TIPS FOR STAYING PREPARED WHILE ON VACATION
Summer’s here and for families this usually means hitting the road or taking to the air for family vacation. One of the more difficult times to stay prepared is while traveling but with a little planning, you can still maintain your preparedness level. Do some preliminary research before you get to your destination and find out what kind of disasters are possible and determine what you might need. It’s also important to remember being prepared isn’t just about disasters; wherever you may be there are plenty of everyday emergencies to be prepared for.
Carrying a standard complement of preparedness items with you while traveling is a daunting task, either due to lack of available space in your vehicle or luggage. If flying, you’ll have even more restrictions placed on what items you can take with you. Some items, like pocket knives, can be packed into your checked baggage, but many items cannot, including firearms and anything pressurized or flammable, such as pepper spray and butane lighters. This makes for a much more difficult task of staying prepared.
While there is little you can do about airline restrictions, once you get to your destination, a quick trip to the local superstore, hardware or dollar store can provide you with some readiness items. Before you leave give them to your hosts or donate to the local thrift stores.
One of the more common issues with traveling, especially air travel, is dealing with the inevitable and numerous delays. While certainly annoying for adults, these boring delays are especially hard on kids. Have a plan for dealing with these eventualities including games, books, and other entertainment. Electronic devices are also a popular way to occupy time, so be sure to pack your charging cords and have external batteries.
If you’ll be taking the family car but find you don’t have enough space for both luggage and your emergency packs, swap out your prep items for smaller items or only take the most important. You can even supply each person with a small emergency kit that fits into his or her purse or small backpack. At the minimum, each of these kits should be able to handle the following areas: first aid, shelter, fire starting, water treatment, food, signaling and navigation. These are typically the most important areas in any scenario. Of course, make sure everyone knows how to use their kits safely.
Before hitting the road, make sure your Vehicle Emergency Kit is ready to go. You can either buy a premade kit, like the one from Legacy Foods, or assemble your own. Make sure you can handle roadside emergencies, like flat tires and dead car batteries, along with having a first-aid kit, gloves, flashlight and some tools. This is in addition to the emergency kits you and your family carry.
Whether on the road or flying across the country, it’s a good idea to have water and snackswith you along with some basic first-aid and hygiene items. Note that carrying liquids through airport security is very limiting, so plan on stocking up on small items once you pass through the security gates. If possible, plan for an overnight stay in the airport. Severe weather, mechanical delays, disasters, and terrorism might be reasons for delayed plane flights. Being stuck in an airport with no personal amenities can quickly turn into a nightmare. If you don’t have room for a small pillow and blanket a long coat can serve as a blanket and a sweater or shirt can double as a pillow.
Once at your destination, take time to review the potential dangers of being in a new place, especially with your children. Make sure everyone knows how to get in contact with each other and where they can go for help. Before you head out, print out and have everyone carry an itinerary and a list of important addresses and phone numbers, including hotel and local police and fire locations. If you have younger children who have their own phone, consider changing their phone’s lock screen to your contact information. This way if they get lost someone will know how to contact you even if their phone is locked. If you have very young children either a pinned note or a necklace with emergency contact information is a good idea.
Family vacation doesn’t have to mean you reduce your preparedness level. In fact, traveling with your family in a strange or foreign place actually calls for more preparedness. With a little planning and creative thinking, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation and know you’ve taken steps to keep your family safe.