When Mother Nature Makes Your Travels Difficult
Here’s what you need to know to be safe, prepared, and happy
Usually when we travel, we don’t think about natural disasters. The only things on our minds are what and who we’re traveling with, having all of the necessary documents, money, and the address and phone of our hotel. But what do you do when natural disasters hit and you either can’t get to your destination or, worse, you can’t leave your destination to get back home? Well, I’m here to give you some solutions and tips so that you can either avoid this unpleasant occurrence or have enough knowledge to navigate while you are in the midst of Mother Nature’s upheavals!
Have you noticed that in the last 15 years we’ve seen lots of disasters both natural and man-made? We’ve been slammed with floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, wildfires, and volcanic eruptions. And they seem to be increasing. Japan, Hawaii, Iceland, and the US (just to name a few), recently, have had some form of natural disaster. Iceland’s volcanic eruption in 2010 which released ash clouds that spread over large parts of Europe, resulted in grounding 100,000 flights and forcing hundreds of Icelanders to evacuate their homes. Hurricane Otis ripped through Acapulco, Mexico, a well-known tourist destination resort area, causing great structural devastation, deaths and ruining of their tourist industry. An earthquake and the subsequent tsunami which resulted in Japan’s nuclear facility meltdown, in Fukushima, is something that none of us will forget anytime soon. Hawaii’s Maui wildfire disaster destroyed the historic town of Lahaina, with 1,700 buildings burned. And let’s not forget the multiple flooding, tornados, and wildfires throughout the United States. Needless to say, these occurrences in nature happen.
So, if Mother Nature decides to throw you a curveball, here’s a list of things you can do to be prepared and feel safe so that you can navigate through these crises.
Research Natural Disaster Risks:
- Understand the specific natural disaster risks of your destination.
- Be aware of the typical seasons for events like hurricanes or monsoons.
Emergency Evacuation Plans:
- Know the evacuation routes and emergency procedures at your accommodation.
- Identify safe zones and assembly points.
- Establish a communication plan with your travel companions.
- Share your itinerary and emergency contacts.
- Ensure your travel insurance covers natural disasters and evacuation expenses.
- Keep a copy of the policy and emergency contact numbers.
- Pack a basic emergency kit with essentials like a flashlight, first aid supplies, and non-perishable food items.
- Consider including a whistle and a multi-tool.
- Monitor local weather updates and news.
- Follow advice from local authorities and your embassy/consulate.
- Keep your phone charged and have a backup power source.
- Establish a central contact point for your group in case of separation.
Follow Local Authorities:
- Adhere to evacuation orders and guidance from local authorities.
- Seek shelter in designated safe zones.
- If staying in a hotel or accommodation, inquire about their emergency preparedness and evacuation plans.
- Choose buildings that adhere to safety standards.
Weatherproof Your Accommodation:
- Secure loose items in your accommodation that could become projectiles in strong winds.
- Familiarize yourself with emergency exits.
- Have a list of local emergency contacts, including the nearest hospital, police station, and embassy/consulate
- In the event of an earthquake, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”
- Remain calm and help others if needed.
- Be cautious of potential aftershocks and secondary hazards.
- Follow instructions from emergency responders.
Inform Loved Ones:
- Notify friends or family about your safety as soon as possible.
- Use social media or messaging apps to provide updates.
Assistance from Authorities:
- If needed, seek assistance from local authorities or emergency services.
- Contact your embassy for guidance and support.
Travelers should always take specific precautions when heading to destinations prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and other potential hazards. Remember that being well-prepared and staying informed are key factors in navigating natural disasters while traveling. Always prioritize your safety and the safety of those around you.