Playing through the scenarios of the bad things that can happen while traveling is not the fun part of travel. But it is necessary. Experience a travel emergency and you'll become a believer.
Travel emergency planning involves equipping ourselves with the tools and risk avoidance strategies necessary to avoid emergency situations or lessen their impact. If done thoroughly, we can minimize our risk of loss and danger.
I've had several personal run-ins with emergencies abroad. I contracted Malaria in Ghana and was bedridden for nearly a week. Immediately after that I had my laptop stolen from a hostel. And most recently I experienced an earthquake in Mexico City. The common factor between all of those situations is that they caught me by surprise, and totally without an understanding of my risk or the factors that could have contributed to those emergencies---and the power that I had to lessen that risk.
Additionally, recent incidents involving civil unrest in Haiti, wildfires in Greece, and a boating accident in Missouri all negatively impacted travelers, and even resulted in deaths. What would I, or you have done if we found ourselves in the midst of either situation? What would we have done beforehand to increase our awareness about risk factors and decrease our risk of being in danger?
I have segmented emergency factors into three categories, according to those we have control over, and those that we do not have control over. They include:
Examples: governments, mother nature, other people
Our control level: No control
Examples: immediate surroundings, individuals in our line-of-sight, buildings, vehicles, animals
Our control level - Medium to No control
Examples: our body, our mind, our property
Our control level - Total control
I recorded a video on this topic during which I focused on how to plan ahead for a range of emergencies that can impact your trip, and what you can do ahead of time relative to the factors listed above. During the video session, I hone in on how to mitigate and lessen your risk of loss and injury by providing you the tools to adequately plan for an unforeseen emergency. You can watch it here.
Special shout out to my friend Bill DelGrosso for his expertise as I prepared this session. He is a 25+ year veteran emergency manager currently working in the Middle East.
You can download a complimentary copy of the Travel Emergency Checklist below: