure. This may cause an explosion. Cover mouth and nose from dust.
• If building is not damaged, grab your document pack and walk quickly to an open area and listen for warning alarms and natural warnings too (a tsunami sounds like the roaring noise of a fast train).
• If you’re near a beach and suddenly notice people running away from the beach, follow suit and head to any concrete buildings and get to the second floor.
• Arrange to leave the area as soon as possible.
• Text your family or use social media to communicate that you are alright.
In some countries, especially the Middle East, it is very possible for unrest to break out unexpectedly. If this happens:
• Do not get involved. Stay out of any rally or riot areas.
• Do not try to approach, as you may get injured.
• Contact your embassy as they may have plans to evacuate their nationals. Contact the airline to change your ticket for the earliest flight out.
• Before you leave for your vacation, ensure your insurance covers the expenses of emergency travels for safety’s sake.
Getting Mugged & Losing Belongings
One of the biggest vacation spoilers of all time. If you lose any important travel documents, do:
• Go back to your hotel and fetch your duplicate set of documents before making a police report.
• Go to your embassy as they can help you with cancelling credit cards and getting replacement cards sent to you. Arrange for some cash and a flight ticket home.
• The embassy should be able to arrange for a temporary travel document to get you home.
• Contact your insurance company to clarify your scope of coverage.
Getting Injured Or Involved In Accident
Being abroad and in pain really sucks! As soon as you have received medical attention, do:
• Call your embassy to seek help for options of medical facilities.
• Contact your family or designate someone to make decisions on your behalf.
• Contact your insurance company who may be able to advice on specific medical facilities and arrange for transfer back to your home country.
Text by YY Chen