Surviving natural disasters while on vacation. In a scary situation, it's best to be prepared. We offer tips and personal survival stories.
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Surviving Natural Disasters While On Vacation

Surviving natural disasters while on vacation. In a scary situation, it’s best to be prepared. We offer tips and 15+ personal survival stories.

When we’re on vacation, we don’t want to have to worry about anything. All we want is good times and good experiences. Unfortunately, things happen and we can’t control everything. If you need to survive a natural disaster while you’re on vacation, we want you to be ready. The last thing you need to do is panic.

So, we’ve written this blog post to help you put together a plan should the unexpected happen. We have tips to help you before and during your trip and, thanks to our blogger friends, over 15 personal stories of surviving a natural disaster while on vacation.

Ok, let’s get into it…

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Types Of Natural Disasters

First things first. What is a natural disaster and how many kinds are there? Well, according to Merriam-Webster, a natural disaster is “a sudden and terrible event in nature that usually results in serious damage and many deaths.” Generally, there are considered to be 24 types of natural disasters.

  • Avalanche
  • Blizzard
  • Cold Wave
  • Hailstorm
  • Ice Storm
  • Drought
  • Heat Wave
  • Solar Flare
  • Wildfire
  • Impact Event aka Asteroid Impact
  • Limnic Eruption aka Exploding Lake
  • Tornado
  • Volcanic Eruption
  • Flood
  • Flash Flood
  • Thunderstorm
  • Tropical Cyclone
  • Tsunami
  • Earthquake
  • Fog
  • Landslide
  • Mudslide
  • Sinkhole
  • Subsidence

Tips For Surviving Natural Disasters

If, unfortunately, you need to survive a natural disaster while you’re on vacation, the best thing is to be prepared. Here are some tips that will help you through the ordeal:

  • Before your vacation:
    • Familiarize yourself with natural disasters known to happen in the region
    • Check your personal insurance coverage or purchase additional travel insurance
    • Make sure someone back home knows your itinerary and where you’ll be staying
  • Upon arrival:
    • Learn the evacuation route of your hotel and make sure everyone in your group knows it
    • Learn local emergency numbers
  • During a natural disaster:
    • Stay informed of local news and follow local authority instructions
    • Shelter in place in a designated safe area unless told to evacuate
    • Keep medications and essentials (first aid kit, fully charged power bank, etc.) in an easy-to-grab location, should you need to evacuate
    • Be patient and stay calm

If you’re a U.S. citizen, you might also want to consider signing up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). It is a way for U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This helps the Embassy contact you if a natural disaster happens. After you’ve signed up, you can use the Smart Traveler app to get updates.

Surviving Natural Disasters While On Vacation

Let’s be honest, having to go through a natural disaster while on vacation sucks. Personally, we’ve experienced a blizzard in New York, hurricanes in Florida, and earthquakes in Mexico. But we firmly believe that the more you know, the better off you’ll be.

In this next section, you’ll read about some scary situations. However, you’ll also read about how our friends made it through and about the kindness of strangers.

Surviving An Earthquake In Bali, Indonesia

By Carly of Fearless Female Travels

I had been looking forward to the morning of July 19, 2019 for several weeks, as it was supposed to be the morning I took a full-day vegan cooking class in Ubud, Bali.  However, the morning didn’t go exactly as planned, because I wasn’t woken up by my alarm clock… I was woken up by my bed, the floor, and all the walls shaking as Bali experienced a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. 

I grew up along the Pacific Rim, so I was used to a little light shaking. I’d even been sitting in a middle school classroom in 2001 when we were hit by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that rattled our school for almost a full minute. But the earthquake in Bali was the first time I’d experienced a natural disaster while I was traveling solo.

Because of my background, I immediately knew what to do in Bali. I quickly jumped out of my bed because there was a large air conditioning unit hanging over it, and it looked heavy enough to kill me if it fell. I ran across the room to the bathroom doorway, sat down with my back against the door frame, and turned away from the windows.  This reduced my risk of being injured by any broken glass or collapsing walls.

Fortunately, the earthquake ended quickly and there was no damage to the guesthouse where I was staying. However, officials later reported that 38 nearby buildings had been damaged and one person was injured in the quake. Some people might say that my reaction was overkill, but you never know if the intensity or duration of an earthquake will change suddenly, or if you’re just experiencing a foreshock before a larger earthquake that comes later. 

In Bali, it is common to leave offerings to the gods in small woven baskets in front of your home or business. Following the earthquake, the streets were overflowing with these offerings, which the locals hoped would appease the gods and prevent any future earthquakes… and it seems to have worked!

Surviving An Earthquake In Bali
Surviving An Earthquake In Bali

Surviving An Earthquake In Lombok, Indonesia

By David & Intan of The World Travel Guy

I was traveling in Indonesia in 2018 when the 7.0 magnitude Lombok earthquake struck. It destroyed thousands of homes in Lombok and Bali and killed more than 500 people in Lombok. There was very little warning before it happened.

Even though the hotel where I was staying at the time was located outside of the worst disaster area, there were still big tremors causing my room to quake, followed by more aftershocks throughout the day. The ceiling fan started to wobble and spin on its own, and waves were splashing in the hotel pool. Buildings were damaged all around. It was a scary and surreal experience.

The country of Indonesia sits on top of the Pacific Ring of Fire, so earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are very common here. Since Indonesia is my second home (and my wife’s home country), I think about this scenario often and try to prepare for it.

One of the best things you can do in an earthquake is to get away from anything that can fall on you. That means buildings, walls, trees, telephone poles, etc. If you’re stuck indoors, then at least get as far as you can from glass, heavy bookshelves, and other things that could cut you or fall on you.

A lot of earthquake injuries and fatalities come from these kinds of things, so the further you can get away from them, the better your chances are for survival. Earthquakes can strike with almost no warning, so it’s important to come up with a good survival plan before you find yourself in one!

Surviving An Earthquake In Lombok
Surviving An Earthquake In Lombok

Surviving An Earthquake In Nicaragua

By Kristin of Tiny Footsteps Travel

I traveled with my husband to Nicaragua in July 2019. We headed down to the San Juan del Sur area, which is very popular with surfers and beachgoers. We weren’t particularly drawn to the beach, but we wanted to stay in the Hush Maderas resort, where they serve great vegetarian food and offer yoga classes on the rooftop.

While we were in the middle of one of our rooftop yoga classes the entire foundation of the resort shook. It was completely unexpected and scary because the foundation didn’t seem to be well supported. There were only four people in the class – the teacher, her boyfriend (taking the class), and my husband and I. The boyfriend immediately ran off after we felt the earthquake, but my husband and I stayed with the teacher, who was also a foreigner in Nicaragua and wasn’t sure what to expect either. We decided to stay on the rooftop until things calmed down.

We found out later that the shaking we had felt was a 5.2 magnitude earthquake that had occurred near the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It’s important to note that earthquakes are quite common in Central America. Most of the earthquakes in this region are small though, causing little damage. The 5.2 that we felt was a stronger-than-average earthquake for this region, and we strongly felt it. However, luckily, no damages or injuries were reported.

Since Central America is a popular place to visit, know that it’s possible that you could experience a small earthquake while you’re in this area. I wish I’d realized this in advance so that I would’ve been more sure of how to handle the situation when it happened.

In most cases, earthquakes in Latin America will be very minimal and won’t cause damages (magnitude 4.0 and below.) It’s beneficial to note this so that you aren’t panicked if it happens. To exercise precaution, it’s important to stay inside buildings away from any windows or walls during any earthquakes. Avoid being next to any tall furniture that could fall. Staying on the rooftop of our resort was likely the safest place we could have been, rather than running outside, which can potentially put you in even more danger if the earthquake is nearby.

Knowing a few words in Spanish may be beneficial, just in case the people near you aren’t able to speak English proficiently. I speak Spanish, and it was helpful in being able to ask the staff about the earthquake.

For visiting Central America, I’d recommend knowing the following phrases in case you’re unsure of what to do during an earthquake:

  • Peligroso – dangerous or peligro – danger
  • La seguridad – safety
  • Necesito ayuda – I need help
  • Donde ir – where to go?
  • Quedarse en el interior – to stay inside
Surviving An Earthquake In Nicaragua
Surviving An Earthquake In Nicaragua

Surviving A Volcano Eruption In Iceland

By Annelies of Travelers & Dreamers

I traveled through Iceland in 2014 with my brother, sister, and a few friends just before the eruption of Bardarbunga, located north of the Vatnajökull ice cap. It is today referred to as Holuhraun, which is the name of the lava field that was created after the eruption. The eruption started on the 29th of August and lasted for almost six months.

At first, we weren’t paying much attention to the news as we were on vacation and were having a good time. But, as time passed, we felt something serious was going on and that it got worse by the day. Seismic activity increased in the area around Bardarbunga and we were told that an eruption could happen at any moment.

As we traveled on, mainly in the south of Iceland, we knew the eruption couldn’t reach us but we were especially concerned that we would get stuck in Iceland as they were announcing that plane traffic would be suspended and our flight out of the country would be canceled. The last days of our trip were really worrying and we followed the news closely every day. Luckily, we could talk to some locals about what was happening and they could put our minds at ease.

Eventually, we were able to leave Iceland without any issues. The volcano erupted the day after we got home so we were fortunate.

Surviving A Volcano Eruption In Iceland
Surviving A Volcano Eruption In Iceland

Surviving A Volcano Eruption In The Philippines

By Cora of Inside Our Suitcase

In January 2020, my wife Helen and I set out on the trip of a lifetime to the Philippines. We landed in the capital city of Manila after a grueling 18-hour flight. We drove straight to our accommodation to sleep, and try and get onto the right time zone.

When we woke up the next morning we saw Manila for the first time and were shocked by the amount of ash and smoke outside the window. Were the Philippines really supposed to be this smoggy?

As it turns out, that morning Taal Volcano had erupted and the ash had travelled 100km north to the city. Having woken up late, and in a situation we had never previously experienced, we had no idea as to what to do – and therefore did what I think any millennial would – we went to Google to look for advice. 

The conclusion that we came to was that we should aim to get a filtered mask that day. Provided there were no further eruptions, we would be safe to explore the city the next day wearing our masks outdoors. 

So, after spending the rest of the day watching locals wash ash off the roofs of nearby buildings, we headed out to find a filtered mask. However, we struggled significantly as a result of people purchasing and stockpiling these essential supplies. Only two weeks later would we find ourselves in the same position, only for a very different reason. 

Since our experience in the Philippines, we always ensure that we travel with a brand new filtered mask, and of course, travel insurance that covers all natural disasters.

Surviving A Volcano Eruption In The Philippines
Surviving A Volcano Eruption In The Philippines

Surviving A Landslide In The Himalayas

By Paul of Paulmarina

We were traveling the Indian Himalayas in 2017 when we almost got into a landslide situation with our car. The area is known as Kinnaur Valley in Himachal Pradesh. We were on our way to our night base in Sarahan, a high-altitude town.

We were surprised by fresh monsoon rains just after entering the vast Kinnaur valley. The area is controlled by the Indian military due to its proximity to the Chinese border, so the roads at 2000 meters altitude are tarred but still somewhat tight and a bit dangerous. Signboards warning village commuters of so-called “shooting stones” and falling rocks aren’t uncommon.

Yet, on that particular day, we were about to reach our destination Sarahan when a local man at the inter junction directed us to another, much longer and very arduous road. This was due to a landslide, which had just happened a few minutes before. Thanks, to this man, we and others escaped any harm that day because the road was literally falling apart by the hour.

We left the next day and continued our trip to Nako village next to the Chinese border and on the way, we noticed new landslide warnings marked on Google Maps. I definitely recommend using Google Maps on high-altitude road trips because landslides and blocked roads are reported as soon as they happen. I wished we had a 4×4 car that day and I wouldn’t drive in the Himalayas again without one.

Surviving A Landslide In The Himalayas
Surviving A Landslide In The Himalayas

Surviving A Flood In Morocco

By Izzy of The Gap Decaders

It was early February 2023, and we were heading south through the Atlas Mountains to M’Hamid, a small village close to Erg Chigaga, where Morocco meets the Sahara Desert amongst vast golden sand dunes. 

In this region, it doesn’t rain often. In fact, there had been precious little in the last 5 years. This caused the date palm trees to die in their thousands and the river beds to dry up as the land baked.

We parked up for a night in our 4×4 overland truck on the stony hamada off the only route and woke to a steady thrum of rain on the roof. Back on the road, we watched as the river beds rapidly filled with rain, and the water started to spill over onto the road.

The first crossing was easy, a few inches of water and we were through. On the next crossing, we hit some debris under the water and the truck lurched from the impact. Once again, however, we came through the water intact. Seven more crossings proved just about manageable, but by now the water crossing the road had become a raging torrent and was starting to push the truck.

But there was nowhere to stop safely and it felt like the whole of Morocco was now under water, so we had no choice but to continue.

The Gendarmerie at the next crossing decided to let us cross the bridge, only visible by the stone pillars along the edges. We made it over to cheers but came to a rapid halt when we realized that the turning to our camping site had literally been washed away.

We couldn’t go forwards or back, but opposite the turning was a garage. Pulling in, the owner offered us a parking spot in his workshop. There, we could use his electricity for hot water and get a decent night’s sleep without rain pounding the roof lights of the truck.

Devastation reigned the next day with destroyed bridges along the route, but at each, there were locals lining the damaged roads with sweet mint tea and freshly made bread to offer those waiting for heavy machinery to move debris, silt, and the odd palm tree caught in the storm.

The kindness of the locals and the camaraderie of others on the road helped us keep our spirits up when it felt like the rain would never stop!

Surviving A Flood In Morocco
Surviving A Flood In Morocco

Surviving A Flood In Malaysia

By Teja of Teja on the Horizon

I was cutting it close, going to Taman Negara in December, so close to Peninsular Malaysia’s monsoon season. There was a decent chance that the east coast would flood. This typically meant the headwaters would back up in the rainforest, causing even more flooding. But my friend, a Pahang local who runs Danz Eco Resort, assured me that the phenomenon wouldn’t happen yet. However, we didn’t foresee that the worst flooding in our history would happen that year.

Our first warning came from the indigenous Bateq, deep in the jungle. The headwaters had burst – the message was passed on to the community in Kuala Tahan, the gateway village to Taman Negara. But the moon was full, and within a day the lands downriver were already flooded, a speed that astonished everyone.

I was marooned for nearly a week. Though the resort was by the riverbank, we were on high ground. So I wasn’t worried, though the Tembeling river rose, its tea-colored water churning and filled with deadwood. When the internet was back up, we learned that landslides made the roads to the west coast impassable. So even if I could get out of the rainforest, I still couldn’t get home. 

The resort eventually became a sanctuary for other stranded tourists. Fortunately, as genuine locals, my friend was able to source enough food for everyone, so it was actually not an unpleasant ordeal. As soon as the flood receded, enterprising villagers organized trailers to carry tourist cars across the one remaining flooded road. I took the offer. 

It’s best to avoid visiting Taman Negara on either side of the monsoon season(the whole of December – January). But if you do, don’t bring a car as this makes it easier to evacuate.

Surviving A Flood In Malaysia
Surviving A Flood In Malaysia

Surviving A Flood And Landslide In New Zealand

By Holly of Globeblogging

In my experience, December isn’t the best month to visit New Zealand, and in 2019 the South Island experienced exceptionally high levels of rainfall. While this impacted a number of the tours I had booked during the first part of my trip, the largest impact occurred once I reached Queenstown for a 3-night stay.

Lake Wakatipu was on the verge of bursting its banks. The stores along the lakefront were sandbagged in anticipation of the impending onslaught of water, making for a somewhat eerie atmosphere. My next planned destination was Franz Josef Glacier. There is one road from Queenstown and it can be a hairy drive in bad conditions. I learned a landslide had occurred and the road was now impassable. The road out of Franz Josef was also dubious.

I monitored the road conditions using the NZ Transport Agency website. Eventually, I had no choice but to cancel the remaining bookings of my trip and find a new route to Christchurch. I chose to spend a night in Wanaka, which had also been subjected to flooding. The lakefront streets were still covered in water and debris, causing the closure of all shops and premises along the lake and road diversions. The Insta-famous Wanaka tree had only its top visible above the water and the beach tourist centre was in the lake. That might have been why I managed to get accommodation at the last minute!

When I returned my car in Christchurch I learned Franz Josef had been entirely cut off without electricity. People were hiring helicopters to fly out and leaving their rental cars behind, so it was a blessing in disguise that I had been prevented from getting there.

Tip: Check local news and weather conditions. If you are driving make sure you check the road conditions for the next part of your journey and ensure you can travel safely.

Surviving A Flood And Landslide In New Zealand
Surviving A Flood And Landslide In New Zealand

Surviving A Sandstorm In Saudi Arabia

By Ossama of Awesome Traveler

Back in 2018, I experienced a natural disaster in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There was a severe sandstorm that covered up the whole city of Alhasa. Since Saudi Arabia is mainly a desert country, when there is a storm, sand and dust pile up creating a sandstorm. You can barely see your surroundings, and it is dangerous to drive. It is highly advisable to stay at home when storms occur and to wear a face mask when going out.

For the safety of each individual and to preserve the historical landmarks in Saudi Arabia, the country works on several afforestation projects to counter the problem. The government plans to plant 450 trees by 2030 as they can block the sand from entering the city. This not only prevents sandstorms from forming but also increases the vegetation in the country. This improves air quality and enhances the beauty of the country.

Since sandstorms affect allergy and asthma sufferers the most, it is important to follow the following guidelines to survive this natural disaster on your vacation. You should wear a medical face mask and use an indoor air purifier as that can reduce indoor pollution and help you breathe better. Another thing that you should do is to stay hydrated. Fluids, such as water, are as important in sandstorms as in hot weather. If you encounter a sandstorm, you should wash your face and eyes. You should also wear a wet towel if you do not have a medical facemask to prevent inhaling the dust particles.

Surviving A Sandstorm In Saudi Arabia
Surviving A Sandstorm In Saudi Arabia

Surviving A Snowstorm In California

By Emily of Pets Around the World

It was Christmas 2021, and my husband and I were excited for our annual Northern California holiday trip. We planned to visit family in Grass Valley in Gold Country before escaping to a winter wonderland in Lake Tahoe. As we departed the Bay Area and headed into the foothills in our trusty Tesla, the air thickened with the unexpected arrival of snowflakes.

Our festive cheer faltered as we navigated closer to Grass Valley, our Tesla’s battery indicator ominously dipping towards red. We arrived, barely, to a welcome scene of twinkling Christmas lights and a snow-covered steep driveway which our Tesla, terrifyingly, slid down and stuck. 

The house was bursting with generations of family members. There was even a hum of excitement at the unexpected blizzard – until the power went out.

With our Tesla stuck sideways in the driveway and no power to charge, we felt stranded. Outside, trees lay strewn across the roads, hindering repair efforts and trapping residents throughout the county. For three days, 9 of us including 3 toddlers huddled together in the dark, rationing our supplies and hoping for a Christmas miracle.

Our Lake Tahoe ski vacation seemed a distant dream, our money sunk into a mountain cabin we couldn’t reach. Highway 80 remained off-limits for non-essential travelers, and we were past the cancellation deadline. Just when we thought we’d lost everything, our host proved the spirit of Christmas was alive, waiving her cancellation policy. We heaved a sigh of relief, feeling incredibly grateful.

After this experience, we learned to always keep our Tesla charged above 15% and buy travel insurance. Christmas miracles don’t always come wrapped in a bow.

Surviving A Snowstorm In California
Surviving A Snowstorm In California

Surviving A Gale Storm In Iceland

By Erin of Pina Travels

Strong winds aren’t uncommon in Iceland. But every once in a while, those winds develop into something more severe, called gale. A gale-force wind (often just called a gale) can clock speeds between 31 mph and 63 mph. 

Prolonged gale-force winds are very intense. They create gusts of wind that are strong enough to cause structural damage, and they can be dangerous for people to walk in because a person can blow away. 

When my partner and I picked up a camper van rental in Reykjavik, the rental company was very explicit about what not to do in Iceland. One thing they noted was how important it is to keep track of storm warnings. And if there is a gale, they said, do not drive in it. 

Towards the end of our trip, we saw our first storm warning in our weather alerts app. Throughout that day, as we explored around Vik, the winds picked up. By late afternoon they had become extreme, and we knew it would be dangerous to drive. We drove slowly to the closest campground.

When we opened the doors of our van, we were worried they would blow off. The van was rocking back and forth from the wind. Getting out of the van to use the campground kitchen was so scary, that we decided to hunker down inside, and make do for the night by eating the food we had on hand. 

When we woke up the next morning, the winds had finally calmed, and we were able to carry on with our road trip. If you’re traveling to Iceland and want to be prepared for gale storms, download Iceland’s go-to weather app: Veður. 

The free app delivers real-time facts and figures on the island’s weather conditions, as well as news, weather predictions, and hazard warnings. By paying attention to weather alerts, you can make sure to be in a safe place when bad weather rolls in.

Surviving A Gale Storm In Iceland
Surviving A Gale Storm In Iceland

Surviving A Hurricane In Bermuda

By Victoria of Guide Your Travel

In the early 2010s (I wish I could remember the exact year) I experienced a hurricane on the small island of Bermuda in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. We were there for a few weeks to visit family and the bad weather came out of nowhere so there was not much to do to prepare.

We tried to board up the house as well as possible, shuttering the windows and moving all the patio furniture inside. When the rain started it seemed normal at first and then quickly turned into a torrential downpour that wouldn’t stop. The winds were extreme and ripped apart everything outside.

There was no electricity or water for several days which was inconvenient but manageable since we had collected water beforehand. Since we were staying with family, we had a lot of space in the house and we were pretty comfortable considering the circumstances. The cleanup of the garden after the storm had passed was more of a hassle.

Experiencing a hurricane was an unforgettable event. The immense power and intensity of the storm were unlike anything I had ever witnessed before. The roaring winds and relentless rain created a sense of awe and respect for nature’s forces. Embracing the situation really helped and making sure everyone was safe really gave me peace of mind.

Surviving A Hurricane In Bermuda
Surviving A Hurricane In Bermuda

Surviving A Hurricane In Alabama/Florida

By Nikki of She Saves She Travels

In 2020 my family took a road trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama. We had the perfect itinerary lined up, full of beach memories waiting to be made. We arrived on a Saturday evening, and my husband broke the news: a storm was developing in the Gulf. It was September, which is peak hurricane season but I was still hopeful it wouldn’t affect our vacation plans. How naive was I!

By Sunday afternoon the rain had started and we were positioned to stay put in our condo until the storm passed, which was headed for Louisiana. So Monday morning we walked the beach along Gulf State Park and grabbed lunch. At that point, the emergency alert came out that the category 2, Hurricane Sally was headed straight for Gulf Shores.

We quickly packed up all of our belongings and headed north and east to the Florida panhandle, arriving late Monday. My husband, two kids, and I hunkered down inland for about 48 hours while we waited out the storm. Tuesday evening, we watched a live stream of the eye of Hurricane Sally hitting the street our condo was on in Gulf Shores. At 103 miles an hour, we saw it rip through the parking garage where the storm chaser was broadcasting until the backup power went out.

Afterwards, we couldn’t get back into Gulf Shores so we headed out to Destin, Florida where we had some friends. We stayed with them for a few days and even helped pick up the pieces from damaged trees as a result of the widespread storm. I’ve been to both Destin and Gulf Shores multiple times, and typically love them both. But there was a lot of cleaning up to be done. And to put fuel on the fire, another tropical storm was forming in the Gulf. We drove across several states in (mostly) rain as we made our way back home to the Midwest – enough was enough for this vacation!

If I had to provide advice for anyone vacationing in a hurricane zone during peak hurricane season it would be two-fold. The first is to buy travel insurance. The second is to listen to local warnings and take action immediately.

Surviving A Hurricane In Alabama/Florida
Surviving A Hurricane In Alabama/Florida

Surviving A Hurricane In Mexico

By Brodi of Our Offbeat Life

What started as family relaxation in Playa del Carmen turned into an unexpected adventure when Hurricane Grace decided to pay us a visit. Until about 3-4 days beforehand, it was supposed to go elsewhere. The day before, we heard Playa del Carmen was on the direct path. 

We were nervous and unprepared at first, but our quick-thinking Airbnb host boarded up our windows and shut off the gas. In light of this impending chaos, our host suggested stocking up on candles and food, just in case. So off I went to the grocery store, expecting pandemonium. To my surprise, it wasn’t very busy. The locals seemed unfazed, but this was our first hurricane, so we were nervous!

The night of the storm was a test of our nerves as we listened to the winds howl outside. The next morning, we cautiously stepped outside to assess the damage. Palm trees and power lines were down everywhere, but most buildings were okay. Thankfully, Playa del Carmen had dodged the worst of the storm because it turned again and the eye hit Tulum, two hours south. 

Relief washed over us as the power came back on around lunchtime. I couldn’t help but feel silly that I had gone a little overboard with my grocery shopping. Who knew I would end up with six boxes of Pop-Tarts? At least we were well-prepared! In the next one, I’ll listen more to the local experts on how much food and water I should get.

Surviving A Hurricane In Mexico
Surviving A Hurricane In Mexico

Surviving A Monsoon In Thailand

By Lavina of Continent Hop

Who would have thought that a careful travel planner like me would be stuck in a small, flooded Thai town for 3 days without any means to get out? I have my fair share of experiences dealing with Asian monsoons. That is why when I visited Thailand in December 2017 for the 2nd time, I was confident that the rainy season would be over by then. I was promised plenty of sunshine and minimal rainfall.

The first time I spent 7 days in Thailand was with my family. This time, I made it all about tiny villages and off-the-beaten-track places. That led me to Pak Phun, a typical Thai town that is all about laid-back vibes, impressive landscapes, and quaint streets.

The morning I left for Pak Phun from Surat Thani, it was already raining. Locals were talking about floods and mudslides. A few of them even decided against going out of town. But hey, rain or shine, I was not planning on halting my trip. The pouring rain ensured that the two-hour journey took more than 3 hours to complete.

I was still confident and worry-free, never expecting anything to go terribly wrong. But it did. And it did so fast that it shook me to the core. That’s what flash flooding is. The heavy rain kept on turning heavier, the water-logged streets started disappearing under muddy water, and the downpour touched the verandah of the homestay I had booked.

By then, I had frantically started searching for a taxi to go back to Surat Thani. But roads out of Pak Phun were closing down due to the threat of mudslides. Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport, which serves this area, closed all its operations due to flooding. It took 2 days for roads to reopen and life to come on track.

For these 2 days, the owner of the homestay ensured I got warm food. Her family kept my worries at bay and made sure I was safe. The airport reopened on the 3rd day and I somehow managed to get the flight out of Pak Phun. It was cold and drizzling when I stood on a muddy verandah saying goodbye to the family. When I hugged the beaming Thai woman, all I felt was warmth.

Surviving A Monsoon In Thailand
Surviving A Monsoon In Thailand

Final Thoughts On Surviving Natural Disasters While On Vacation

Some things can’t be helped and, unfortunately, experiencing a natural disaster while on vacation is one of them. We hope, however, that this blog post will help you plan what to do if there’s an emergency and will give you the confidence to know that you will make it out ok.

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Surviving natural disasters while on vacation. In a scary situation, it's best to be prepared. We offer tips and personal survival stories.

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