You may have booked your vacation to “get away from it all,” but disaster doesn’t take a holiday. Here’s how to prepare to have your family stay safe on vacation and most importantly, be happy when out of your comfort zone.

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GET AN AGENT: Travel agents can swoop in and save the day when things go wrong. They will re-book, re-route and re-schedule things to get your home safely and swiftly. Best of all, you hire them to take care of the headaches and tedious phone calls negotiating travel so you can enjoy your time away.

TRAVEL INSURANCE: Spend the extra money and give yourself peace of mind. Insurance will be the first thing you look to when a situation gets out of control. In addition to insuring your flight or cruise, look into medical evacuation coverage so that you or your loved one can make it home in the event of a serious illness or medical emergency.

COVER YOUR RENTAL: Whether you are covered by your personal car insurance or you purchase insurance for the duration of your trip, make sure you are covered for liability and collision.

COMBO BOOKINGS: If you book your airfare with your cruise line, they will be responsible for getting you to your ship in the event of an airline delay. If you can, fly a day early to avoid any possible delays and stay at a pre-cruise resort, also bookable through your cruise line.

WEATHER RISKS: Don’t cancel a trip just because of a bad weather scare. Review your travel insurance policy to see exactly when you need to cancel. Pay attention to weather updates and prepare to take your trip up until the last second. You may be able to take advantage of upgrades because others cancelled prematurely.

BACKUP APPS: Multiple weather apps are available for smartphones for little to no cost. These apps give you real-time updates on weather conditions, and send alerts and warnings whenever dangerous weather is in your area.

AIRLINE UPDATES: In addition to posting status updates on Twitter and Facebook, many airlines and other modes of travel have SMS options you can sign up for free of charge. These will alert you to any delays, gate changes and baggage claim locations, among other things.

CONSTANT ALERT: The National Weather Service has an alert system in place to inform you of any dangerous weather in your area. Keep your ears open for audio announcements while you’re at the airport, and make sure to check with the front desk of your hotel to see what their alert system consists of. Local government offices and tourism agencies should keep all travel entities constantly updated on serious weather conditions.

LOCATE YOUR EMBASSY: In extreme cases of weather or a national security emergency, you may have to evacuate or be quarantined in an unfamiliar place. If you’ll be vacationing outside of your home country, locate your embassy and have emergency numbers on hand. Make copies of your passport in case it is lost.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Summer 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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