When it comes to international travel, many travelers are not prepared to handle the worst-case situations. Whether their travels take them across the border for a weekend, or halfway around the world, there several types of situations and circumstances that can have an effect on your life. It could be as simple as gate-checked luggage that got lost in transit, or as complex as a major catastrophe that threatens your life. No matter how it happens, a travel emergency can take away your travel documents, prescription medications, or other important items. And replacing all of them in the middle of a trip can be incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
Anytime you begin planning a trip abroad, be sure to create a travel emergency kit prior to departure. Here are four items that should be in your travel emergency kit before you hit the road.
Pertinent and legible photocopies of important documents
Regardless of how careful you are, it is possible to still lose your most important items. Travel documents, passports and prescription medications are often targeted for theft - and tourists are often considered easy marks.
A travel emergency kit should include legible photocopies of anything you may need to have replaced during your travels, including a government-issued ID and passport, as well as any prescription medications that are vital to your well being. Presenting a photocopy of your passport can make it easier for you to get a replacement if it is lost or stolen, while photocopies of visas can reduce your wait time for a replacement.
A list of emergency numbers and contact plans
In the event of an emergency in another country, would you know who to contact? Emergency symbols and numbers are different everywhere - do you know where to look if you need help?,
Your travel emergency kit should include important information on who to contact at home. This should include the name and phone numbers of emergency contacts, your travel insurance company, and instructions on how to reach them. Depending on where you are going, a prepaid telephone card can also help you stay connected if internet access is not available.
You should also have emergency numbers pre-programmed into your phone before you travel. Emergency numbers should include the national emergency line (the equivalent of 911 at the destination), any important contacts at home, contact information for the nearest embassy, and a contact number for your travel insurance provider. In most situations, your travel insurance provider will accept a collect call for assistance.
Finally, U.S. embassies around the world offer assistance to travelers who want to connect with friends and loved ones in the event of an emergency. Before you travel, be sure to enroll in the U.S. State Department STEP program. In the event of an emergency or warning, your nearest embassy may have a better chance of locating you and providing aid where necessary.
Backup plans in the event of an emergency
An international emergency can delay even the best laid plans. One unplanned mishap that is of no fault of the traveler, and the entire itinerary could be thrown away. Do you have an emergency plan ready if things go wrong?
A travel emergency kit should also include a backup copy your itinerary, along with any other pre-paid expenses you already incurred, such as event tickets and tour passes. Airline plans and schedules, international airline phone numbers, hotel information, and tour information should all be covered.
If something should happen during a trip abroad, you may be able to get back on track much easier with all the information in one place - as compared to having to struggle to find your travel plans from multiple e-mails or locations. Moreover, if you need to file a travel insurance claim, having supporting documents in one place can aid in your reimbursement process.
Travel insurance documents from your provider
International adventurers often purchase travel insurance to help them recover their costs if things go wrong. But how good is travel insurance if there’s no way to contact them for assistance in the event of an emergency?
As your partner in safe travels, a travel insurance provider can offer aid in many different directions. This can include finding a qualified medical facility, translation services, and even emergency evacuation services.
If you bought travel insurance, keep a copy of your policy documents inside your travel emergency kit, along with domestic and international contact numbers.With this information, you will always have policy qualifications in reach, with an immediate way to contact your travel insurance provider for assistance.
Though it may seem trivial, keeping a travel emergency kit can be critical to maintaining your safety around the world. With all of the pertinent information kept secured in one place, travelers will be able to secure assistance, no matter where they are in the world.