Emergency/Medical/General Preparedness.  
Like a Boy Scout – “Be Prepared” .  A partial list, that you can add to, includes:

    Jot down on a calendar a reminder to give blood  after you
    are past the eight week waiting period between donations.  
    Locations along the way can be obtained at 1-800-GIVELIFE
    or on-line at www.redcrossblood.org .  

  • A cellular phone or satellite phone is essential for extended travelers.  
    Cellular coverage in most traveled areas is good but remote areas have
    spotty or no cellular service.  For medical, police or fire emergencies in
    most areas phone 9-1-1 and you will reach an operator to serve you.    
    Be prepared to provide the location of the problem, though in some areas
    the operator can locate your cellular phone location.  Interstate highways
    have mile markers posted.  (This is for real.  We have been the first to
    report two fires and several accidents.)  

  • Make sure fresh batteries are in weather radio, smoke detectors, flashlights,

  • Have your vehicle checked before leaving for a long trip and carry proper
    emergency tools, roadside reflectors, etc in case of a breakdown.  Winter
    travel requires additional preparations: blankets, chains, shovels, etc.

  • Have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher(s).  

  • Travel with at least two credit/debit cards each with a different number.  My
    wife carries one and I carry another.  Neither of us carry both cards so if
    one is lost, the other can be relied upon until a replacement is obtained.  On
    one occasion one of our cards was suspended by the issuer because their
    computers were compromised and having the extra card saved us from the
    inconvenience of having no card.  (See "RECORDS", below)


  • Check with your physician if you plan any unusual activities.

  • Update your CPR/first aid training.

  • If you plan to be in mountains learn what to do if high altitudes bother you.  

  • Take time to exercise — this will keep you physically fit and mentally alert to
    best enjoy your travels.  We try to walk 2 miles a day, at least 5 days/week.

  • Keep up on any medical care you need while you travel.  There are many
    “doc in a box” offices that do not require appointments so it is just as
    convenient as at home.  

  • Place "ICE" before phone numbers of your cell phone that an EMT or other
    emergency worker could call "In Case of Emergency".  This is a nationally
    recognized method.  We flag our physician (with "MD" after the name) and a
    daughter's phone number with ICE.  (She has medical power of attorney.)
    We have similar information on our wallet identification cards plus blood
    type, medications and allergies.  

  • In case of emergency your co-pilot should be able to drive.  One morning
    several years ago I was suddenly unable to move for an hour or two -- that
    afternoon Ida was out on the road getting more behind the wheel practice.

  • Have reserve supplies of water in jugs in case the water system fails.


  • Have required documents if crossing the US border.    (See page for     

  • Prescriptions can be refilled at local pharmacies on the road if you have
    remaining refills (excludes mail order which you can refill by phone).  Take
    the container with the prescription number and pharmacy name and phone
    number that last filled it to almost any pharmacy.  This applies to US only.  
    They’ll transfer it from the pharmacist who filled it last.  

  • Take copies of your medical records, insurance cards, and other legal papers
    e.g. medical power of attorney, names and addresses of contacts, etc.  If
    going into Canada get a certificate from your auto insurance company
    stating that your coverage includes Canada.

  • Have a copy of your eyeglass prescription

  • In a safe location, keep records of credit/debit/ATM card numbers and other
    data to trace items that are lost or stolen or to notify the issuer of credit
    cards, insurance carriers or police.  This list should also have the phone
    numbers of issuers that must be notified.  Also, record the phone numbers
    of the three major credit bureaus to notify in case of loss or theft of your
    credit cards: Equifax 1-800-525-6285; Experian 1-888-397-3742 and
    TransUnion 1-800-680-7289.  


  • Check the veterinarian if you take a pet.  Be sure to have medicine for

  • Check regulations if you plan to go outside the US with a pet.  (See page for

  • Have reserve supplies of water for pets.
(C)  2002-2014  J. Watson       All rights reserved  
Travel Letters