In this day and age, it seems like between mother nature and world affairs, traveling abroad is a dicey state of affairs. The fact is, despite how it may seem, this is one of the most peaceful eras in history. You’d never know it, though, because now we have access to all kinds of information. In our pockets, we carry the news of the world, delivered at lightning speed. It’s not that things are worse, per se, it’s that we know all about what’s happening.
That said, you may still encounter an act of terrorism, or get hit with a natural disaster when overseas. There isn’t much you can do to plan around this before it happens, but here are some things to do in the rare case that you experience a disaster abroad.
Mother Nature Strikes
When you’re booking your trip, there’s no way to know when a typhoon is going to hit Hong Kong, or a hurricane is set to pummel the Caribbean, but these things do have a little bit of warning, so the one thing to do is keep an eye on the news. You can do one of two things: get out, and if evacuation is the recommended plan LEAVE! Definitely. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay there. If it’s looking like a smaller offense, or if the disaster has little warning, ask your hotel concierge or the American embassy what actions they recommend you take. Load up on food and water, as you would at home, and when the disaster passes, make sure to contact your loved ones so they know you’re all right. The news sensationalizes everything, so you want them to know it’s not as bad as they may imagine.
In the event your vacation destination isn’t in such good shape after the event, then you should try to leave. Take a train, rent a car,or book a flight. Again, you don’t have to end it all, but you don’t need to stay in the city if it’s under distress. Unless, of course, you want to help with volunteer work. That’s up to you, but you’re not a bad person for leaving.
An Act of Terrorism
Go ahead and consider the 365 days in a year. Now multiply that by five. Finally, count how many days that city was under terrorist attack. Those are your chances of encountering an act of terror. So, it’s low that anything is actually going to happen to you while abroad. But let’s say it does. First, if you’re in the line of action do whatever you need to do to get safe. By the time you’re out of harm’s way, the very first thing to do is to call your loved ones. They, no doubt, are freaking out. Next, find the news. If you see a police officer on the street, ask them what’s happening. They are there to keep you safe, so this is a totally okay thing to do. If they are dressed in bullet proof vests and carrying guns, they may be intimidating, but they’re there to protect you, so don’t worry. You can also ask strangers. In a time of distress, people band together.
Over the next few days, if you feel unsafe, it’s okay to leave and go some place else. If you’d like to stay, just stay on top of the news. Don’t go out late at night, and keep a vigilant eye. The good news is, terrorism rarely strikes more than once, so you’re probably very safe for the rest of your trip. With all questions, contact the American embassy with advice. That’s what they’re there for.
Have you ever been abroad during a disaster? What’s your story?