” One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do.”
– Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
The best laid travel plans…we can painstakingly research, prepare, book, reserve, pack…all hell can still break loose…s*** happens!
Even though we can’t control every potential situation that may arise, with my suggestions and recommendations you will certainly be better prepared “just in case”..
Consider Travel Insurance:
- I know, I know, we all get cross-eyed just thinking about insurance jargon, but nowadays, it really is a good idea to cover your bases. You’ve invested a good amount of time and resources ($$) into this vacation, isn’t it worth protecting?
- Check the policies you already have first, such as homeowners, medical, etc. to be sure of what coverage you already have.
- Check with your credit card company. Often if you reserved or booked using a credit card, you have some sort of insurance – find out what it is.
- Fill in the gaps: You can pick and choose coverage for your trip (e.g., medical evacuation, cruise/vacation, flights, etc.)
- Go with a reputable company such as Travel Guard or TravelEx. Your travel advisor(me!) can help you.
- Bring insurance information with you (policy numbers, contact information).
Before You Leave Home:
- Take photos of your bag(s) and contents. That way, if they’re lost and you need to list contents, you have an accurate record.
- Bring extra reading glasses and meds and pack them in separate bags.
- Bring copies of your prescriptions, physician contact info, and any other pertinent medical info for every family member.
- Have a contact list with names, phone numbers and email addresses – you should keep a copy on you and pack a copy. In addition, a trusted relative or friend should have a copy. You can also email a copy to yourself.
- Pack a carry on with a change of clothes and basic necessities “just in case” your luggage is delayed or lost.
- Put ID labels/luggage tags on everything! (I use those return address labels we all get – they come in very handy!)
- Wallet or purse: Carry only enough cash and ID to get through the day. Secure the rest in your room safe.
- Remember that hotels/resorts, cruise lines, rental car companies, etc. waiver any responsibility for stolen or lost belongings so be sure to secure everything in your room as well. Put belongings away, zip bags, close drawers, etc.
- Passport/ID – only carry a copy, but if your passport is lost or stolen:
- Overseas – contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- In the U.S.– for more information, click here.
- Know and areas that are considered unsafe for tourists BEFORE you go. Be sure to book accommodations in safe locations.
- Don’t wander off alone – any where!
- Always have a back up plan just in case you get separated from your group or travel partner.
- Take something with you with the name/address (e.g., business card) of where you’re staying. Take a picture of the hotel entrance/name etc. with your smart phone.
- If you’re traveling with children, be sure they know what to do if you’re separated. Be sure that they have some sort of ID/contact info on them. Again, have photos of everyone on your smart phone.
- If you get lost of disoriented, find somewhere public and safe, such as a hotel lobby or coffee shop, and take a break to get your bearings.
“In Case of Emergency”: No one wants to think that “the worst could happen to them”, but we all know it does happen to some one…so best to be prepared!
- Know or carry information on how to contact the local embassy and/or consulate and local authorities.
- Every family/group member should have emergency contact info on them. If you carry a smart phone (and you should!), you can enter emergency contact info as well enter your hotel information into your contact list.
- Again, carry a business card or information of some sort from your accommodation so that, if you get lost or disoriented, you have it for reference.
- If traveling in a foreign country, it doesn’t hurt to know “help!” in their language.
- If you plan on driving a rental, read your rental contract carefully and understand your responsibilities and liabilities.
- Contact your auto insurance carrier prior to your departure to be sure you have adequate coverage and bring their contact info with you.
- If driving in a foreign country, you will probably need a temporary drivers license (AAA). Have a working knowledge of the signage, local driving laws and protocol.
- Always lock the car and stow any valuables, luggage, bags, etc. out of sight/ in the trunk.
The bottom line? Better safe than sorry!
See: The Savvy Traveler page for more helpful suggestions.
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Do you have any helpful suggestions for staying safe while traveling? Please share!