As thousands of vacationing families are stranded in Rhodes, Greece on account of wildfires, a family travel experts have revealed what to do and what not to do if your vacation is ever cut short by a natural disaster.
When traveling, it’s crucial to be well-prepared and know what to do in case a natural disaster occurs during your vacation.
Experts have shared these top 5 DOs and DON’Ts:
What to Do:
Stay Informed: Before and during your trip, keep yourself updated on weather conditions and potential natural disasters in the area you’re visiting. Use reliable sources such as local news, government advisories, or weather apps. During the trip, if the worst happens, identify safe zones or shelters in the area you are visiting and familiarize yourself with the local evacuation procedures – your embassy can help with this.
Stay Together: Your primary priority should be the well-being of yourself and your family. Once you have a POA for getting to safety, ensure the family stays together at all times. Assign roles to adults to keep track of kids and important belongings.
Keep Important Documents: Have copies of essential documents like passports, identification, travel insurance, and emergency contacts. Keep them in a waterproof and easily accessible bag. Make sure your kids have copies of their identification documents and your contact details on their person.
Communicate with Next of Kin: Whether this means a social media update, access to your Find my Friends (an Apple location tool) or a message through your embassy, make sure you let your loved ones know how you’re doing.
Pack an Emergency Kit: If you have even a few minutes to spare, pack a lightweight emergency kit containing bottled water, necessary medication and first aid and pre-packaged food. Ensure you don’t pack unnecessary non-essentials that might slow you down during an evacuation.
What Not to Do:
Ignore Warnings: Take all warnings and advisories seriously, even if it means altering your travel plans and losing some money. Ignoring warnings can put the lives of your family at risk as well as the lives of rescue operations personnel.
Rely Only on GPS: Don’t solely rely on GPS navigation during emergencies, as it may not be updated with the latest information on road closures or hazards.
Don’t Forget About Emotional Well-being: Children may be scared during emergencies. In addition to their physical safety, it’s crucial to find ways to distract and entertain kids, even in difficult circumstances, to provide some sense of normality and comfort.
Rely on Unfamiliar Food/Water Sources: Stick to your emergency supplies or pre-packaged food and bottled water. Avoid consuming local food or water that might be contaminated after a disaster.
Neglect Travel Insurance: Ensure you have appropriate travel insurance that covers natural disasters and emergencies, including evacuation expenses.