This week concludes National Preparedness Month. While we often associate preparedness with being ready for disasters at home, it’s equally crucial to extend that mindset to our travels. Whether you’re planning an exotic vacation or a road trip or a weekend getaway, incorporating travel preparedness into your plans can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.
Below are some tips to enhance your travel preparedness.
1 - Research your destination
Before leaving your home and going on your expedition, gather important information about where you’re going. It is important to not just learn about the local culture, customs and laws, but also the weather conditions that area faces.
It may also be a good idea to learn of any nearby hospitals and embassy (if you are traveling overseas). Share the information with someone you trust.
2 - Pack an emergency kit
When you’re traveling, it’s a good idea to always carry an emergency kit. A typical disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items, often found in your household, that you may need in the event of an emergency. If you’re away from your home for an extended period of time, consider creating an emergency kit just for your journey.
An emergency kit should contain everything you need to survive on your own for several days. In addition to packing basics like food, water, a first aid kit and a flashlight, you may want to consider other items specific to your car. This can include:
- Jumper cables.
- Flares or reflective triangle.
- Ice scraper.
- Car cell phone charger.
- Cat litter or sand (for better tire traction).
If you are taking transportation that limits what you can carry, such as flying, then consider how you can consolidate and minimize items. For example, instead of carrying water, you could use a water filtration device and/or purifying tablets. Visit CDC.gov for a comprehensive overview on how to decontaminate water.
While you’re away from home, keep back-ups of important documents like your passport, ID, travel insurance and/or reservations, and keep them away from your originals. Consider using digital copies stored securely in a password-protected location online for ease-of-access.
3 - Communicate and practice your plans
Communication networks, such as mobile phones and computers, could be unreliable during disasters, and electricity could be disrupted. Planning in advance will help ensure that all the members in your travel group—including children and people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, as well as caregivers—know how to reach each other and where to meet up in an emergency.
Planning starts with three easy steps:
- Collect – create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools or service providers. Be sure to share this information with those who need to know within your network.
- Share – make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse or wallet. If you complete your Family Emergency Communication Planonline, you can print it onto a wallet-sized card. You should also share a copy of your plan with someone you trust that will not be included in your travel plans.
- Practice – have a meeting to review and practice your plan with your travel group.
Consider using the Make a Plan Form on Ready.gov to communicate and practice your plan.
Travel preparedness is an essential part of every journey. By following these tips and integrating them into your travel plans, you can ensure a memorable adventure no matter what kind of travel you embark on. Remember, being prepared is the best way to turn any trip into a worry-free experience.
For additional information, visit Older Adults | Ready.gov.