I think it is important for all travelers, whether you are young or old, solo traveling or on a tour, to carry an emergency bag and emergency instructions. Strangely, few of us do this and it is so helpful to have because…..well, you never know.
So what is this bag? I use a small simple ziplock bag that can be stuffed into a pocket or a safe place in a daypack…someplace separate from your passport, money, and credit cards which should be in your OTHER little ziplock bag!
The emergency bag serves two purposes; one, it is a backup for your important stuff in your main bag in case that bag gets stolen or lost, and, secondly, it has the same emergency instructions.
The emergency bag has a copy of your passport and airline ticket info, any really important medical info, an alternate credit or debit card, and about fifty bucks in cash in local currency. And there is a paper with five important sentences in english and the local language if you can Google translate it or get someone to translate it). Even if you can’t, at least have it in English…it is better than nothing.
1) Take me to an Internet Cafe.
This is a wonderful place to go if you get lost because it is open most hours, safe, and has a method of communication for you. You can send emails, use Skype to make a phone call, research where or what you need to do on the Internet, and there are people there who might be able to help you out. Often, there are students there and a good number might speak your language.
2) Take me to a nice hotel.
This is a safe place to go where you can get some assistance; usually there is some access to Internet or phones and staff that might speak your language.
3) Take me to the hospital.
4) Take me to the police station.
5) Take me to the (your county) embassy (only good if you are in the capital city).
The last three are obviously for serious emergencies. The first two are what you are most likely to use when you just get lost or confused. The money will pay the taxi driver to get you to one of those five places.
The reason both your main bag and emergency bag are small ziplock bags is to prevent them from water damage (like when you got nailed in a tropical rain shower or you dropped your bag in a lake while sightseeing on a small boat).
If you have some emergency medical stuff with you like a shot that needs to be given to you or some medicine if you collapse, instructions for that should be in English and the local language (if you can manage it through a Google translator before you go).
Emergency contacts and their phone numbers are also a good idea. If someone has to use their phone or a public phone to call for you, that local cash is good to have to give them to get them to make the call.
You might think of a couple of other useful things to include in your bag, but these basic items are my most important items.
Most of the time you will never need to use your emergency bag, but, you will be glad you have it if you suddenly find yourself in a spot of trouble.
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2016 Older Women, Cheap Travel trips! Nicaragua in January, India in March, Mongolia in July, and Mexico in October! http://www.olderwomencheaptravel.com/upcomingtrips.html