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What To Know About Travelling In A Country In Turmoil

What To Know About Travelling In A Country In Turmoil

Wednesday 28th November 2012

Even when a country is experiencing a period of turmoil, travelling still takes place.

When the natural disaster of an earthquake happened in 2010 in New Zealand and during the Libyan political unrest in 2011, there would have been backpackers and travellers within the country.

So, what should you do if you get caught out by a natural disaster or political unrest during you travels?

What to do when caught in a Natural Disaster

Unfortunately, you can’t prepare for a force majeure. In these types of situations you need to remain calm and as patient as possible. You will need to remember that the whole area you are in will be affected by the disaster and this will probably mean that nothing is working correctly. If you panic you could only make the situation worse for yourself as well as for your travelling companions.

Try to communicate with your family to let them know that you are safe and well as soon as the opportunity arises. Also, try to contact your airline or read your travel insurance policy to see whether they can get you out of the situation as soon as it becomes safe to do so.

Make sure you also have a list of contact numbers for British Embassies both abroad and at home to ask for advice.

What to do when caught in Political Unrest

The Foreign Office has a comprehensive list of countries that it considers best to avoid in the current situations. So, make sure you take a look at this before you leave, so you don’t get caught-up in a situation that could have been avoided. 

However, if you do get caught, the first thing that you need to do is make sure that you stay informed and keep up-to-date on what is happening locally and on the world news. If it’s difficult to listen to the local radio because of the language barrier try to gain internet access or listen to the BBC world service for essential and potentially life-saving news.  Communications can be interrupted in times of turmoil, so don’t rely on having online or mobile phone access.

Don’t get involved and stay well away from any areas of conflict and violence as you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you could be injured. Contact the British Embassies both abroad and at home to ask for advice. Also, contact your airline to see whether you can leave the country.

Your travel insurance may cover you and pay for you to get out of harm’s way but some travel policies don’t, so be aware before you travel as to whether your policy covers you or not.