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Friday, September 11, 2015

May the road rise up to meet you (a bit of preparedness may help)

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
I recently returned from an amazing 10-day trip through the rolling hills of Ireland. My husband and I, along with six friends, made the journey. We had an incredible time riding bikes along the coast, up and down hills, and alongside many sheep strolling the roads. The scenery was phenomenal, the weather was all over the place, and the people were some of the nicest I have ever met. We rode bicycles six of our ten days, but also toured some castles, abbeys, and other places on our off days.

How does someone plan to prepare for a trip like this, I asked myself in the weeks leading up to our departure. The fact that our tour guide suggested we each only bring one suitcase was the smallest concern on my list of being properly prepared.

The biggest preparedness task for us was communications based. I created a list of where we would be at all times, including dates of arrival, addresses and phone numbers. My parents were staying in Phoenix with my daughter, and I didn’t want to solely depend on our cell phones in case they needed to contact us.

I also provided my parents with a copy of our family communication plan, which includes all of our important phone numbers and contacts, like my daughter’s doctor and the pharmacy. And, being a bit of a planner, I had an additional two pages of notes, more contacts, directions, etc. for them, just in case.

Being as we were going to be riding bikes for a large portion of the trip in a country where it could be sunny and warm one minute, and rainy and freezing the next, preparing for the weather was quite important. We checked the forecast every day leading up to our trip. We also researched what type of weather could occur this time of year in Ireland. We packed some items for the worst case scenario (freezing rain and strong winds), and dressed in layers to keep us warm and dry.

It’s a good idea to know what the seasonal hazards are in the areas you are traveling. Does it have a history of heavy rain and floods? Is it prone to high winds and hurricanes? When is wildfire season? Research what to do if any of these do happen while you are on your trip. Learn about local alerts and what radio stations broadcast the weather.

We wouldn’t be driving during our trip, but if you plan to do so, pack an emergency supplies kit for the car. You want to be prepared in case you get lost, stuck, or your car breaks down. The kit should include some food, water, medicine, a first aid kit, flashlight, hand-crank or solar-powered radio, blanket, and a cell phone charger.

My husband and I packed a mini-emergency supply kit with enough medicine to last the extent of our trip, plus a couple more days in case we didn’t make it home as planned. We packed two cell phone chargers, headlamps, and a small first aid kit as well.

Before we left Arizona, I printed out where we would be going each day, along with hotel and travel information. During our daily rides, our guides provided us with detailed maps.

When traveling, do not rely solely on your GPS or phone for directions. Write down or print out your directions. Your devices may not work when you need them most; especially, when you’re in a foreign country.

We returned from our trip happy, tired, and full of wonderful memories. We were prepared for everything Ireland threw at us (freezing sideways rain and blustery headwinds, while going up steep hills of course), and didn’t need anything that we didn’t have.

Preparing ahead of time can ease any worries and help you have that successful trip you’ve been planning. Sláinte!

Be sure to check out the Arizona Emergency Information Network,, for more preparedness tips and hazard information. 

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