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Top 5 Pieces of Advice for Travellers Facing a Natural Disaster

Typhoon
Photo taken by Stephen Wheeler / flickr.  Typhoon

A strong earthquake in Ecuador during the peak of the tourist season has reminded us that a natural disaster can befall travellers in any place at any time. A strong typhoon in the Philippines, a tsunami in Japan or Malaysia, fires in Australia – one doesn’t have to look far for examples. Here are several pieces of advice from Travel On Spot on how to travel safe.

1. Travel Insurance

Travel case
Photo taken by Emma Jane Hogbin Westby / flickr.  Travel case

Travel insurance is a must in ANY trip. Pay attention to the terms and conditions, services in case of emergency, monetary payouts and other additional safety guarantees.

Those who think insurance is just a formality would benefit from taking the time to calculate how much everything would cost in case they come to require medical help, surgery or special medication. At times like these, insured travellers can save hundreds, even thousands of euros.

2. Consider the Risks

Helicopter evacuation in Himalaya
Photo taken by Valcker / flickr.  Helicopter evacuation in Himalaya

These days, some disasters can be predicted. The example of Nepal and Kathmandu might not be the best one, but even in that case it was known that the Himalayas might soon be shaken by a powerful earthquake. Most of the other elements are rampant only during certain months.

Remember to always be vigilant. Even though there’s no need to walk around with your eyes peeled all day, listening to weather forecasts, talking to the locals and staying away from dangerous places will go a long way in helping you to avoid any gratuitous trouble.

3. Make Your Location Known

Pakistan Disaster Relief
Photo taken by DVIDSHUB / flickr.  Pakistan Disaster Relief

No matter how strong the desire to get away from relatives, co-workers and acquaintances, be sure to entrust someone with your contact information. Also, try to find the contacts of the closest embassy of your country – just in case you might need it later. During an extreme situation, this might save you and your relatives a lot of unnecessary distress.

4. Don’t Rely on Technology Alone

Typhoon Helen, Philippines
Photo taken by Roberto Verzo / flickr.com.  Typhoon Helen, Philippines

Today, all of the information we need can often be stored on a smartphone or a computer. During a trip, and especially in case of a natural disaster, however, you might find yourself in a situation with no electricity and/or satellite connection, not to even mention the physical destruction of theft of your digital devices.

With this in mind, we recommend you always carry an old-fashioned notebook (waterproof, ideally) with all of you most important contacts, personal information, places and addresses you might find useful in case of emergency.

5. Don’t Be Passive

Seconds after christchurch earthquake
Photo taken by Mark Guadalupe / flickr.  Seconds after christchurch earthquake

If you’re facing any type of natural disaster, sitting and waiting for fate to make your decisions for you is certainly not the best course of action. Always try to shake off the stupor that often comes about during an unexpected and violent event and identify the best solution. In case of flood – run to higher ground; if there’s an earthquake – retreat to an open space; and if you find yourself in strong winds – look for an appropriate shelter. The most important thing is to just act.

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