TSA-friendly Emergency Planning


Sunday’s earthquake in Hawaii was a decent sized temblor, but it caused minimal damage. Nonetheless, it caused a minor tsunami (sorry) of travelers’ paranoia, a travel warning from the government and fears that it could mean a serious dent in the state’s tourist economy. Honestly, that could be a good thing, encourage people to explore a few other places that haven’t been designed to look and feel exactly like where they came from, just with better views and weather.

The earthquake did inspire USA TODAY‘s Harriett Baskas to come up with this helpful and TSA-friendly emergency kit, however, something that could be useful to real adventure travelers exploring real adventurous places:

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  • A flashlight. Not just a cute lizard-light, but one of those tiny-and-mighty flashlights. And plenty of extra batteries.
  • A stash of cash. The electricity can go away for all manner of reasons and when it does, stores, restaurants and gas stations won’t be able to process credit cards and ATMs won’t work.
  • A fully-charged cellphone. You may be tempted not to pack that charger on a short trip, but if you get stuck out on the road somewhere, you’ll kick yourself for leaving it behind. Get in the habit of charging your cellphone when you get to your hotel room.
  • A calling card. After the earthquake, my partially-charged cellphone ran down quickly. Surprisingly, the land lines at my hotel were working, I had a loaded pre-paid calling card in my wallet.
  • Glow sticks. I have to admit I thought these were just Halloween toys, but now I’m sold on them as travel necessities. They’re light and easy to pack; the glow is nice and bright; and the one issued to me by my hotel even had a clip on it so I could hang it by my bed.
  • A portable radio. Preferably a crank-up model that also works with batteries. This is essential for getting information about what’s going on in any emergency. Especially in a strange city. I’d experienced earthquakes before, but I hadn’t even thought to worry about a tsunami until it was mentioned on the radio.
  • A candle and matches. Of course, you shouldn’t light any candles in your room outside of an emergency if your hotel prohibits smoking or flames of any sort. But tuck one into your travel bag just in case. If you find one with a soothing scent, it will be even more useful.
  • A basic First Aid kit. I honestly don’t remember falling down during the earthquake, but later in the day I realized I had some cuts and bruises. I also had a pounding headache. What I didn’t have was anything to put on my cuts or any medication to stave off what eventually turned into a migraine.
  • A printed list of essential contact information and itinerary details. Sure, cellphones, PDA’s, laptops and other electronic devices can store all of this stuff, but if the juice runs out you’ll be happy to have it all down on a piece of paper.
  • A few intangibles. When I finally joined the other shook up travelers from around the world, who had gathered together in the darkened hotel lobby, I remembered the most important things to pack in any emergency kit may very well be a sense of humor and adventure – and plenty of patience.