International Travel – How to Plan for Emergencies

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,518
    AAA travel expert Betsy Sell discusses how to plan for emergencies while traveling.

    Betsy Sell: Hello! I am Betsy Sell from AAA Travel and today we are discussing the basics of international travel. Let's talk about how to plan for emergencies when you travel. Things like what to do about travel documents, emergency contacts, medical and financial emergencies. So what's the best way to safeguard your travel documents? First, make two copies and leave a set at home and keep one with you separate from the originals. Keep original documents in a safe place on your person or safely stored at your hotel. Do not pack these items in your checked bags. You will have to show original documents at the airport, so keep them in an accessible secure spot. You do not want to have to dig through all your belongings to find them. Consider scanning an additional set and e-mailing to yourself to an account you can access. Your copies will help you obtain replacements for any lost, stolen or misplaced documents. You need to carry a government issued photo ID on you at all times. This can be your driver's license from home. You will also need this to help replace a lost or stolen passport. So keep the ID separate from your other documents. If you suspect your passport is lost or stolen, be sure to check everywhere before you report it. Once it's reported lost or stolen, it is canceled and no longer valid for travel and you will need a replacement. If you are traveling when you discover your passport is lost or stolen, contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you need to report and replace a passport, here in the US, there are two steps. Complete form DS-64 and sent to the US Department of State. Complete the DS-11 application for a new passport and submit it in person to the nearest passport facility. And here are the steps you can take to prepare for emergencies. Be sure to leave a copy of your itinerary at home with friends and family. Include all travel plans, dates, hotel contact numbers, travel suppliers and any other relevant information. Keep contact information for your travel agent, travel company, airlines, hotels etcetera with you, while you are traveling. You will need these if you have to change your travel plans and keep the name and number of an emergency contact in your wallet. If you wisely purchase travel insurance or trip interruption coverage, be sure to carry that contact information for the coverage provider and your policy number for assistance or to report a claim. Let's talk about prescriptions and other medical information. Always place your prescription medications in your carry-on luggage. Bring the copy of any prescriptions you must take with you. Know the name of the generic medications you are on in case it needs to be refilled. And be sure to wear a medical alert bracelet if one is needed. Be sure to inform other members of your party if you are experiencing any medical issues. And now from medical emergencies, consider travel insurance that covers you in the event of a medical emergency including emergency transportation to the nearest adequate medical facility. Travel Insurance can also cover you for cost your health insurance will not cover. Travel insurance also can provide medical referrals for the country you are in when you become injured or ill. The insurance company can also relay urgent messages to family, friends and associates back home. Now let's talk about money versus credit cards. Avoid exchanging currency at hotels or exchange kiosks, if possible, to eliminate excess fees and commission charges. Using cash may help you to budget and maybe easier to use, but you do run the risk of having cash lost or stolen. Unfortunately cash cannot be replaced so keep funds in the secure place. If using an ATM, be sure to know your PIN in both number and letter format. Credit Cards, Traveler's Checks and Re-loadable Travel Money Cards can be replaced and usually offer 24 hours assistance by phone. Be sure to make a list of the numbers on all Traveler's Checks and contact numbers for all cards or Traveler's Checks to quickly and easily report them if they are lost or stolen. Carry this list in a secure location other than in your wallet at all times. The nice thing about credit cards is they allow you to dispute a charge, but you need to be aware of a few things about using them. Be sure you call your credit card issuer in advance of your trip to let him know your travel plans outside of US so that the card will not be denied because the bank suspects theft or fraud. Ask your card issuer about additional fees for foreign currency exchange or ask your bank for the name of a corresponding bank in countries you will visit, that reduces or waives fees when you use bank's ATM card at the corresponding bank's ATM kiosk. Use your ATM to withdraw a local currency often at the best rate of exchange for the day. The best option for flexible travel is to carry a mixture of plastic, local currency and traveler's checks. All forms of payment should be treated like cash and kept securely in your wallet. So that's the basic of how to plan for emergencies. Next I will talk with you about how to pack for international travel.