After living in an area of Louisiana prone to flooding and hurricanes, we learned to plan for emergencies, including loss of electric power and, on occasion, no water.
The pantry staples in our home included canned foods (and a manual can opener), flashlights and spare batteries, as well as plenty of bottled water. When storms were on the horizon we didn’t have to rush to the store, we were prepared with a supply of medications, some cash on hand, and plenty of gas in our vehicles—we learned never let the tanks get less than half full.
The habit of keeping a flashlight in our car came in handy last year when we arrived in Fort Lauderdale just as the area was feeling the full brunt of Hurricane Sandy passing offshore. Our hotel lost power for several hours shortly after we arrived and that flashlight came in handy, as did the bottles of water and snacks we also carry on road trips—restaurants in the area were also without power and we were thirsty and hungry. In our luggage was an ample amount of prescription medication that would last not only for the duration of our upcoming cruise on Holland America Line’s Eurodam, but also a few extra days.
Most of us don’t like to think that anything like the fire and stranded-at-sea conditions aboard Carnival Triumph that took place last week will happen to us, but it could. Like they say in football, the best offense is a good defense and these tips will help you get through an emergency.
• Travel with a passport. Carnival Triumph was on a closed-loop sailing and passengers weren’t required to have passports—900 of them didn’t have one and if the ship had been towed to Mexico, that situation would have made their re-entry into the United States tricky.
• Have a copy of your passport on hand just in case yours is lost or stolen. Keep it separate from the actual passport.
• Pack enough prescription medication to last for the trip and at least a few extra days. This is particularly important when travelling internationally, or on every cruise.
• Consider packing a small bottle of antibacterial soap for when times when the water available is questionable.
• Always have a small container of waterless hand sanitizer handy.
• Bottled water and snacks—power bars or even chips—can help you over rough patches.
• A small first aid kit with at least a few bandages and antiseptic cream is a must.
• A flashlight can be a lifesaver in emergency situations, especially on a dark ship.
Those suggestions may seem simply like common sense, but it’s surprising how many travelers leave their common sense at home when they depart on a vacation.