If you are an avid traveler like me then you probably follow the travel news. Did you read about the Italian Cruise Ship – the Costa Concordia – which ran aground, tipped over, and essentially sank yesterday (1/13/2012) off the Northwest Coast of Italy? (Click here for story) Several persons died, more were injured, and everyone had to abandon ship in the middle of the night with hardly any notice. The whole situation was obviously very chaotic and it got me to thinking about how important it is to be prepared for emergency situations when traveling. One key element in my planning for a travel emergency is my Emergency “GO” Kit. Let me explain.
The idea of a “GO” kit or bag is not an idea of my creation. Many people, families, professionals have used the concept, especially in their homes, for some time. I heard about it first from friends in the military and law enforcement fields. The idea is to keep a kit – could be a duffel bag, a suite case, a brief case, whatever – pre packed with critical items that you would absolutely want to have with you if -say – you had to quickly leave your home without knowing when or if you would be able to return. You can’t take everything you want – but you must have some things. The challenge, of course, is to think in advance and determine what you would need in such a circumstance. That way you are prepared to act at a time when there may not be adequate time to think and pack.
I apply the “GO” kit concept to my travels. I keep my critical things in my backpack or on my person when traveling. These are the things I feel are most important for me to be able to carry on in a worst case scenario. (My hotel burns down, my luggage is lost – whatever) I am never without these items. My “GO” kit typically includes the following items at a minimum:
Passport, drivers license, money,credit cards, transportation tickets,glasses. I always keep my iPhone with me which works not just for communication but also holds all my contact and schedule information related to my home as well as critical information and phone numbers related to my travels (U.S. Embassy, Travel Agent, etc.) Other critical items include a small flashlight, Swiss Army Knife, Excedrin, Ibuprofen, band aides, pen, and a small note pad.
It’s not a big list. It’s pretty basic. But the idea is – if absolutely necessary I have everything that I need and I will be able to manage even if I needed to do without everything else. I have identification. I know who to contact for assistance. I have funds to handle expenses. I can find my way in the dark and have a small tool which can serve many purposes. You get the idea. It’s the old Boy Scout thing – Be Prepared.
As I said, I keep these items with me all the time when I travel. (And of course – since I use a back pack frequently I have other items with me as well – camera, sweat shirt, bottle of water, etc.) When I return to my hotel for the night, I put everything in my back pack. That way, if I need to vacate the room in a hurry I know where my critical stuff is. I should also add that before retiring for the night I “pre position” shoes, socks, and clothing so that if an emergency arises, and if time allows, I can dress quickly without having to make wardrobe decisions. (Remember also that I am a photographer – my camera gear is already in my backpack! Gotta have that gear – especially in a travel emergency!)
Some of my friends think this is all a bit paranoid. Guess I would rather be a bit paranoid than big time out of luck. Better safe than sorry? In a travel emergency I think so. What do you think? What do you keep in your “GO” kit?
(By the way – I think the gentleman traveler in the photo above may have taken this “be prepared” concept a bit too far? )
Be Prepared………And Enjoy The Adventure!
Dr.B, The PhotoTrekker
© 2012, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.