Traveling is good for your overall health. Studies suggest that hitting the road can lower your risk of heart problems, relieve stress, and recharge your mind. However, it is not without costs. Traveling can open you to risks that are both costly and troublesome. For example, falling ill during a trip abroad is an expensive experience compared to when it happens at home.
There are a lot of nightmare holiday stories that can truly traumatize, and even discourage, travelers. Accidents can happen, while others experienced immigration problems and a few almost went to jail. It is important to prepare for travel emergencies to avoid unnecessary expenses and headaches.
As good advice to travelers, Benjamin Franklin offered these words: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. The key is travel emergency preparedness.
Check out this guide to a hassle-free vacation.
Falling ill during a vacation: get vaccinated
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One of the most common bad travel experiences stories is falling ill while on vacation. Instead of exploring new places and meeting new friends, you are stuck in your hotel room, or worse, confined in a hospital throughout your trip. Avoid this misfortune by preparing a travel safety plan. The first on the list is getting vaccinated.
Many countries require travelers to get vaccines against selected diseases including cholera, hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, meningococcal disease, rabies, tick-borne encephalitis, typhoid fever, and yellow fever. The immigration office may add others. But even if you are traveling locally, it is a must to get your routine vaccines updated.
Getting confined in a hospital: secure travel insurance
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Whether your travel destination requires travel insurance or not, your travel preparation checklist must include travel insurance coverage. Insurance serves as protection from possible financial losses. These risks include in-patient and out-patient medical treatment, personal accident, medical repatriation, and death. Comprehensive insurance coverage also provides protection against personal liability, theft, and baggage delay.
Before your trip, seek travel insurance advice from a licensed agent. Know the risks, their extent and limits, and the partner clinics and hospitals in your destination. You should also have their hotlines on speed dial in case of an emergency.
Suffering from an injury: bring a first-aid kit
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Backpackers and those fond of outdoor activities are especially prone to get injured. Minor slip-and-fall injuries, as well as cuts, are common. You can, and should, address these immediately with disinfectant and an elastic bandage. One of the things to prepare before traveling is a first-aid kit. Your kit must have a digital thermometer, paracetamol, ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea tablets, antibacterial ointment, alcohol wipes, bandages (in assorted sizes), gauze pads, medical tape, and sharp tweezers.
For a more serious injury, do not hesitate to go to a hospital. Your travel health insurance will cover the necessary medical treatment.
Losing your valuables: prepare back-ups
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The reason why preparation is needed before your travels is to avoid any accidents and bad experience that can ruin your entire holiday. What do you do when you lose your passport, wallet, and other valuables? The loss can be due to negligence or theft. The first and most important thing to do is to calm down. You will not be able to think right if you are panicking. Next, go to the nearest consulate or embassy to report your missing passport and call your bank to cancel your credit cards.
Before you travel, order a backup ATM card from your bank. Place one in your wallet and the other in a safe in your hotel. Print or jot down your bank account and credit card information, and keep the sheet in a safe. Store the contact numbers of your consulate or embassy and banks in your phone.
Getting into a legal problem: research on your destination
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As a traveler, it is your obligation to know the rules and regulations in your destination. After all, ignorance excuses no one from compliance. This due diligence applies even if you are not traveling abroad. If you are flying to Boracay, you should know that it is illegal to take sand and pebbles from any of the beaches.
Probably the worst travel experience you will ever have is to get into a legal problem. But what do you do when that happens? Make sure you have access to legal counsel. It can also help to have extra cash if you are charged with a fine. If you are going abroad, contact the nearest consulate or embassy.
Prevention is always better than cure. Research about your destination and read up on the dos and don'ts. Most beach destinations in the Philippines prohibit smoking on the beachfront. Chewing gum is illegal in Singapore. You are obliged to dress modestly in Qatar and the UAE. Do the necessary research about the country you are traveling and make sure you properly comply.
Experiencing a natural disaster: stay tuned to local news
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Natural disasters are events that are unforeseen and inevitable. You can only mitigate losses, whether in injuries or finances. There is only one thing you should do during a typhoon, earthquake or any other disaster: follow the instructions of local authorities. Sure, your itinerary is ruined, but your safety is more important than anything else.
How to prepare for natural disasters while on vacation? Stay tuned to local news before and on your departure day. Make sure your travel insurance includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. This coverage provides everything necessary for evacuation to a medical facility, medically equipped flights to return home, or the repatriation of mortal remains to your primary country. The difference between medical evacuation and repatriation is that the former caters to living individuals while the latter is for the deceased.
Finally, prepare a travel emergency kit that consists of the contents of your first-aid kit, extra clothes, bottled water, and ready-to-eat food, and a blanket. You will not know when an evacuation is needed.
Taking time off from your daily activities is good for your overall well-being. It can reduce stress, stave off burnout, and boost creativity. However, encountering an emergency such as falling ill or suffering from an injury can eliminate the positive points of traveling. Take note of these travel tips for emergencies to save yourself from unnecessary expenses and hassles. Prepare for the unexpected, insure yourself from risks, and always be a discerning traveler.