The news is rife with examples of, to put it lightly, things going wrong all around the globe. From natural disasters to accidents to violence from terrorism and other unforeseeable horrors, there’s simply no way to predict when and where an emergency situation might crop up.

But that’s no reason to avoid leaving home. Billions of people travel each year, and for the overwhelmingly vast majority of them everything is smooth sailing – the worst they have to worry about is getting a bout of food poisoning or pick-pocketed.

Even though your travels will probably go untarnished, it’s still a good idea to be prepared just in case the unexpected occurs. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re ready, come what may:

  • Save digital copies of documents via email

Before you leave home, gather scans of all important documents and send them to yourself via email. It’s also good to include any login information and pin numbers you might end up needing, if you don’t have them committed to memory.

  • Share your itinerary

Ask someone at home to hang onto copies of your most vital personal information and contact info for your hotel, and provide them with a detailed itinerary. It might also be wise to set up the occasional check in point so they know you’re on course.

  • Register with the embassy

If you’ll be in a first world country or a tourist hotspot, you can forget about this one. But if you’ll be off the beaten path in a developing nation, it can be a good idea register with the local embassy’s Smart Travel Enrollment Program.

  • Carry money and ID wisely

Don’t carry your passport, credit cards, and all your cash in one wallet. Keep everything broken up into different bags so that if you get one stolen, you have other options. And leave a debit card, some cash, and your passport back in the hotel safe. If you feel like you need ID with you, bring a photocopy of your passport.

  • Know where police stations and hospitals are

And research how to call them.

  • Get a prepaid local cellphone

Pretty much anywhere you go will offer cheap phones for temporary use. Enter the number for your hotel and maybe even a taxi driver you can trust.

  • Bring enough meds

If you take essential medications, be sure to bring extra doses. If something goes wrong, who knows when you’ll be able to get a refill?

  • Pay attention

Look at the news for the region you’ll be visiting, and if there is potential for political unrest of any kind, check for warnings from the State Department. Once you’re there, if things hit the proverbial fan, watch how the locals react. They’ve usually been through it before.

  • Play it smart

If things go wrong, don’t try to be some macho hero and save the day unless you are absolutely sure that there is no other option. Don’t risk getting you or your family hurt because your pride can’t stand being robbed for a few bucks. Those who are smart and walk away live to travel another day.


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