For Every Eventuality: Preparing for the Worst on Family Vacations

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Nobody likes to think something will go wrong on their family vacations. For most of us, a lot of time is spent thinking about what will go right: trying to account for everyone’s wants and needs, thinking about things you can do that the kids will enjoy, and planning date nights with your spouse or partner amidst beautiful, scenic vistas. As the goal of any vacation is to get away from the rigors of daily life and spend time having fun with your family, the thought of something going wrong or something bad happening to your family is most often avoided. 

However, the reality is that you are just as likely to find yourself in a negative situation abroad or across the country as you are at home; and the consequences of finding yourself in such a situation can be dire. Cut off from all your typical resources, you have to have a plan in mind should these situations arise, or a bad situation could very well be made much worse. 

While it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, and you also don’t want to skimp out on planning fun activities for your family by catastrophizing and taking on the role of a vacation doomsday prepper, there are some sensible precautions you can take to prepare yourself for more common vacation disasters. Below, we’ll talk about some common disaster scenarios you may find yourself in, and how you can best prepare yourself to deal with them. 

The Pandemic: Yes, It’s Still a Thing

Unfortunately, we still have to talk about this: making sure that you and your family are all up-to-date on your vaccinations, including booster shots, gives you the best chance of being able to vacation safely. However, you should also check on the infection status of the area you’re planning on visiting, taking care to avoid hotspots and make sure that your family is properly masked up when visiting somewhere unfamiliar.

You should also have a contingency plan in mind, should any member of your family get sick. Make sure you’ve booked a hotel or AirBnB with enough space to allow a member of your family to quarantine if necessary, and make sure you check on their extension policy: if a member of your family does get sick with COVID-19, you’ll want to hole up in place until the disease passes. While infection is still mostly preventable even WITH the spreading of variants like Omicron and Delta, you’ll want to have a plan in place in case anyone in your party gets sick.

Car and Truck Accidents

Whether you’re driving your car cross country or you’re renting a car at your destination, car accidents are just as likely to occur in your vacation destination as they are at your doorstep. As such, it’s important to drive defensively and cautiously while in a new area, even once you’ve taken the temperature of the area; even a seemingly safe driving climate can be upended in a moment by a reckless truck driver. 

Before you get into an accident, make sure that you’re familiar with your insurance policy (or your renters’ policy for accidents), as well as a lawyer who can help you recoup your damages who is familiar with local accident law. Make sure you’re up on your health insurance as well, as accidents have been known to cause serious injury from time to time: a good maxim to follow is hope for the best, but plan for the worst. 

Missing Persons Cases

At any point during your trip, your family may become split up, and any member of your family may get lost. As such, it’s essential to have backup plans upon backup plans in place to allow others to recognize members of your party, and make it possible for them to get in contact if they’re separated from the herd. Make sure every member of the family has a device on them that will allow you to get into contact with them if separated, as well as identification that they can present to law enforcement if needed to identify themselves. The age-old trick of wearing similar outfits may also prove helpful if a bit corny-looking. 

It’s impossible to prepare for every worst-case scenario. But having a few solutions for common problems that vacationers experience in your back pocket is never a bad idea, as potentially dangerous events are just as likely to happen abroad as at home. 

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