We, as preppers, tend to pride ourselves on being aware and prepared individuals. We don’t like to be as herd animals are and given the answer without question. The thing is that this is basically what happens to you when you go on vacation. Think about it for a moment… were you really in charge the last time you were on vacation, or was the hotel, the amusement park, the locals? You’re in their world buddy, not yours.
Obviously, it’s just natural that I’m more prepared for emergencies at home; I would suspect that you are as well. After all, this is where most of our supplies, gear, food, and plans are. It follows, therefore, that you will be less prepared for an emergency when you are away from home, such as at the office, in the car, when travelling for business, and especially on vacation.
Vacations, in my humble opinion, are a very specific concern for three primary reasons: (1) you’re likely to have a bare minimum of emergency supplies with you–if any at all, (2) your fire safety and personal security may be sub-par (or even non-existent), and (3) your situation-awareness radar is probably turned off because when you’re on vacation you’re there to relax.
The first concern, that you’re likely to have a bare minimum of emergency supplies with you, can be somewhat difficult to deal with, in particular when you’re travelling by plane. In a car, for example, you should be able to include your vehicle emergency kit, you’ll have your car-specific supplies (e.g., fluids, tire sealant, tools, etc), and whatever you have on your person. You’ll obviously have the clothes you packed in suitcases and so on.
Of course, this assumes that you will have room to include your vehicle emergency supplies along with a lot of luggage; I have been know in the past to remove said emergency supplies because I simply had no room for them and luggage too. I have since become more stern and determined to keep the emergency supplies in the care no matter what, and suggest you do as well.
In addition to the typical emergency supplies you keep in your car, I would also encourage you to pack a few other supplies that you may tend to have handy at home, such as a flashlight, weather radio, etc.
The second concern, that your fire safety and personal security may be sub-par (or even non-existent), is actually a much larger concern than the first. Think for a moment about the fire safety actions and gear you may have at home. This may include additional smoke alarms, fire extinguishers in strategic places, emergency power out lights, fire escape ladders, smoke masks, and a practiced plan for you and your family to escape a fire.
Now, think about what might be missing when you stay at a hotel room or even a friend or relatives house. Sure, they probably have at least one smoke alarm and probably one fire extinguisher, but is that enough to trust your life to? Do you know where these devices are? How will you escape if you need to? You could very well be on the 10th floor of a hotel when you need to escape. Should you include smoke masks, flashlights, and so on in your luggage?
The other concern mentioned here is that of your personal security. Perhaps you take your family’s security to heart and have upgraded your doors and windows properly, you use door security bars religiously, have installed window laminate, and even have a CCW on you at all times; the list can go on and on. How does all this translate to staying at a hotel or other resort? Chances are pretty good that a vast majority of these security measures do not travel well.
The third concern, that your situation-awareness radar is turned off, can be the biggest danger of all. We’ve all heard the horror stories that befall hapless tourists, sometimes by doings of their own and sometimes not… just remember that this could be your family! Chances are pretty good that you’re fairly alert to problems or when “things just don’t seem right” in your everyday life. Strangely, a switch seem to flip when people go on vacation: the radar just turns off. I’ve surely done this and I’ll be you have to.
The obvious question then is: what should you do about a lack of situation-awareness on your part? I would say it starts with knowing where you will be vacationing–including friends and relatives houses–but especially when travelling to popular tourist resorts. The scum bags will be there looking for easy targets. As such, avoid looking like the easy target. Be careful with how you dress; the Hawaiian tropic shirts are dead giveaways.
Be vigilant with whom you share your vacation plans, even in passing. They may just the person looking do you harm. The same can be said for not discussing any personal details to anyone. Ensure your kids really understand this as well.
There are plenty of other ideas that are readily available via a Google search on “vacation safety”. Spend a few minutes and look it up. The point here is to re-raise your awareness level to a point akin to being at home because it is precisely those times when your guard is down that bad things can happen.