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Travel -- Things Can and Do Go Wrong


Evelyn Hannon

There are countless people on the road now that can't get to their home base because of the volcanic ash that is blanketing European air space. During 9/11 travellers worldwide suffered the repercussion of terrorist attacks. All flights were grounded. Airports were swamped. Nothing about travel then was normal.

Since we can't foretell the future. We all need to be prepared for when all normal systems break down and we're left to fend for ourselves. For that time Journeywoman has prepared a list of top ten things to consider to help ease the way. If you have your own advice to add to this list, Journeywoman welcomes your e-mail input addressed to: We know that with our combined wisdom there's no doubt we can be even stronger and more effective travellers.

Stay in touch with your government...

Before crossing any borders, find out about your government's embassy, consulate or home office in the country you're visiting. Check their website for excellent and up-to-date online reports advising of security, safety, weather or health issues at your destination. Make note of their local address and telephone number. These people are your representatives on foreign soil and are an invaluable connection to have.

xamples of website resources include:
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada:,
U.S. Department of State:,
Britain's Foreign & Commonwealth Office:

n case of natural disasters, travellers should contact their government office immediately. This is the easiest way for a country to verify the safety and location of their citizens and to protect them if and when necessary.

Travel insurance -- don't leave home without it...

Whether you are crossing the border for a one day meeting or travelling abroad for a week, you absolutely must have emergency medical insurance. Most of us have heard horror stories about inadequately insured travellers who go off feeling perfectly well and then an unfortunate accident puts them in hospital. These unlucky folks find themselves far from home without personal support systems in place and they're often left with thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. You can learn the ins and outs of travel insurance by testing your insurance IQ right here:

P.S. Always carry a list of your medications and the dosages you take. Your travel insurance company can help you get more medications if you run out because of an unexpected delay in your travel plans.

Names of relatives and friends...

Sure you know your loved one's phone numbers by rote but it's incredible what happens to your memory under duress. In your wallet, make it standard procedure to carry the names, phone/fax numbers and e-mail addresses of three of your closest relatives or friends. In an emergency they will want to hear as soon as possible that you're safe and vice versa. This method allows you to begin communicating as quickly as possible in every way possible. P.S. Need bus, train or airplane numbers as quickly as possible? Call your travel agent or the concierge desk at your hotel. They have all that information at their fingertips.

Phone cards are cheaper...

If you don't own a cell phone, always carry a pre-paid international calling card or have your own calling card with you when you travel. Staying at a hotel during a crisis means you'll be making a lot of calls from your room. Allowing yourself to rely strictly on a hotel's phone service generally means spending a lot more money than you bargained for. Calling cards will reduce your costs considerably.

More Tips





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