by Shane White
You work hard all day, every day and the boss is really beginning to get on your nerves. It is time for a vacation. You pack whatever you need to survive for a week in the exotic destination of your choice when suddenly it happens. Your credit cards don't work, the airlines have stopped flying, the power and phone systems are out, and here you are stuck 3000 miles from your home.
So what do you do if a catastrophic event happens while you are on vacation? Lets assume that you packed like any normal person would and that you didn't pack your arsenal of guns (they would not allow them on the plane anyway), your year supply of food, your survival knife, or even your bug-out-bag. Seriously, why would you at $25 for a checked bag?
Your first plan when you go anywhere should be an escape plan. This applies to your hotel room and also wherever your vacation destination happens to be. As soon as you get to your hotel, make sure that you know the way out. I am not talking about being able to follow the signs through well lit halls either. Could you find your way out with your eyes shut? Don't try walking out of the hotel with your eyes closed for practice. You could hurt someone. After you settle into your room, you should walk out of the hotel, making mental notes on the way. Which way is the exit? Did you turn left or right? Where are the stairs? What floor are you on? If your hotel was burning down, there was no power, or a situation in which you had to exit quickly, you may need to know how to get out fast. In the event of a disaster in which you will likely not be returning to your room, take your bags with you. I will tell you why in a minute.
Once you get out of your hotel, you will need to get supplies for your trip home. Make sure you know where you can get food and other things you will need for your trip home. If you act fast, you should be able to buy the things you need before others figure out what is going on. If you are not in panic mode, you should have an advantage here. Now with your suitcases, you can empty out what you absolutely don't need and fill them with the supplies. An instant survival bag. My personal suitcase is actually a very large backpack so I don't have to carry a suitcase, but if you prefer a suitcase, you should use one with good wheels. A good bag can save your life.
The next thing you need to plan in advance is how you are going to get home. In a worst case scenario, you can always walk. That is assuming that you are not on an island somewhere or some other continent. In a disaster, you should always have backup transportation. If you flew somewhere, get a rental car if you can. I am sure they will forgive you (as long as you pay the difference) if you show up at a rental car office near your home, or at least tell them where you left it. First priority is to get home safely. You may have to use several different forms of transportation. Use your best judgement. If there are riots or other disorder, you might be safer just walking. If you are on an island or another continent, you may need to hire out a boat or a private plane that can get you to where you need to go. Make sure you know how to use any vehicles you use. Also, make sure you know which way home is. Maps are always a good thing to have.
Plan ahead on how you and your family will meet up in case you are separated. If you are travelling alone, for example, let them know how you plan on coming home and how long you think it will take in case you lose contact. The worst thing that can happen is for you and your loved ones to go looking for each other. If you are separated at a theme park, or everyone decided to do something different around town, set a bug-out-point. A place where you will all go if things look like they are getting out of hand. Meet at a place where there might not be a lot of people. Meet at the unpopular ride at the theme park, or at the back of the hotel. Wherever it is, make sure everybody is absolutely clear how to get there. If you have to go looking for someone, leave one person at the meeting place and make a clear time when everybody will meet back at the meeting place. If for some reason you have to leave, or someone doesn't show up in a reasonable amount of time, leave a note telling where you went, and how they can reach you. The note should be in a place where they will expect to find it. Advanced communication is the key.
Hopefully this has not make you afraid to go on your vacation. Remember that boss? You deserve it. Just make sure you are ready at all times for a catastrophe. Now go have fun.