Monday, January 31, 2011

Vital Safety Tips for Travelers

Some 15 million people visit Egypt year. So its my guess that close to 1 million are now wishing that they had better emergency plans in place before they left home.
This is not to say they should have known they were going to a place that would become dangerous. Egypt hadn't had these types of violent protests in three decades. Statistically, the country has been as good as other major destinations at keeping its visitors safe.

But the lesson here is: no destination is always safe. As boyscouts know, its better to be prepared:
    Photo by Al Jazeera English
  • Consider registering your whereabouts with your country's State Department when you go abroad. That way they can reach out to help you should a political or natural disaster occur as they'll know how to find you.
  • Always keep your cellphone charged. If its not working, you can't use it in an emergency.
  • When calls aren't getting through, try texting. And keep trying. I just heard on the news about a young American woman who's studying in Cairo and had been trying to call her family for three days to let them know she was okay. She was finally able to get a text through, which takes less bandwidth.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. You want to know, roughly, where you are on a map at all times if possible. If you know that, you'll be able to formulate a better plan of escape should an earthquake alter the landscape; or the arrival of large crowds make it more difficult to tell where you are.
  • Carry some small pieces of food and water with you at all times. This one works for mom's like me, too. There's always a kid "emergency" that can be solved by helping up the little darlings blood sugar.
  • Make sure you have important documents copied and kept in a place online that's secure and easily accessible. You could be separated from your passport of plane tickets. Having access to them in a digital form could be a huge time-saver.
My thoughts are with the Egyptian people today. I have two not-so-simple hopes: that Mubarak steps aside peacefully, and that Egyptians get the right to elect their government when this is all over.

1 comment:

  1. Keep an eye on your bags. Many pubs will have clips or hooks under the tables where you can fasten your belongings and keep them close.