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Top 10 Travel Emergency Tips

Natural Disasters

The Scenario:

Tornadoes sprout up across six states, leaving a path of destruction in their wake, as so happened in mid-2011. Or, earthquakes send panic and fear as residents prepare for a possible tsunami, as they did in Indonesia last year. Or, tropical storms and monsoon season cause massive flooding across the country, as they did in Thailand for nearly six months in 2011 and 2012. Regardless, you’re left stranded without transportation or a place to stay.

The Preparation:

• You can’t prepare for sudden acts of God like earthquakes and tsunamis, but major weather disasters – hurricanes, snowstorms, tornados – strike seasonally in specific parts of the world. To be safest, skip travel during those dicey seasons; otherwise, know the risks before you leave.

• Contact your hotel and airline beforehand to ask about their protocol for natural disaster credits or refunds, specifically if you’re traveling during a high-risk season.

The Solution:

• Follow the lead of your hotel staff. Most properties have procedures for natural disaster travel emergencies, such as sending all guests to the basement during a tornado.

• Above all, use common sense. If most residents are driving north to escape an approaching hurricane, do the same as soon as possible; there’s little benefit to waiting, as evacuation routes will be more crowded and lodging in safe zones fills up quickly. 

• After the crisis, take the government’s screening test on Disaster Assistance to determine if you’re eligible for assistance programs, such as reimbursements for medical expenses and property loss.

Molly Fergus


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