Here are some possible steps to take. Each and every emergency situation is different and possibly changing by the day — along with who the official authorities are. You will need creative and thoughtful responses but preparation will often make the difference between safety and danger.
PREPARE AN EXIT PLAN: Learn how to get to the airport in at least one and preferably two different ways. And don’t just think about flying. Rail routes, ships, and even cars can provide alternate ways out. We’ve even heard of people walking to safety. See what we mean about creativity?
Here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Pack an Emergency Kit. Ours includes a small flashlight, some bandages, antiseptic wipes, and food, such as energy bars. Pack a solar charger for your cell phone, in case electricity is out.
- Have Contingency Plans. Discuss with your travel companions ahead of time what to do in an emergency. Have a place to meet, in case you’re separated, and leave your itinerary and contact information with a friend at home who can act as a point person.
- Emergency Contact Methods: Egypt shut down Twitter and Facebook and much of the internet early in the demonstrations. Later, some internet was restored. Cell phone reception was spotty at times and non-existent at other times. Carry landline phone numbers with you and remember, if you can, how to dial an old fashioned phone. They usually work when all else fails.
- Keep Important Contacts Handy. Program critical information, such as passport number and contact information for your travel agent, airlines, hotels, and cruise lines into your smart phone or keep them on a flash drive. Also keep photocopies. Include information about any loyalty program you belong to, for rebooking flights or hotel rooms. If cell phone service is weak, text.
- Buy Travel Insurance. Trip cancellation, trip interruption, and trip delay insurance can reimburse you for your nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses if you cancel or interrupt your trip due to a host of unforeseen circumstances. But buy the insurance when you book your trip, or at least within two weeks of booking. If you’ve already booked a trip to Egypt, you can’t buy insurance now that will cover the current protests.
- Use a Travel Agent. When unforeseen incidents occur, your travel agent can rebook for you. They have relationships with airlines, hotels, and cruise companies that can be very useful in times of emergency. And remember what we said about internet agencies. Fine when the internet is working but what if it isn’t?
- Always check out the U.S. Department Of State website: www.travel.state.gov