How to Prepare for Travel Disaster

The world has always had its security challenges for vacationers, and now in the wake of the two metro bombings in Moscow, Russia, this fact is again brought home to us. These events, along with the State Department's warnings to Spring Break travelers to Mexico, and the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chili, prompted travel editor Jeff Greenburg to offer tips on what to do should you encounter a problem, or as he called it, a "travel disaster."

Since so many of you are timeshare owners in foreign countries, and many more of you enjoy timeshare exchanges around the globe, we would like to pass along some of Jeff Greenburg's suggestions. The problems of the world will always be with us, and instead of canceling travel plans, the best advice is to go on your planned vacations but be armed with knowledge that will help you if you do encounter problems.

When you travel you hope for a relatively peaceful trip, but as everyone knows, anything can happen from losing your travel documents to encountering weather problems and natural disasters to the scare of a terrorist attack.

Greenburg's first suggestion is to make copies of important documentation and contact information. Give copies of your itinerary, along with contact names and telephone numbers, to friends, family and even co-workers. Make sure that everyone in your traveling party also carries the same information. And be sure to copy the front page of your passport that contains the critical documentation the U.S. Embassy will need to replace your passport if it is lost or stolen.

Bring extra batteries for your electronic devices, including your cell phone, blackberry and laptop. And remember to pack universal plug adaptors so your chargers can be plugged in.

Greenburg suggests checking travel warnings and advisories but states that you'll get more comprehensive information by going beyond the U.S. State Department bulletins. His advice is to also check with the foreign countries themselves as they often send out more detailed alerts to their own citizens.

In the wake of vacationers' experiences with the massive earthquakes in Haiti and Peru, Greenburg states that medical evacuation and repatriation insurance is a must. In the case of no commercial air service, a medical evacuation company can schedule dedicated air ambulance service to get you out.

Always know where the embassies of Canada, Great Britain and Australia are located. Often, in response to certain types of disasters, the U.S. embassy has to close. Greenburg has found these three countries to always be helpful and accommodating.

Oh, and Greenburg's final tips: "Pack a small flashlight. And I always pack duct tape. It's amazing when this will come in handy, even if there is no disaster!"
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