Just read a disturbing article online with a corresponding video of the news coverage about a man from my hometown who was robbed at gunpoint while on a family vacation on the exact island I just returned home safely from barely a month ago. Seeing that made me realize just how cruel the world can be, even on one of the most beautiful islands on the planet, and is the drive behind this particular post. It was reported that the home the family was staying at was equipped with security cameras and also had a security guard, but the attackers were able to disarm the guard and forced their was into the home. I pray that man pulls through, as it was reported that he was air-lifted to a Florida hospital.
Because of this, I feel it necessary to share some tips on how to prepare for emergencies while traveling to foreign countries.
What would you do in an emergency in a foreign country? Do you know how to call 911 or emergency services?
First things first, while preparing for your trip, visit the Emergencies Abroad page on the U.S. Department of State’s website. There you sign can up for a free service called STEP which stands for Smart Travelers Enrollment Program and also features great emergency resources. The page also features a search box where you can enter the name of the country you’re visiting and view the emergency phone numbers and email address to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the event of an emergency, as well as provide you with alerts and current travel warnings issued for that country. It’s a very useful tool.
Next, write the emergency info down, take screens shots, save the webpage as a favorite or as a new contact in your phone’s address book, email it to yourself or print out the information…whichever works for you. Having the information handy, in more than one form can assist you dearly. If you misplace or lose one form, you’ll have another form as your back up. Upon arrival to your hotel, resort, or place of stay, be sure to ask the conceirge or front desk personnel how to contact the police in the event an emergency situation arises while you’re away from your hotel.
Last, but definitely not least, share that information with your trusted emergency contact, just as I’ve mentioned to do in my Protecting Your Essential Documents post.
Be informed, stay alert, and ALWAYS travel smart!
Stay safe folks!